Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

In Antarctica there was a mysterious giant hole

A giant hole has opened up in Antarctica. Motherboard A giant hole has opened up in Antarctica. Motherboard
Dexter Carr | 13 October, 2017, 00:37

"If we didn't have a satellite, we wouldn't know it was there", Moore told Motherboard, adding it looks like someone "punched a hole" through the ice. The team is making use of observations from deep sea robots and satellites and feels that the data they have now compared to 40 years ago is "amazing". Because there is a 40-year span between the last time this happened, there's no clear pattern for scientists to follow. In addition, scientists hope that in the near future it will be possible to simulate such a system with the help of computer simulation.

Now it's back and this year it appears bigger than last year.

This graphic shows the massive size of the hole in the coastal ice, located just off Antarctica This graphic gives another perspective of the gap which is roughly the size of Ireland Pictured is Antarctica's Weddell Sea. "In the depths of winter, for more than a month, we've had this area of open water", Kent Moore, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Toronto, told National Geographic.

A "polynya" is a large ice-free area that develops in an otherwise frozen sea, and this particular formation is situated in the Weddell Sea, east of the Antarctic Peninsula. Instead, the Weddel Polynya can be pinned to water stratification in the Southern Ocean, according to scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research who closely following its development.

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It's larger than The Netherlands, and almost the size of Lake Superior.

The Southern Ocean of Antarctica has very deep waters which is warmer and saltier than the surface water. "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", Latif said.

One of the biggest reason as to why this polynya remains so mysterious is that it's quite hard to explore such areas. Now polynya opened again on 9 September. Under certain conditions, the warm layer can rise to the top, which leads to the melting of ice on the surface. Sometimes, the scientists reveal some good news related to new discovery and some time they warn the world regarding the effect of climate change and global warming on Antarctica.

'The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system'.

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