Scientists are puzzled and worried by a record low of Antarctic sea ice extent during this time of the year. The world is already concerned by the receding Arctic sea ice, and the surprising new lows around the Antarctic have upped the anxiety even more.
The dataset in question goes back to the year 1979. The Arctic sea ice was 1 million square kilometers less at 8.633 million km as compared to 9.504 million km which was the previous record low registered in 2012. The moderate extent of the Antarctic ice is worrying the scientists most. However, renowned scientist and director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado have said that there is no connection between the two anomalies at the two poles of the globe. Scientists are now in a wait and watch attitude as the things get weirder in the polar region.
The decline in the ice in the Antarctic region is particularly bewildering because a few years ago the debate was why the free Antarctic ice was being pushed to record heights. The phenomenon was happening notwithstanding the fact that the continent’s glaciers were losing significant mass. The event was immediately seized by many climate change doubters for pushing a contrary message.
Scientists are trying to decipher this riddle in the Antarctic sea ice system. A study which was published earlier termed the sea ice expansion to on a cycle in the climate system called the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation or IPO. It was a result of a brief lull in global warming in mid-2000. However, the pattern has since shifted and therefore more ice is being lost by the Antarctic.
Another school of thought linked the ice loss to El Nino which will then transform into positive IPO. Hence this kind of strange phenomenon will continue for the coming five or ten years.