Antarctica’s sea ice has fallen to unprecedented lows for this time of year. Every year, Antarctic sea ice shrinks to its lowest levels towards the end of February, during the continent’s summer. The sea ice then builds back up over the winter. But, scientists have observed something different this year. According to CNN report, as the Northern Hemisphere swelters under a record breaking heat wave another terrifying climate record is being broken.Every year, Antarctic sea ice shrinks to its lowest levels owards the end of February, during the continent’s summer. The sea ice then builds back up over the winter. But this year scientists have observed something different.
The sea ice has not returned to anywhere near expected levels and is at its lowest levels for this time of year since records began 45 years ago. The ice is around 1.6 million square kilometres (0.6 million square miles) below the previous winter record low set in 2022, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). In mid-July, Antarctica’s sea ice was 2.6 million square kilometres (1 million square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average.That is an area nearly as large as Argentina or the combined areas of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado The phenomenon has been described by some scientists as off-the-charts exceptional – something that is so rare, the odds are that it only happens once in millions of years, as per report..
In mid-July, Antarctica’s sea ice was 2-6 million square kilometers (1 million square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average. That is an area nearly as large as Argentina or the combined areas of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado. Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado Boulder, said that speaking in these terms may not be that helpful.“The game has changed,” he said. “There’s no sense talking about the odds of it happening the way the system used to be, it’s clearly telling us that the system has changed," said Scambos.
The Antarctic is a remote, complex continent. Unlike the Arctic, where sea ice has been on a consistently downward trajectory as the climate crisis accelerates, sea ice in the Antarctic has swung from record highs to record lows in the last few decades, making it harder for scientists to understand how it is responding to global heating. Scientists have since 2016 begun to observe a steep downward trend. While natural climate variability affects the sea ice, many scientists say climate change may be a major driver for the disappearing ice