Since satellite measurements began in the 1970s, there has never been so little sea ice around Antarctica as it is now. While the summer season is not over yet, the record has already been broken, reports reports the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The area covered by sea ice has shrunk to about 1.9 million square kilometers. As a result, a large part of the ocean around mainland Antarctica is currently ice-free.
The amount of sea ice at both the North Pole and the South Pole is closely monitored by climate scientists. Still, it is too early to say whether the current developments around Antarctica are worrisome and indicate an acceleration of melting. The new record may also have been caused by natural variations.
Around Antarctica, the amount of sea ice remained virtually at the same level for a long time. In winter, a maximum record was broken even a few years ago. Many factors influence the amount of sea ice around Antarctica, says climate scientist professor Richard Bintanja of the University of Groningen and the KNMI. "It's a complex issue, which makes it difficult to say whether this situation is worrying.
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