Antarctic sea ice shrinks to second lowest minimum

This year the Antarctic sea ice extent nearly broke the minimum record set just last year. Satellite data showed a total of 2.15 million km2 sea ice (Photo: Katja Riedel)

Antarctic sea ice has shrunk to its second lowest extent on record, with the latest satellite data showing a total 2.15 million km2 surrounding the icy continent. This year's summer low sea ice extent almost broke the existing minimum record of 2.07 million km², set in March last year when the extent was approximately 27% below the average annual minimum since 1979.

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Ozone at lower latitudes is not recovering, despite Antarctic ozone hole healing

The atmosphere is only a thin film when you look at earth from outer space. The protecting ozone layer is recovering at the poles, but unexpected decreases in parts of the atmosphere may be preventing recovery at lower latitudes. (Credit: NASA)

Global ozone has been declining since the 1970s due to human-made chemicals. Since these were banned, parts of the ozone layer have been recovering, particularly at the poles. However, new research, recently published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, showed that the bottom part of the ozone layer at populated, lower latitudes is not recovering. The exact cause is currently unknown.

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This year’s Antarctic sea ice 'obliterates' previous minimum record

Antarctica has about 10 per cent less sea ice this year compared to the previous record minimum - a stunning reversal after an all-time high was recorded in 2014. In March 2017 the sea ice extent around Antarctica has shrunk to 2.1091 million square kilometres.

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New temperature extremes for Antarctica

Antarctica is the highest, driest, coldest and windiest continent on earth. The lowest temperature yet recorded by ground measurements for the Antarctic Region, and for the whole world, was -89.2°C at Vostok station on 21 July 1983. But how warm does it get? That was the question posed last year to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the United Nations funded body that oversees meteorology and weather observations worldwide. A New Zealand scientist was part of an international group of experts who have identified the highest temperatures ever recorded in Antarctica.

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Big changes predicted for the smallest Southern Ocean specie

Stronger winds, increased warming, ocean acidification and declining sea ice have been identified as major threats to some of the keystone members of the Southern Ocean community – phytoplankton. A recent review, published in Frontiers in Marine Science, predicts the likely impact of climate change on phytoplankton across various regions in the Southern Ocean.

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Antarctic starfish may show that climate change will produce winners and losers

Antarctic starfish can possibly bequeath the adaptation to warmer and more acidic oceans to their offspring. Laboratory experiments showed that the adaptation to changing environmental conditions can be passed on to the next generation through changed gene expression.

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Antarctic mystery solved? Scientists say ocean fossils found in mountains are cause for concern over future sea levels

Tiny ocean fossils distributed widely across rock surfaces in the Transantarctic Mountains point to the potential for a substantial rise in global sea levels under conditions of continued global warming, according to a new study.

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Scientists pinpoint beginning of current global warming trend

Human-induced global warming began much earlier than previously thought. New research suggests that warming started about 180 years ago near the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Researchers in Australia found evidence for the early onset of warming after analysing 500 years of climate data from ice cores, corals, sediment layers and tree rings.

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Detailed model raises prospect of unstoppable Antarctic ice collapse

The Antarctic ice sheet and its response to climate change has received increased attention over the last couple of years. Now it becomes clear, that choices that the world makes this century could determine the fate of this massive layer of ice covering Antarctica. A study published in Nature finds that continued growth in greenhouse-gas emissions over the next several decades could trigger an unstoppable collapse of Antarctica’s ice — raising sea levels by more than a meter by 2100 and more than 15 meters by 2500.

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East Antarctic ice sheet unstable in high-carbon world

So far considered “a sleeping giant” the East Antarctic Ice Sheet could melt if carbon dioxide levels keep increasing a new study warns. Carbon dioxide levels above 600 parts per million could induce a rapid melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet adding several tenths of meters of sea level rise a new study says.

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