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Less ice in Antarctica than ever

2023-03-02T11:17:16.526Z


The South Pole is currently missing about a million square kilometers of ice cover. The minimum from the previous year was thus undershot once again.


Enlarge image

Larsen Ice Shelf in Antarctica: If the sea ice continues to shrink, unimaginable masses of water could be released

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The extent of sea ice in Antarctica has again reached a record minimum.

Satellite data showed that around February 19, 2023, only an area of ​​around two million square kilometers of the Southern Ocean was covered by sea ice, said Lars Kaleschke, sea ice expert at the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) in Bremerhaven.

That's roughly the size of Mexico.

The previous minimum of February 24, 2022 (2.27 million square kilometers) has now again been undercut.

Annual sea ice coverage in Antarctica peaks in September or October and troughs in February.

According to the AWI, the long-term average at maximum expansion is up to 20 million square kilometers.

It usually shrinks to around three million square kilometers.

Antarctica is particularly important for the climate

It is still unclear whether the negative record values ​​​​in 2022 and 2023 heralded a statistically significant trend, said Kaleschke.

This requires further data from the coming years.

However, the development largely goes hand in hand with what scientists have calculated for Antarctica using climate models.

Antarctica has an even stronger influence on the global climate than the Arctic, so the changes there are particularly relevant, according to Kaleschke.

If climate change continues unabated, there is a risk that the ice shelf in Antarctica will melt.

Researchers warn that "unimaginable amounts of water" would be released as a result.

There were already indications that the sea ice would again decrease sharply this year.

A week and a half ago, the lowest level since measurements began in 1979 was 2.2 million square kilometers.

As expected, the decline continued thereafter.

koe/dpa

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-03-02

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