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vegassports-odds.com December 11, 2017


Mysterious hole the size of ME opens in Antarctica

12 October 2017, 02:12 | Kevin Scott

Currently scientists investigate the circumstances and cause of its occurrence

В Антарктиде обнаружена гигантская загадочная дыра

A mysterious hole as big as the state of ME has been spotted in Antarctica's winter sea ice cover. Compared to the last time this happened 40 years ago, scientists have far more data on their hands. 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.

"At that time, the scientific community had just launched the first satellites that provided images of the sea-ice cover from space", said Torge Martin, a meteorologist and climate modeler, as quoted by Phys.org.
The polynya was observed in the same region in the 1970's, then disappeared and appeared on a few weeks back a year ago. "It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice", explained University of Toronto Mississauga professor Kent Moore. The team, comprised of scientists from the University of Toronto and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) project, was monitoring the area with satellite technology after a similar hole opened previous year. Winter air temperatures are thought to be about negative 20 degrees Celsius there and very few flights or expeditions take place in Antarctica during the winter months. Scientists knew to monitor the area for polynyas this year because of last year's discovery.

Areas of open water enveloped by ice, such as this hole are known as polynias and are formed in the coastal areas of Antarctica.

The latest technology allows them to study the polynya even if their access to the site itself in the Southern Ocean is insufficient. That melting created the polynya.

Sometimes, the layer of warm water can then melt the ice.

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'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'.

Moore says they are working to understand what is triggering the formation of these holes again after so many years.

But researchers caution that it would be "premature" to blame it on climate change.

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. The polynya re-emerged at the same point in Antarctica again in August 2016, significantly smaller in size than what it was in the 1970s. He said:"This is hundreds of kilometers from the ice edge".



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