Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Resolving the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice

Date:
August 16, 2010
Source:
Georgia Institute of Technology
Summary:
While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly. Researchers provide an explanation for the seeming paradox of increasing Antarctic sea ice in a warming climate.

A tabular iceberg floating within Paradise Harbor, Antarctica.
Credit: iStockphoto/Julie Harris

While Arctic sea ice has been diminishing in recent decades, the Antarctic sea ice extent has been increasing slightly. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology provide an explanation for the seeming paradox of increasing Antarctic sea ice in a warming climate.

The paper appears in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science the week of August 16, 2010.

"We wanted to understand this apparent paradox so that we can better understand what might happen to the Antarctic sea ice in the coming century with increased greenhouse warming," said Jiping Liu, a research scientist in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences.

Currently, as the atmosphere warms, the hydrological cycle accelerates and there is more precipitation in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica. This increased precipitation, mostly in the form of snow, stabilizes the upper ocean and insulates it from the ocean heat below. This insulating effect reduces the amount of melting occurring below the sea ice. In addition, snow has a tendency to reflect atmospheric heat away from the sea ice, which reduces melting from above.

However, the climate models predict greenhouse gases will continue to increase in the 21st century, which will result in the sea ice melting at a faster rate from both above and below. Here's how it works. Increased warming of the atmosphere is expected to heat the upper ocean, which will increase the melting of the sea ice from below. In addition, increased warming will also result in a reduced level of snowfall, but more rain. Because rain doesn't reflect heat back the way snow does, this will enhance the melting of the Antarctic sea ice from above.

"Our finding raises some interesting possibilities about what we might see in the future. We may see, on a time scale of decades, a switch in the Antarctic, where the sea ice extent begins to decrease," said Judith A. Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jiping Liu and, Judith A. Curry. Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice. PNAS, August 16, 2010 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003336107

Cite This Page:

Georgia Institute of Technology. "Resolving the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816154958.htm>.
Georgia Institute of Technology. (2010, August 16). Resolving the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816154958.htm
Georgia Institute of Technology. "Resolving the paradox of the Antarctic sea ice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100816154958.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Change of Diet Helps Crocodile Business

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2014) Crocodile farming has been a challenge in Zimbabwe in recent years do the economic collapse and the financial crisis. But as Ciara Sutton reports one of Europe's biggest suppliers of skins to the luxury market has come up with an unusual survival strategy - vegetarian food. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

The Walking, Talking Oil-Drigging Rig

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 15, 2014) Pennsylvania-based Schramm is incorporating modern technology in its next generation oil-drigging rigs, making them smaller, safer and smarter. Ernest Scheyder reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

In Washington, a Push to Sterilize Stray Cats

AFP (Apr. 14, 2014) To curb the growing numbers of feral cats in the US capital, the Washington Humane Society is encouraging residents to set traps and bring the animals to a sterilization clinic, after which they are released.. Duration: 02:29 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins