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Record Low Antarctic Sea Ice: Lowest Extent Ever Observed Since Start of Satellite Record in 1979


Antarctica sea ice since February 21, 2023. Annotated with the 1981-2010 average sea ice degree. The long-lasting pattern for sea ice in the south is still flat, while the worldwide pattern points downward. In February 2023, sea ice around Antarctica reached the most affordable degree ever observed considering that the start of the satellite record in 1979. Regardless of numerous current years of low levels, the long-lasting pattern for sea ice in southern polar waters is basically flat; it is the decreases in sea ice at the other pole– in the Arctic– that are pressing the worldwide sea ice pattern downward. Sea ice around Antarctica reached its most affordable level on February 21, 2023, at 1.79 million square kilometers (691,000 square miles). That’s 130,000 square kilometers (50,000 square miles) listed below the previous record-low reached on February 25, 2022– a distinction that relates to a location about the size of New York state. It marks the 2nd time that researchers observed the ice diminishing listed below 2 million square kilometers. Chart of the everyday Antarctic sea ice degree in countless square kilometers. The map above reveals the ice degree on the day of its record low. To identify level, researchers job satellite observations of sea ice onto a grid and after that build up the overall location of each cell that is at least 15 percent ice-covered. The yellow summary reveals the average sea ice level for February from 1981– 2010. An average is the middle worth; that is, half of the levels were bigger than the yellow line and half were smaller sized. Amidst year-to-year irregularity, sea ice patterns in the Antarctic previous to 2016 were usually headed a little up in all months. Ever since, a number of years strike brand-new record lows, consisting of 2017, 2022, and now 2023. “There is some conversation about the Antarctic sea ice going through a regime-shift considering that 2016 towards an usually lower level, which perhaps this might be an action to international warming; that is, the warming signal is beginning to be seen in the Antarctic sea ice above the year-to-year irregularity,” stated Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). “But it is tough to state at this moment if it is a genuine shift and reaction to warming, or simply a temporal multi-year variation.” NASA Earth Observatory images by Lauren Dauphin, utilizing information from the National Snow and Ice Data.

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