In 2017, scientists from the University of Toronto beheld a very unusual picture in the cold winter months when the ice is particularly thick on the surface of Antarctica formed a large hole. Then the scientists could not explain the reason for this phenomenon, but now, thanks to the combination of satellite data and climate models, the researchers were finally able to give a fairly convincing answer. Results shared by scientists from new York University in Abu Dhabi.
Interest arising the polynya was special, because in the same area of Antarctica in the 1970-ies was discovered the same hole. Then the satellite technology was not so advanced, scientists especially could not give a scientific explanation for this unusual phenomenon. After almost half a century, the situation repeated itself — originally the area of the polynya was 9500 square kilometres, but then increased by over 740% and amounted to 800 000 square kilometers. Subsequently, the hole is merged with the open ocean.
Comparison of satellite imagery and information about the climate, the researchers found that the polynya was formed at the same time, when the region was raging cyclones and strong winds. According to scientists, a strong blow caused the shift of the ice and the release of warm water to the surface, causing the hole for a long time did not freeze. Merged with the oceans, the ice could have a major influence on regional climate by modifying water circulation in the ocean.
A global increase in temperature of the Earth may enhance the activity of the polar cyclones, so the holes on the surface of Antarctica can occur more often. It is noteworthy that due to the increased temperature they will be slower to freeze and shut down. This, in turn, can have an effect on regional weather, but also cause larger-scale climate change.
Antarctica is full of surprises — most recently under her isolated lake Mercer were found the remains of extinct organisms. Read more about this discovery can be read in our material.