Antarctica Sees Huge Decline In Sea Ice Since 2014
A new study has found that there has been a dramatic decline in Antarctic sea ice. After decades of expansion, the sea ice around the continent has been hit by a sudden and dramatic decline, wiping out the progress seen in recent years. In 2014, there was 12.78 million square kilometres of sea ice and that plunged to just 10.75 million square kilometres by 2018. Antarctica has now lost as much sea ice in four years as the Arctic has lost in the past 34 years.
Even though the cause of the decline remains unknown, scientists are at a loss as to whether it will continue. Researchers cautioned about attributing the loss to climate change and they added that it is too early to tell whether the recent pattern is merely a blip or the start of a long-term trend. Even though melting sea ice does not raise the sea level like melting ice sheets on land, it still has serious implications for wildlife. It also contributes to global warming because bright white sea ice reflects much of the sun's energy while the dark ocean absorbs it.
This chart shows the annual average extent of Antarctic sea ice in square kilometres.
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