Hole The Size Of Maine Opens In Antarctica Ice

A Giant Mysterious Hole Has Emerged In Antarctica And Scientists Still Don't Know The Reason

A Giant Mysterious Hole Has Emerged In Antarctica And Scientists Still Don't Know The Reason

"If we didn't have a satellite, we wouldn't know it was there", Moore told Motherboard, adding it looks like someone "punched a hole" through the ice.

Researchers, including a group at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel, have been closely monitoring the polynya since it first reappeared in the satellite data.

While most polynyas form near the shore, this polynya is located hundreds of kilometers from the coast.

But, with new observations using technology far more advanced than that available when it first appeared 40 years ago, they're hoping to uncover some answers. This means that whatever is causing it has some sort of repetitive nature, which could help scientists uncover what is happening.

Although it's safe to assume that this massive hole in sea ice is connected to the climate change, however, that may not be the case. Then it disappeared for 40 years, Moore said, only to reappear for three weeks in 2016.

Some scientists speculate that the formation of the Weddell polynya is part of a cyclical process, though the details are unclear. The study of the giant hole will allow researchers to validate their climate models, Moore said. This nearly twice the size of the Netherlands and marginally smaller than Ireland. It's not clear at this point if the ice hole is influenced in any way by climate change.

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

'This is like opening a pressure relief valve - the ocean then releases a surplus of heat to the atmosphere for several consecutive winters until the heat reservoir is exhausted'. "On-site measurements in the Southern Ocean still require enormous efforts, so they are quite limited".

One of the biggest reason as to why this polynya remains so mysterious is that it's quite hard to explore such areas. Under certain conditions, the warm layer can rise to the top, which leads to the melting of ice on the surface.

Climate change, which is impacting Antarctica and the rest of the world, is possibly responsible for this mysterious hole, but Moore said that blaming global warming for this phenomenon is premature.

'The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system'.

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