Study: Global warming helps expand Antarctic sea ice

A Dutch study found that sea ice around Antarctica has expanded significantly since 1985, aided by global warming. The study also suggested that global warming could insulate the southern hemisphere from rising temperatures.

The study, published online in Nature Geoscience, suggests that “cool freshwater from melt beneath the Antarctic ice shelves has insulated offshore sea ice from the warming ocean beneath,” according to the Herald Sun.

“Against the background of global climate warming, the expansion of Antarctic sea ice is an exceptional feature, which seems to be associated with decreasing sea surface temperatures in the Southern Ocean,” writes Richard Bintanja of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute along with his colleagues.

“We predict that this mechanism will be a sizable contributor to the factors that regionally and seasonally offset greenhouse warming and the associated sea ice retreat,” they continued.

The study says that expanding sea ice could stay global warming in the southern hemisphere, but would amplify rises in global sea level.

The Herald Sun reports that “changes in sea ice can significantly modulate climate change because of its high reflective and strong insulating nature.”

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