Climate Change: Record Low Antarctic Sea Ice

Climate Change: Record Low Antarctic Sea Ice

The Antarctic Sea Ice has shrunk to its lowest extent ever recorded

February 15 , 2017
01 Min Read

The signs of accelerated Climate Change keeps getting grimmer. After 2016 saw records of hottest months ever recorded getting shattered, 2017 has kept up the stream of bad news. According to data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), which draws upon satellite visuals, this year, sea ice around Antarctica has shrunk to its smallest annual extent. On February 13, the Antarctic sea ice contracted to 2.28 million sq km. This is the lowest that the Antarctic sea ice has ever shrunk to, according to satellite records dating back to 1979. While Arctic sea ice has been contracting regularly and has been the focus of most of our worries about climate change, the Antarctic has remained relatively stable, until now. 

An image of Antarctic coastal mountains and sea ice taken in 2012 by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre

Meanwhile, the Arctic sea ice has hit a new low, in keeping with recent trends. This February, the sea ice cover has contracted to 5.38 million sq miles. Climate scientists are also working on not just measuring the loss in Arctic sea ice, but also on measures that can be taken to arrest a trend where the Arctic is expected to be free of sea ice well before 2050. Among other measures, physicist Steven Dench and his colleagues from the Arizona State University have come out with plans of constructing 10 million wind-powered pumps over the Arctic ice cap to add to the depleting thickness of the ice. It would take $500 billion for this project to work. As for now, the gradual loss of the polar ice caps seems inevitable.

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