In last three years, Antarctica has lost sea ice 4 times the size of France | GBRI


Antarctica is losing huge swaths of sea ice at an alarming rate, and this was recently confirmed by a new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study reveals that since 2014, Antarctica has witnessed the loss of sea ice more than four times that size of France.

The findings show that between 1979 and 2014, Antarctica’s sea ice was actually expanding. Then, it lost 2.1 million square kilometers in three years, falling from 12.8 million square kilometers to 10.7 million square kilometers.

Scientists are still uncertain if the melting trend will continue or reverse again, and whether the climate crisis is to blame. But even if the melting isn’t caused by climate change, it could make it worse. That’s because the bright white of sea ice reflects 50 to 70 percent of sunlight back into space, whereas dark ocean water, on the other hand, absorbs 90 percent of that light.

“The rapid decline has caught us by surprise and changes the picture completely. Now sea ice is retreating in both hemispheres (Arctic and Antarctic) and that presents a challenge because it could mean further warming.” says Leeds University professor Andrew Shepherd.

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