Scientists are baffled. Antarctica has lost a gigantic sector of ice recently. It reaches the size of Argentina. What would be the consequences?
Antarctic sea ice normally shrinks to its lowest levels in late February and rebuilds during the winter. But it has not returned to expected levels this year. It is at its lowest level in 45 years. Florence Colleoni is a glaciologist with the Institute of Oceanography and Experimental Geophysics (Ogs). She pointed out that the alarming level of the Arctic is not yet reached. However, this situation should be observed with great caution.
Pollution and global warming amplify the impact of certain phenomena. Colleoni emphasized the need to invest in the search for alternative energies. “The ocean has been warming at an accelerated rate. And we are underestimating this speed,” Colleoni said.
The European Union is already taking steps in this direction. However, more work is needed. Producing cleaner batteries and reducing energy waste would help. In March, a study revealed that sea ice in Antarctica is having a hard time forming. It currently holds 90% of the world’s ice. This cover, called “ice cover” (ice sheet), is a mass of ice of terrestrial origin. It is the result of the accumulation and compaction of snow over thousands of years. The extension of the mantle over the sea constitutes a floating ice shelf (ice shelf).
The temperature increase at high latitudes is stronger than the global average temperature increase. This phenomenon is known as “polar amplification”. The increase in temperature near the surface contributes to the melting of ice.
Over the past four decades, global warming decreased sea ice in the Arctic. This was not the case in Antarctica. But now Antarctica has lost a gigantic, unprecedented sector of ice. It’s time to start taking a closer look at what’s happening in the South. Before it’s too late.