A new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) shows Antarctica’s growing ice sheet can be explained by natural fluctuations in Earth’s climate.
The study shows the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) creates conditions that are favorable for sea ice growth.
“The climate we experience during any given decade is some combination of naturally occurring variability and the planet’s response to increasing greenhouse gases,” Gerald Meehl, lead author of the study and NCAR scientist, said in a press release. “It’s never all one or the other, but the combination, that is important to understand.”
Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO) is defined by the World Meteorological Association (WMA) as a “lengthy interdecadal fluctuation in atmospheric pressure.” The WMA says when IPO “is low, cooler than average sea surface temperatures occur over the central North Pacific, and vice versa.”
The study notes that despite global warming fears of melting ice, Antarctica has actually been seeing an increase in sea ice since records first began in 1979.
“Antarctic sea-ice extent has been slowly increasing in the satellite record that began in 1979,” according to the study. “Meanwhile, the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation…has contributed to regional circulation changes in the Ross Sea region and expansion of sea ice.”
Antarctica has long been a thorn in the side of global warming alarmists who have argued a warming Earth will melt the South Pole. But the continent’s sea ice ring has been growing at a record pace.
“After three record high extent years, this year marks a return toward normalcy for Antarctic sea ice,” Walt Meiero of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said in a piece published by NASA last year.
“The sea ice surrounding Antarctica has been slowly increasing in area since the satellite record began in 1979,” the study found, according to Watts Up With That. “But the rate of increase rose nearly five fold between 2000 and 2014, following the IPO transition to a negative phase in 1999.”
The study goes on to note that when the IPO switches from positive to negative, or vice-versa, “it touches off a chain reaction of climate impacts that may ultimately affect sea ice formation at the bottom of the world.” This new finding could help explain the Arctic ice losses as also having a natural cause, as opposed to man-made global warming being the only culprit.
Meehl says that as the negative IPO flips to positive we should expect to see a reversal of the record-setting sea ice from Antarctica that has been seen over recent years. “As the IPO transitions to positive, the increase of Antarctic sea ice extent should slow and perhaps start to show signs of retreat when averaged over the next 10 years or so,” he says.
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