Antarctic sea ice reaches new record high

Oct 12, 2012
Credit: Jesse Allen

(Phys.org)—Two weeks after a new record was set in the Arctic Ocean for the least amount of sea ice coverage in the satellite record, the ice surrounding Antarctica reached its annual winter maximum—and set a record for a new high. Sea ice extended over 19.44 million square kilometers (7.51 million square miles) in 2012, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). The previous record of 19.39 million kilometers (7.49 million square miles) was set in 2006.

The map above shows around Antarctica on September 26, 2012, when ice covered more of the Southern Ocean than at any other time in the satellite record. The map is based on an NSIDC analysis of data from the Special Sensor Microwave/Imagers flown in the Defense . Land is dark gray, and ice shelves—which are attached to land-based glaciers but floating on the ocean—are light gray. The yellow outline shows the median sea ice extent in September from 1979 to 2000. Sea ice extent is defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent.

The graph of NSIDC data shows the maximum extent for each September since 1979 in millions of square kilometers. There is a lot of variability from year to year, though the overall trend shows growth of about 0.9 percent per decade.

According to a recent study by sea ice scientists Claire Parkinson and Donald Cavalieri of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Antarctic sea ice increased by roughly 17,100 square kilometers per year from 1979 to 2010. Much of the increase, they note, occurred in the Ross Sea, with smaller increases in Weddell Sea and Indian Ocean. At the same time, the Bellinghausen and Amundsen Seas have lost ice. "The strong pattern of decreasing in the Bellingshausen/Amundsen Seas region and increasing ice coverage in the Ross Sea region is suggestive of changes in atmospheric circulation," they noted.

Credit: Jesse Allen

"The year 2012 continues a long-term contrast between the two hemispheres, with decreasing sea ice coverage in the Arctic and increasing in the Antarctic," Parkinson added. "Both hemispheres have considerable inter-annual variability, so that in either hemisphere, next year could have either more or less sea ice than this year. Still, the long-term trends are clear, but not equal: the magnitude of the ice losses in the Arctic considerably exceed the magnitude of the ice gains in the Antarctic."

On their Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis blog, scientists from the University of Colorado wrote: "Comparing winter and summer sea ice trends for the two poles is problematic since different processes are in effect. During summer, surface melt and ice-albedo feedbacks are in effect; winter processes include snowfall on the sea ice, and wind. Small changes in winter extent may be a more mixed signal than the loss of summer sea ice extent. An expansion of winter Antarctic ice could be due to cooling, winds, or snowfall, whereas Arctic summer decline is more closely linked to decadal climate warming."

Explore further: NASA sees intensifying typhoon Phanfone heading toward Japan

More information: Parkinson, C.L., and D.J. Cavalieri (2012, August 15) Antarctic sea ice variability and trends, 1979-2010. The Cryosphere, Volume 6, pages 871-880. www.the-cryosphere.net/6/871/2… 2/tc-6-871-2012.html

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User comments : 22

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gmurphy
2.3 / 5 (7) Oct 12, 2012
This is highly unusual, to my mind, the ocean around the south pole is warmer and the south pole itself is warmer, experiencing a high temperature record around Dec 2011, I find it perplexing that the environmental response is an increase in ice area.
cdt
3.2 / 5 (11) Oct 12, 2012
Waiting for the denialists to claim that there is no global warming, using this article as proof. Just to pre-empt -- don't ignore the claim that "the magnitude of the ice losses in the Arctic considerably exceed the magnitude of the ice gains in the Antarctic." I know you will anyway, but I just wanted to get this out there first.

I might add that even is this somehow magically showed there is no global warming, it also shows that there IS a global climate shift, which would be worrying in its own rights. Growing seasons will change, crops will fail in some areas where it used to be possible to count on them, rain distribution will change, and areas that used to be able to support large populations will struggle to do so. It doesn't take a genius to see war as an outcome of such a situation.
El_Nose
3.5 / 5 (8) Oct 12, 2012
well its good to know that as the Northwest passage open in the Arctic sea levels may stabilize due to ice formation in the south. No one saw this one coming.
jrsm
1.4 / 5 (5) Oct 12, 2012
It may also be indicative of an increase in temperature in the Antarctic in that with higher temperature there is greater precipitation. Winter precipitation may also be contributing to increased ice formation.
thermodynamics
3.9 / 5 (7) Oct 13, 2012
One of the other reasons you can't directly compare ice gain and loss is the difference of the temperatures that the two poles experience. The mean summer temperature in Antarctica is -28.2C while it is 0.0C for the Arctic. Where do you expect the most melting and where would you expect the most snow?

http://polardisco...her.html
PeterY
1.7 / 5 (6) Oct 13, 2012
Let us not forget that the maximum ice extent in Antarctica is in Winter not Summer. If the seas around Antarctica are getting warmer then there will be more water vapour and hence snow over the winter seas.
Jitterbewegung
4.3 / 5 (6) Oct 13, 2012
Don't forget that it does not include land ice and Antarctica gould be gaining in height as well.
VendicarD
3.4 / 5 (10) Oct 13, 2012
The surface waters of the ocean surrounding the Antarctic continent are also becoming less salty due to meltwater and higher levels of precipitation, allowing the water to more readily freeze and form a base on which snow can accumulate.

"I find it perplexing that the environmental response is an increase in ice area." - qmurphy
VendicarD
2.8 / 5 (10) Oct 13, 2012
Observations by GRACE have shown your speculation to be nonsense.

"Antarctica gould be gaining in height as well." - JitterBedwetter
ScooterG
1.7 / 5 (17) Oct 13, 2012
"a record for a new high"

This is only a surprise to the enviro-nazi worshipers kneeling at the alter of the Church of AGW.

The rest of us understand that the climate on earth is gonna' change the way it wants to change - man's activities be damned!

It's not enough that the enviro-nazi's want to control the lives of people, they also think they can control mother nature. Lot's of luck!
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (5) Oct 13, 2012
The heating of Earth surface and ocean increases the vertical atmospheric circulation into account of the horizontal one. It will cause the continental weather: i.e. the droughts and increasing difference between winter and summer temperatures. This could explain, why Antarctica got its ice despite the global warming.
NotParker
2 / 5 (8) Oct 14, 2012
Let us not forget that the maximum ice extent in Antarctica is in Winter not Summer.


Late September is the equivalent of Late March.

he surface waters of the ocean surrounding the Antarctic continent are also becoming less salty due to meltwater


And Arctic Ice Meltwater magically disappears? Very funny.

Antarctica is gaining mass according to NASA's Zwally.

http://wattsupwit...-losses/

Shootist
2 / 5 (8) Oct 14, 2012
Antarctic sea ice reaches new record high


The new global warming.
JGHunter
3 / 5 (4) Oct 15, 2012
People who read this as evidence that AGW is not real are like those who think that rates of abortion are high because it's legalised.
NotParker
1.8 / 5 (5) Oct 15, 2012
It is the AMO. When it switches back to negative, arctic ice will grow again.

http://sunshineho...sea-ice/
VendicarD
4 / 5 (4) Oct 15, 2012
Poor ParkerTard.

Last month he blamed it on the Wind.

"It is the AMO." - ParkerTard

But now he has changed his mind again.

Laughably even his own BLOG disagrees with him.

Poor mentally ill ParkerTard.

VendicarD
4 / 5 (4) Oct 15, 2012
The same tired old denialism from a Conservative Tard.

"The new global warming." - ScooTard

They just don't exist on planet reality.
VendicarD
4 / 5 (4) Oct 15, 2012
Only ParkerTard could believe that.

"And Arctic Ice Meltwater magically disappears? Very funny." - ParkerTard

The now warm water of the arctic ocean = which is causing the ice to melt, is causing the snow to melt as well.

ParkerTard confuses this with the winter cold temps in the Antarctic which don't cause the snow to melt.

Once again, up is down and down is up on Planet ParkerTard.
VendicarD
4 / 5 (4) Oct 15, 2012
Once again, not even ParkerTard's own denialist BLOG reference agrees with him.

http://wattsupwit...ng?w=640

"Antarctica is gaining mass according to NASA's Zwally." - ParkerTard

It is good to see that ParkerTard continues to rely on a blog run by a washed up radio announcer as a source of "scientific" information.

Poor Mentally Diseased ParkerTard.
NotParker
1 / 5 (3) Oct 19, 2012
Once again, not even ParkerTard's own denialist BLOG reference agrees with him.

http://wattsupwit...ng?w=640

"Antarctica is gaining mass according to NASA's Zwally." - ParkerTard

It is good to see that ParkerTard continues to rely on a blog run by a washed up radio announcer as a source of "scientific" information.

Poor Mentally Diseased ParkerTard.


Why do you hate NASAs Zwally?

More importantly, why do you do drugs?
VendicarD
5 / 5 (2) Oct 20, 2012
The more important observation is you using him as a reference, when your denialist clan simultaneously deride him for predicting that the arctic would be ice free by 2012.

"Why do you hate NASAs Zwally?" - ParkerTard

No matter. Zwally measures the height of the snow, he he infers mass based on snow density.

GRACE measures mass directly though it's gravitational effects.

On that basis. GRACE wins.

NotParker
1 / 5 (4) Oct 20, 2012
The more important observation is you using him as a reference, when your denialist clan simultaneously deride him for predicting that the arctic would be ice free by 2012.

"Why do you hate NASAs Zwally?" - ParkerTard

No matter. Zwally measures the height of the snow, he he infers mass based on snow density.

GRACE measures mass directly though it's gravitational effects.

On that basis. GRACE wins.



GRACE data is a full of errors and retractions.

http://www.c3head...rth.html