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giftedviz.com October 21, 2017


Mysterious hole the size of ME opens in Antarctica

13 October 2017, 12:36 | Darnell Patrick

Currently scientists investigate the circumstances and cause of its occurrence

В Антарктиде обнаружена гигантская загадочная дыра

Compared to the last time this happened 40 years ago, scientists have far more data on their hands.

And if scientists do figure out what is causing this particular polynia, it will shed some light on how Antarctica will change over the next few years. Scientists are now investigating to know how it was formed.

A robotic float has been deployed to study the polynya's measurements, which lies hundreds of kilometers from the ice edge. Such ice-free areas are called 'polynya' (Russian) by polar scientists.

Actually, this type of phenomena can be termed as polynya- an area of open water completely enclosed by sea ice.

In the year 1970, A polynia was observed in the same location, in Antarctica's Weddell Sea but at that time observation tools weren't almost as good, so that hole remained largely unstudied.

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"It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice", atmospheric physicist Kent Moore, of the University of Toronto, told Vice's Motherboard. At its peak, the Weddell Polynya measured 31,000 square miles, which is larger than the Netherlands and almost the size of the state of Maine. It went away for four decades until it reopened for a few weeks past year.

Martin says that the re-appearance of the hole at this time confirms the center's previous calculations; GEOMAR has posited a model that explains the polynya as part of natural climate processes. Moore said that this giant hole has been open for four months so far and he guessed that it would stay open for rest of the winter. In addition, scientists hope that in the near future it will be possible to simulate such a system with the help of computer simulation. Ocean currents bring the warmer water upwards, where it melts the blankets of ice that had formed on the ocean's surface. The salt increases the density of the surface water, making the surface water heavier than the water below, causing it to sink.

Usually, a very cold but fresh layer of water covers a warmer and saltier layer of water, acting as insulation.

Lead Image: Winter sea ice blankets the Weddell Sea around Antarctica with massive extra-tropical cyclones hovering over the Southern Ocean in this satellite image from September 25, 2017.

A vast hole has re-opened in Antarctica, and it could have something to teach us about climate change.



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