February 29, 2024

Antarctic Sea Ice Sinks to Record Low

The map above reveals the ice level on the day of its record low. Extent is defined as the overall area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent. The yellow outline reveals the mean sea ice level for February from 1981– 2010. A typical is the middle value: That is, half of the extents were bigger than the yellow line and half were smaller sized.
1978– 2022
According to Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, winds were the main reason for the low ice conditions this year. An exception was in the Weddell Sea, where winds pressed the ice edge south.
Now, one month after sea ice reached its yearly minimum, Meier said that the rate of growth looks normal. Even the heatwave that sent Antarcticas air temperature levels skyrocketing in the 3rd week of March does not appear to have slowed the development. “It is really the ocean temperatures that count,” Meier stated, “and a quick heat wave wont impact things excessive in that regard.”
It remains to be seen just how much ice will regrow this year. While it prevails for Antarctic sea ice to melt nearly all the method back to the coastline throughout the austral summer season, the ice grows unconstrained through fall and winter season. After months of growth (February to September), new sea ice usually covers a location of ocean about two times the size of the continental United States.
1978– 2022
From year to year, Antarctic sea ice can be highly variable; given that 2013 it has reached its greatest high and its least expensive low since record keeping began. Over the previous seven years, sea ice has normally been at or listed below average, including record-low minimums in 2017 and 2022.
On the other hand, sea ice in the Arctic shows a clear down pattern. That implies that internationally, the planet is losing sea ice. “Overall, for the Arctic and Antarctic integrated,” Meier said, “the trend is absolutely still downward.”
NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, utilizing information from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

February 25, 2022
The long-term trend for sea ice in the south is flat, while the global trend points downward.
In February 2022, sea ice around Antarctica reached the most affordable extent ever observed because the start of the satellite record in 1979. It marks the very first time that the ice was observed to diminish listed below 2 million square kilometers.
Sea ice in southern polar waters reached its most affordable extent on February 25, 2022, at 1.92 million square kilometers (741,000 square miles). Thats 190,000 square kilometers (73,000 square miles) below the previous record-low reached on March 3, 2017. Compared to the typical minimum, the sea ice this year is missing a location about twice the size of California.

Sea ice in southern polar waters reached its least expensive degree on February 25, 2022, at 1.92 million square kilometers (741,000 square miles). The yellow overview shows the typical sea ice degree for February from 1981– 2010. According to Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, winds were the main factor for the low ice conditions this year. While it is common for Antarctic sea ice to melt almost all the way back to the coastline during the austral summertime, the ice grows unconstrained through fall and winter season. Over the past seven years, sea ice has actually generally been at or below average, including record-low minimums in 2017 and 2022.