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Mysterious growth of sea ice in Antarctica explained by stronger winds

September 21, 2013

Mysterious growth of sea ice in Antarctica explained by stronger winds

Strong westerly winds around the South Pole account for an 80 percent increase in sea ice volume over the past three decades.

The Arctic’s melting sea ice has received much attention of late, but less clear is the situation occurring in Antarctica. Despite increasing air and ocean temperatures, Antarctica’s current sea ice situation is set to hit a record high this year – a fact emphasized by global warming skeptics.

Weather changes have likely played a large role in some of the recent, short-term changes in sea ice. However, new research from the University of Washington suggests that wind changes have led to an upward sea ice trend. The new modeling study, set to be published in the Journal of Climate, reveals that stronger polar winds result in an increase in Antarctic sea ice, in spite of a warming climate.

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