News Worms
News Worms


In Antarctica there was a mysterious giant hole

In Antarctica there was a mysterious giant hole

That's a fairly straightforward explanation, but it doesn't fully address the odd timing of the hole, including its 40-year absence and seemingly spontaneous rebirth.

Many climate scientists thought that, based on their theories of climate change, the formation of this deep-sea polynya would not form again in the Antarctic.

Despite its long and mysterious history, nobody's ever seen the massive polynyaup close because it's in such a remote region of Antarctica's Weddell Sea. It was the first sighting of the polynya in over 40 years. Last month, SOCCOM scientists were astonished to discover that a float in the Weddell Sea had surfaced inside the polynya, making contact with satellites in the dead of winter.

This new polynya appeared around September 9 and is hundreds of kilometers from the coast.

It's larger than The Netherlands, and almost the size of Lake Superior and the state of Maine. Preconditioning of the Weddell Sea polynya by the ocean mesoscale and dense water overflows. As per a report published by Motherboard, the scientists are yet not sure about the cause of opening up of this hole.

'For us this ice-free area is an important data point which we can use to validate our climate models, ' says Dr Torge Martin, meteorologist and climate modeller in the GEOMAR Research Division 'Oceans Circulation and Climate Dynamics'. The polynya is expected to remain in place until warmer spring air prevents it from releasing heat and sinking water.

Since the hole continually exposes the water to the atmosphere above, it is hard for new ice layers to form. "On-site measurements in the Southern Ocean still require enormous efforts, so they are quite limited".

Scientists believe the polynya is formed because of the deep water in the Southern Ocean being warmer and saltier than the surface water.

One of the biggest reason as to why this polynya remains so mysterious is that it's quite hard to explore such areas. Then it wasn't seen for four decades, reopened for a few weeks a year ago and has emerged yet again.

Scientists first reported about its existence in the early '70s, and during that time it opened up for three consecutive winters.

"Global warming is not a linear process and happens on top of internal variability inherent to the climate system".

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