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Antarctic Sea Ice Continues To Break Records — In Two Charts

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

It’s only fall in the south pole, and sea ice levels are on the rise.

But this year, Antarctica’s sea ice coverage is way above average and is even breaking records set in 2014. In April, South Pole sea ice extent averaged 3.5 million square miles — the highest extent for that month on record. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that “April extent was 300,000 square kilometers (116,000 square miles) higher than the previous record observed in 2014, and 1.70 million square kilometers (656,000 square miles) above the 1981 to 2010 long-term average.”

Source: NSIDC, http://nsidc.org/

Source: NSIDC, http://nsidc.org/

Increasing Antarctic sea ice extent has confounded scientists in recent years, since most climate models predicted South Pole sea ice coverage would decrease as global warming drove temperatures higher and higher. There are concerns, however, that Antarctica’s massive ice sheets could collapse soon because of warmer air temperatures from above and warm water melting glaciers from below. So, scientists are watching this region with great interest.

Winter is coming! So expect sea ice extent to boom in the Southern Hemisphere.

Source: NSIDC

Source: NSIDC

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