The results of a new Chinese study showed that the extent of Antarctic sea ice reached a record low level last February, the second such event in five years.
The study, published last Tuesday in the journal “Advances in Atmospheric Sciences”, revealed that on February 25, a few days before the end of the Southern Hemisphere summer, the area of Antarctic sea ice decreased to less than two million square kilometers for the first time since satellite observations of the poles were launched in 1978, reports a local Arabic daily.
Antarctic sea ice has had a modest increase of about 1 percent per decade since the late 1970s, even though the extent of Arctic sea ice is rapidly declining as a result of global warming.
Researchers from Sun Yat-sen University and the Guangdong Marine Science and Engineering Southern Laboratory in Zhuhai City used sea ice balancing analysis to examine the sea ice minimum in the summer of 2022.
The researchers believe the record sea ice decline is due in part to an anomalous dip in the Amundsen Sea Level to the west, a center of low atmospheric pressure on the southernmost Pacific Ocean and off the west Antarctic coast.
The phenomenon should be largely attributed to natural variability, said study co-author Yang Qinghua from Sun Yat-sen University, although the role of global warming cannot be ruled out without further study.