The National Snow and Ice Data Center has reported that on February 13, more than 1.9 million square kilometers of ice melted in Antarctica. This is only slightly less than the previous record. Last year on February 25, 19.2 lakh square km of snow had melted. Learn how dangerous the melting of ice in Antarctica can be.
Antarctica, the coldest place on Earth. 99 percent of the area here is covered with snow. About two thick layers of ice are frozen here. But now this ice is melting fast. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), on February 13, 19.1 lakh square kilometers melted in Antarctica. This is a new record. Earlier on February 25 last year, 19.2 lakh sq km of snow had melted. Scientists say that this is the second consecutive year when snow has melted up to 20 lakh square km in a day. He believes that last year the maximum snow had melted between February 18 and March 3 and he estimates that this year the previous record may also be broken.
Scientists consider the behaviour of Antarctic sea-ice to be a complicated phenomenon which cannot simply be ascribed to climate change.
Looking at the data from the last 40-odd years of available satellite data, the sea-ice extent shows great variability. A downward trend to smaller and smaller amounts of summer ice is only visible in the past few years.
Computer models had predicted that it would show long-term decline, much like we have seen in the Arctic, where summer sea-ice extent has been shrinking by 12-13% per decade as a result of global warming.
But the Antarctic hasn't behaved like that.
Data sources other than satellites allow us to look back at least as far as 1900.
These indicate Antarctic sea-ice was in a state of decline early in the last century, but then started to increase.
Recently it has shown great variability, with record satellite winter maximums and now record satellite summer minimums as well.
In winter, the floes can cover 18 million sq km (6.9 million sq miles), and more.