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You are here News Environment ‘Extreme situation’: Antarctic sea ice hits record low

‘Extreme situation’: Antarctic sea ice hits record low

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Antarctice sea ice hits record low

The area of sea ice around Antarctica has hit a record low, with scientists reporting “never having seen such an extreme situation before”. The ice extent is expected to shrink even further before this year’s summer melting season ends.

The impact of the climate crisis in melting sea ice in the Arctic is clear in the records that stretch back to 1979. Antarctic sea ice varies much more from year to year, which has made it harder to see an effect from global heating.

However, “remarkable” losses of Antarctic sea ice in the last six years indicate that the record levels of heat now in the ocean and related changes in weather patterns may mean that the climate crisis is finally manifesting in the observations.

Scientists were already very concerned about Antarctic ice. Climate models suggested as far back as 2014 that the giant West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS), which sits on the continent, was doomed to collapse due to the levels of global heating already seen then.

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