The mysteries of Antarctic sea ice

Jul 28, 2014 by Dr James Renwick

The world is unmistakeably warming, melting glaciers and raising sea levels world-wide.

Massive loss of sea ice in the Arctic is one of the most well-known features of . But strangely, there is more sea ice forming every winter over the oceans around the Antarctic continent. The increases are small, around one percent every 10 years, but the trend is definitely upwards. The increases are small, around one percent every 10 years, but the trend is definitely upwards. There are lots of ideas to potentially explain how this is happening in a warming world but we really don't know why.

How to explain the increasing trend, in the face of widespread global warming and climate change, is one of the major open questions in climate science today.

Antarctic sea ice is a critical component of the climate, affecting global energy cycles and providing a home for many species of marine life. The annual cycle of Antarctic sea ice growth and decay is one of the largest seasonal signals on earth, roughly doubling the effective size of the Antarctic continent between February and September. Almost all the sea ice forms afresh every year, growing from the Antarctic coast out over the turbulent southern oceans, as the sun disappears below the horizon for the cold and dark Antarctic winter.

While the total ice area is increasing, there are very different things happening in different regions. South of New Zealand, near the Ross Sea, is where the ice increase is largest. Over the other side of the Pacific, near the Antarctic Peninsula, sea ice is actually disappearing as fast as it is in the Arctic. There are other pluses and minuses all around the Antarctic coast which all add up to a small overall rise in sea ice area.

So what's going on? Our best understanding right now is that trends in the winds and the ocean waves that push the sea ice around are causing the trends in area. But what's causing the trends in the winds and the waves? Good question—it looks like it might just be 'natural variation' in the climate.

At this stage, what might happen next is anyone's guess and is a hotly pursued research topic—the 'natural variations' might change around at any time and the small increases might turn into large decreases next year. Or not.

To improve our understanding, we need to unravel the complex interactions between winds, waves, the oceans, and the seasonal cycle of ice growth and decay. Drilling in to what's happening over the Ross Sea and near the Antarctic Peninsula at different times of year might be the way forward, to give us a clearer picture of exactly what is going on, what's driving the changes we see, and where things might be going in the future.

Explore further: Poles apart: Arctic sea ice has shrunk but Antarctic sea ice has grown

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antigoracle
2.1 / 5 (26) Jul 28, 2014
It's a mystery only to the AGW Cult, as it goes against their dogma.
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
full_disclosure
1.7 / 5 (22) Jul 28, 2014
Everything is a mystery to the uninformed. The fact that you choose to remain uninformed, yet argue interminably with those who are informed, is evidence of stupidity on your part.

Stay fat, dumb and happy, and STFU.


Typical Phys.org pseudo science AGW nit wit!!!!
phizzics
2 / 5 (16) Jul 28, 2014
Hm, "natural variation" isn't a cause of anything. It's hand-waving to obscure the fact that we don't know what's really happening. It's disturbing to see scientists insist that we understand the Earth's climate well enough to know how CO2 will affect global temperature, but then use vague hidden variables to explain away inconsistencies.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (17) Jul 28, 2014
Everything is a mystery to the uninformed. The fact that you choose to remain uninformed, yet argue interminably with those who are informed, is evidence of stupidity on your part.

Stay fat, dumb and happy, and STFU.
--toadtard
I'm sure it will also be a mystery to you, that you just described yourself.
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (17) Jul 28, 2014
Other bewildering mysteries to the AGW Cult:

Why aren't there more and stronger hurricanes
Why aren't there more and stronger tornadoes
Why the globe is cooling
Why we still have snow
Why Polar bears still exist
What's the functions of a brain
PsycheOne
1.2 / 5 (17) Jul 28, 2014
Once again, an article which implicitly assumes that global temperature is going up. In fact, the temperature perhaps went up, but it stopped going up 17 years ago. So whatever the facts about Antarctic ice and global temperature, to say that "the world is unmistakably warming" is untrue.

Why even make a statement in a scientific article that includes the word "unmistakably". It's like the article is making a pre-emptive strike against anyone who does not believe in church dogma.
supamark23
5 / 5 (11) Jul 28, 2014
It's a mystery only to the AGW Cult, as it goes against their dogma.


Oh look, it's the kiddie porn lovin' child molestin' NAMBLA member antigorical again running his f'ing mouth and spoutin' nothing but lies. Why don't you do the world a favor and get your troll ass back under your bridge and kill yourself?
supamark23
5 / 5 (12) Jul 28, 2014
Everything is a mystery to the uninformed. The fact that you choose to remain uninformed, yet argue interminably with those who are informed, is evidence of stupidity on your part.

Stay fat, dumb and happy, and STFU.


Typical Phys.org pseudo science AGW nit wit!!!!


Oh look, full_disclosure has gone full retard... when will you dumb kids learn you never go full retard, especially not as your lead?
supamark23
5 / 5 (13) Jul 28, 2014
Once again, an article which implicitly assumes that global temperature is going up. In fact, the temperature perhaps went up, but it stopped going up 17 years ago. So whatever the facts about Antarctic ice and global temperature, to say that "the world is unmistakably warming" is untrue.

Why even make a statement in a scientific article that includes the word "unmistakably". It's like the article is making a pre-emptive strike against anyone who does not believe in church dogma.


hmmmm, actual mountains of evidence that temps have continued to go up (esp. in the oceans) vs. your word they haven't? I think I'll take the word of actual scientists, who actually know what they're talking about, who have actually been researching this instead of the ranting of your dumb ass. Unless you have proof... but you don't, just the talking points you picked up off denier websites full of bullshit funded by oil/gas/coal companies.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (12) Jul 28, 2014
It's a mystery only to the AGW Cult, as it goes against their dogma.


Oh look, it's the kiddie porn lovin' child molestin' NAMBLA member antigorical again running his f'ing mouth and spoutin' nothing but lies. Why don't you do the world a favor and get your troll ass back under your bridge and kill yourself?

Oh look, it is supaturd, surfacing from the bottom of it's cesspool of ignorance, with another gem.
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
supamark23
5 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2014
It's a mystery only to the AGW Cult, as it goes against their dogma.


Oh look, it's the kiddie porn lovin' child molestin' NAMBLA member antigorical again running his f'ing mouth and spoutin' nothing but lies. Why don't you do the world a favor and get your troll ass back under your bridge and kill yourself?

Oh look, it is supaturd, surfacing from the bottom of it's cesspool of ignorance, with another gem.


better than being a child molester like you...
Whydening Gyre
4.9 / 5 (8) Jul 28, 2014
Not to be nit-picky here, but - has anyone noticed how warming periods always precede cooling periods?

Relax everyone... just a little tongue in cheek humour, there....
thermodynamics
5 / 5 (11) Jul 28, 2014
Not to be nit-picky here, but - has anyone noticed how warming periods always precede cooling periods?

Relax everyone... just a little tongue in cheek humour, there....


Whyd: Let's see how long it takes everyone to fully get this remark. I would be surprised if you don't get a few 1s before people do the forehead-slap salute. A true 5.
runrig
5 / 5 (12) Jul 28, 2014
Other bewildering mysteries to the AGW Cult:

Why aren't there more and stronger hurricanes

I've told you but 1-d thinking prevails.
Why aren't there more and stronger tornadoes

Ditto
Why the globe is cooling

It may well be in Fairyland but not in the real one.
Why we still have snow

Err coz at zero C and below that's what happenz. Tends to be in winter tho.
Why Polar bears still exist

coz there's still ice in the Arctic - though not for that long for late summer.
What's the functions of a brain

Well I know how it works for normal people ... but you will be forever a mystery.
Whydening Gyre
4.5 / 5 (8) Jul 28, 2014
Whyd: Let's see how long it takes everyone to fully get this remark. I would be surprised if you don't get a few 1s before people do the forehead-slap salute. A true 5.

Just tryin' to get a perspective on the bigger picture...:-)
antigoracle
1 / 5 (14) Jul 28, 2014
better than being a child molester like you...
--supatard
Awww... poor supatard, was too ugly and stupid to be molested by his priest.
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Maggnus
4.6 / 5 (9) Jul 28, 2014
Did you eat the whole box of Super Family-Sized Stupid for breakfast, you retarded child?


Hey, no insulting retarded people! anti-intelligence is way worse than just retarded, he is stupefyingly stupid.
Tangent2
4.6 / 5 (10) Jul 28, 2014
But what's causing the trends in the winds and the waves? Good question—it looks like it might just be 'natural variation' in the climate.


If I had to guess (and really, that is all that anyone of us can do with the data at this point) then I would say that maybe the temperature differentials are causing it? With more fresh water being dumped into the oceans. the saline balance is being thrown off, and this balance is part of the driving system of the ocean's circulation system to transport and distribute heat. With that cycle shifting or slowing down, there would be buildup of hot and cold spots across the planet, sort of like what is being seen in North America, drought/heat on the west coast and floods/cold on the east coast. Just my 2 cents, don't chastise me for having an opinion like everyone else ;)

Cheers!
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (10) Jul 28, 2014
Did you eat the whole box of Super Family-Sized Stupid for breakfast, you retarded child?
--toadstool
Oh look, mummy's little turd came out to play.
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
Caliban
4.4 / 5 (7) Jul 28, 2014
Did you eat the whole box of Super Family-Sized Stupid for breakfast, you retarded child?
--toadstool
Oh look, mummy's little turd came out to play.


Keep your hands out of your diaper, auntiegriselda-- Nurse is coming right now to change it for you and give you your meds. Stop fussing.

Earth Scientist
1 / 5 (11) Jul 28, 2014
The warmers real agenda:

"130 Environmental Groups Call For An End To Capitalism

10:30 AM 07/23/2014

Michael Bastasch

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Environmentalists have declared that global warming can't be stopped
without ending the "hegemonic capitalist system," saying that
cap-and-trade systems and conservation efforts are "false solutions."

"The structural causes of climate change are linked to the current capitalist hegemonic system," reads the final draft of the Margarita Declaration, presented at a conference including about 130 environmental groups.

"To combat climate change it is necessary to change the system," the declaration adds.

Environmental activists met in the oil producing, socialist country
of Venezuela as part of a United Nations-backed event to increase civil
engagement in the lead up to a major climate conference.
Read more: http://dailycalle...oiDvzm6"
Dr_toad
Jul 28, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (10) Jul 28, 2014
Whoa... the AGW Cult's turd army is out in full force today.
It's a pity they all share a lone neuron.
howhot2
5 / 5 (8) Jul 28, 2014
Whoa... the AGW Cult's turd army is out in full force today.
It's a pity they all share a lone neuron.

All right then moving along; What does the Cheney family think we should do about CLIMATE CHANGE? Dick Cheny "We like it HOT!"

Whydening Gyre
5 / 5 (6) Jul 29, 2014
I should have said, "Stupid, mean child. Pulls the wings off flies, tortures bunnies at Easter."

Whaddaya call a fly after he's pulled the wings off?
A walk.
Dr_toad
Jul 29, 2014
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
antigoracle
1.1 / 5 (7) Jul 29, 2014
what ya talkin bout willis?

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