Antarctic sea ice marks a new negative record



by LORENZO CIOTTI

Antarctic sea ice marks a new negative record

Sea ice in Antarctica has set a new low since satellite records began. The new record surpasses the previous one last year. NSIDC said: "Overall, the decreasing trend in minimum annual Antarctic sea ice extent, calculated over the entire satellite record, is 2,800 square kilometers per year, or 1.0 percent per decade, compared to the average since 1981 to 2010.

This trend is not statistically significant." During the summer, the ice on the Antarctic Peninsula accelerates its seaward movement by 22% due to warmer ocean waters and melting snow. This is indicated by research by the British University of Leeds and published in the journal Nature Geoscience and based on data from the Sentinel-1 satellites, the European Copernicus programme, the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Commission.

The Antarctic peninsula is a thin strip of land that branches off from the rest of the continent for about 1,000 kilometers towards the tip of South America with mountains that reach up to 2,800 meters in height. According to preliminary data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the peak of the warm season in the southern hemisphere, barring abnormal heat waves in the coming weeks, the extent of the ice cover on the waters around the South Pole has contracted up to 1, 79 million km2.

Compared to 2022, sea ice in Antarctica has decreased by 136,000 km2. Unlike the Arctic, the South Pole has a very heterogeneous dynamic. Arctic ice has been in free fall for several decades. At the moment it is sailing around the 7th worst result ever, with about 1.68 million km2 less than the average of the 80s and 100,000 km2 below the average of the last decade, as well as having thinned virtually everywhere.

Antarctica, on the other hand, has recently hit its highest sea ice minimum values, for example in 2013 and 2015. Melting sea ice has direct consequences on both the Antarctic continent and global climate. Ice in water does not raise sea levels but its disappearance makes glaciers resting on land more unstable, which begin to slide more rapidly towards the sea, where they melt.