Sea ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high extent this year, covering more of the southern oceans than it has since scientists began a long-term satellite record to map sea ice extent in the late 1970s.
Meanwhile, the upward trend in the Antarctic is only about a third of the magnitude of the rapid loss of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
What’s going on here? If global warming is real, shouldn’t sea ice at Earth’s two poles be declining at the same rate?
Claire Parkinson, a senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, has referred to changes in sea ice coverage as a microcosm of global climate change. Just as the temperatures in some regions of the planet are colder than average, even in our warming world, Antarctic sea ice has been increasing and bucking the overall trend of ice loss.
One reason we are seeing differences between the Arctic and the Antarctic is due to their different geographies. As for what’s causing the sea ice increase in the Antarctic, scientists are also studying ocean temperatures, possible changes in wind direction and, overall, how the region is responding to changes in the climate.
You can read more about it here: Why is Antarctic sea ice increasing as Arctic sea ice declines?
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.