A Hole the Size of Maine Just Opened in Antartica's Sea Ice

Massive hole opens up in Antarctica, puzzling scientists

In their observations, it has fluctuated in size up to a maximum of almost 80,000 square kilometers.

Kent Moore, who is the atmospheric physicist of the University of Toronto told to Vice's Motherboard that "It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice".

A massive hole about the size of Lake Superior has opened up in Antarctica's ice pack and scientists are trying to figure out what's behind the phenomenon.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center offer an explanation for the sensible-heat polynyas.

At its largest the polynya measured 80,000 kilometres - making it larger than the Netherlands and roughly the same size as the US state of Maine.

Satellite images further confirmed its appearance. The hole is as large as the state of ME and was first spotted around a month ago by scientists from the University of Toronto and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project. Then it disappeared for 40 years, Moore said, only to reappear for three weeks in 2016. Winds can't seem to close it. The hole opened up again past year for the first time in four decades, and reappeared, even larger, last month.

Scientists aren't sure what this polynya will mean for Antarctica's oceans and climate, and whether it is related to climate change, according to National Geographic.

Meanwhile, as stated in the Earther, another team from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany assumes that the reoccurrence of the hole confirms their climate variability models, which also predicts that polynya may appear again.

The mid-1970's featured an even larger polynya; there is a nice recent summary from @NASAEarth at https://t.co/2ScNCyK3d2. Satellite data provides much more accurate measurement than we had in the 1970s, and other ground-based technologies generate much more data than scientists in past decades would have had. And this week, a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that warming oceans are dramatically undermining the integrity of an important floating ice shelf in West Antarctica, Quartz magazine reported.

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