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Antarctica sea ice expanding, study finds

Date
Antarctic ice is expanding.

Antarctic ice is expanding. Photo: Angela Wylie

Global warming has led to more ice in the sea around Antarctica and could help insulate the southern hemisphere from atmospheric warming.

A Dutch study says that unlike in the Arctic region, sea ice around Antarctica has expanded at a significant rate since 1985.

Published online in Nature Geoscience, the article suggests cool freshwater from melt beneath the Antarctic ice shelves has insulated offshore sea ice from the warming ocean beneath.

Richard Bintanja of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute and colleagues say the Antarctic sea ice expands during southern hemisphere autumn and winter in response to this fresh, cool surface layer that freezes easily.

''Against the background of global climate warming, the expansion of Antarctic sea ice is an exceptional feature, which seems to be associated with decreasing sea-surface temperatures in the Southern Ocean,'' they write.

AAP

44 comments

  • It is obvious that only the heat generated by burning fossil fuels is saving us from another ice age.

    Commenter
    brinken
    Date and time
    April 02, 2013, 8:41AM
    • It's not "obvious", but there is more and more evidence that another ice age would have occurred in another 10-50 kYears - depends on how you define an "ice age":

      http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-two-epochs-of-marcott/

      So we have narrowly avoided that fate by heating the earth to temperatures not seen for 130 kYears, and within a century likely to temperatures not seen since the PETM, 55 million years ago.

      Commenter
      Dr Mat
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 11:12AM
    • brinken writes: "It is obvious that only the heat generated by burning fossil fuels is saving us from another ice age." Err, no.

      What's actually obvious is that keeping atmospheric CO2 at or above 300 ppm is sufficient for preventing another Ice Age.

      What's also obvious is that the higher atmospheric CO2 gets above 350 pm, the more rapidly permafrost melts, releasing more CO2 and methane =so as to recreate the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum.

      Commenter
      David Arthur
      Location
      Queensland
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 1:00PM
  • Maybe the Earth's axis is shifting!?

    Commenter
    The Commentator
    Location
    Hawks Nest
    Date and time
    April 02, 2013, 8:46AM
    • 3...2...1... Pole swap!

      Commenter
      lolwat
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 9:06AM
  • sea levels are supossedly rising (due to Antarctic glacial melt), but Antarctic sea ice is expanding (because the weather down there is getting colder). and both are caused by human induced global warming. wow. magic !!!! I believe it, I really do !!!! quick, increase the carbon tax !!!

    Commenter
    The Silent Majority
    Location
    Surrey Hills
    Date and time
    April 02, 2013, 9:04AM
    • Maybe it's expanding but it's thinner? Let's wait and see if it can support the weight of a penguin before we get too excited.

      Commenter
      Mark
      Location
      Dandenong Deranges
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 9:26AM
    • I agree!! Is there any way that we can possibly pay more towards the carbon tax?!? So that the government can use it to…um... You know, save the planet somehow by… making everything in Australia, which is already expensive, more expensive??

      Commenter
      Enraged Sock-puppet
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 9:50AM
    • @Silent Majority
      You didn't actually read the article did you? Or if you did you didn't understand it.
      The reason isn't due to falling temperatures in the Antarctic at all. But due to the comparative densities and freezing points of Fresh and Seawater ..

      Commenter
      zentao
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 11:23AM
    • Oi Professor, maybe read the article before commenting next time. Ha

      Commenter
      iKris82
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 02, 2013, 2:18PM

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