At a time when global warming is being considered as the major reason for several glaciers in the west Antarctica melting beyond irreversible levels, a new contradicting report has come as a total shocker. According to the report by scientists, global warming has actually led to an increase in the growth of the South Pole sea ice. In fact, just this week, Antarctica’s sea ice sheet has said to create a record by reaching over 815448 square miles above its normal growth range.
The report indicates that this shift could possibly by the melting of the water beneath the Antarctic ice shelves. This water re-freezes at the surface, thereby triggering the increase in size. Scientists also believe that this shift could be due to the nature of circulation of water in the Southern Ocean. Accordingly, water heated in the higher southern latitudes moves equatorward and the colder water that rises from below the ice sheet replaces it.
The team of scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute also revealed that the fresh water melting from beneath the ice sheets had relatively lesser density than the surrounding salty seawater. This would cause the fresh water to accumulate and freeze at the top of the ocean during the summer.
Surrounded by open waters that allow the sea ice to expand in winters, the Antarctic is still highly vulnerable in the melt season. In spite of the expansion of surface ice in the winter, the underwater ice melt is lessening the total thickness of the ice mass around the continent.
A report by NASA scientists in May revealed that direct link global warming had to the permanent thawing of glaciers in West Antarctica. The report indicated that this trend could lead to an increase in sea level for several centuries to come. The scientists believe that this irreversible ice melt in the Antarctic could lead to an increase of 4-12 feet in the current sea levels around the world.
In the midst of reports of global warming causing ice sheets in the Antarctic and Arctic to melt, a report from a team of scientists from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute indicates that global warming could actually be causing the Antarctic ice sheet to expand. Factors like exposure to open waters and the equator ward movement of warm waters from the higher southern latitudes have been contributed for the same. However, despite this trend, scientists indicate the thickness of the Antarctic ice sheet is reducing, causing an increase in sea levels to about 10 feet or more in the coming years.