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Both poles have low sea ice at the same time: What’s going on?

Each iceberg has a story. You can see the immense forces at work in the icebergs. Over the centuries, the ice has carved its way down glaciers and then tumbled into seawater to melt slowly.

I was sitting in a boat beside one beauty and asked a glaciologist about what it meant to see so many ice crystals in the water.

His dry reply was “Don’t purchase beachside property.”

Image Antarctic sea-ice concentration
Image Antarctic sea-ice extent

It seems far away from the Arctic and Antarctic. The accelerating melting is going to impact us all, not just those directly affected.


Satellite assessments of sea ice from the last few weeks are another indicator of a rapidly warming region. It has already fallen to an all-time low in Antarctica. There are still weeks of summer melting season.

A large portion of the coast is uniced, with a lot remaining as thin and uneven ice.

Image Artic concentration of sea ice
Image Arctic sea-ice extent

The Arctic sea ice should be expanding at this time of the year, but it is not. It is also below the average ice cover over the long-term and the record low of 2012, however.

Both poles now have low sea ice simultaneously. So what’s the deal?

The ice is melting from both above and below. Changes in winds and currents are bringing warm air and water into contact with the frozen ice. This is a trend that has been evident in the Arctic since 1979.

Antarctic sea ice is subject to a greater variation from one year to the next. Scientists are however investigating a trend of melting that may have begun in 2016.

Image An Antarctica ice shelf is broken off by an iceberg

It is important for polar animals. Sea ice is used by seals and walrus to rest, beluga and narwhal to protect themselves from killer whales, while polar bears hunt with it. Their habitat shrinks as the ice melts.

The ice has a ripple effect on the entire planet. Sea ice doesn’t melt directly, but it does raise the water level. It has an indirect effect.

Antarctica’s ice acts as a barrier against the devastating waves of the Southern Ocean, and the huge glaciers that run off the land. There is less protection when there is less ice.

The West Antarctica ice sheet is large enough to raise sea levels by three meters. Scientists are having a hard time sleeping because of recent research into the dangerous state of Thwaites glacier. It is roughly the size of a small chunk of Britain.

Continue reading:

Scientists reveal a mixed picture of Thwaites glacier in ‘Doomsday.’

2022 continued to break new extreme weather records

Climate crisis could have caused the collapse of an ancient Hittite Empire

Global temperature regulation is being affected by the increasing supply of fresh, cold meltwater from sea-ice.

The Arctic’s disappearing sea-ice is increasing the rate of sun energy reflecting off its bright white surface. This accelerates warming.

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Scientists believe that the jet stream is changing, increasing the likelihood of extreme weather in temperate areas like Europe.

These extremes, such as droughts, floods and heatwaves, are the key to the climate crisis’ flashpoints and deserve a lot of attention.

However, changes to the underlying global system – of which sea-ice is part – can be just as alarming. They could tip us into uncertain times.

The Daily Climate Show airs at 3.30pm Monday through Friday and The Climate Show with Tom Heap Saturday and Sunday at 3.30pm, 7.30pm, respectively.

All about Sky News on Sky News’ website and app on YouTube and Twitter.

This show examines how global warming has impacted our environment and offers solutions.


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