A Maine-Sized Hole Has Opened up in Antarctica's Ice Blanket

A Maine-Sized Hole Has Opened up in Antarctica's Ice Blanket

As per the report, the largest estimates of the hole's current size put it around 80,000 square kilometers.

Located in the Weddell Sea, scientists discovered the South Carolina-sized hole about a month ago, according to National Geographic.

As the researchers note, often area of open sea surrounded by ice, known as polynyas, formed relatively close to the border of the ice and the sea.

Scientists weren't expecting the polynya to re-appear, and aren't sure why it has resurfaced twice in the past two years.

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Researchers from the Princeton-based Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) group are conducting a study of the polynya that seeks to answer numerous questions.

As the researchers are saying that it would be too soon to relate this hole with the climate change, therefore, the scientists are just researching and analysing the data to find out the real reason which caused the formation of this massive hole.

This cycle could repeat for the rest of the winter, Kent Moore, a professor of physics at the University of Toronto told CBC's "As It Happens."

NASA's Aqua satellite captured this image of a polynya off the coast of Antarctica, near Ross Island and McMurdo Station on November 16, 2011. Under certain conditions, the warm layer can rise to the top, which leads to the melting of ice on the surface. "From global circulation, we know how much deep water should be formed, but the areas we know are forming water now just aren't forming enough".

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Meanwhile, as stated in the Earther, another team from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany assumes that the reoccurrence of the hole confirms their climate variability models, which also predicts that polynya may appear again. He thinks it is likely that marine mammals could be using this new opening to breathe.

"Once the sea ice melts back, you have this huge temperature contrast between the ocean and the atmosphere".

This ice hole located in the Weddell Sea occurred for multiple seasons in the 1970s and came back previous year for a period of time before opening up even larger last month.

'We're still trying to figure out what's going on'. The polynya is the dark region of open water within the ice pack.

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