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Hole in Antarctica Ice the Size of Maine Opens Up, But Why?

Image: Hole in Antarctica Ice the Size of Maine Opens Up, But Why?
A giant hole has opened up in the ice in Antarctica. (NASA)

By    |   Friday, 13 October 2017 05:10 AM

A hole in Antarctica's ice about the size of Maine has opened up and scientists aren’t sure why it happened.

The scientific term for a hole in sea ice is "polynya," and one usually forms when ocean currents drive warm water up toward the surface, which melts the ice on top, according to Quartz.

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

"This is now the second year in a row it's opened after 40 years of not being there," atmospheric physicist Kent Moore told Motherboard. "We're still trying to figure out what's going on."

Climate models predicted the polynya, but it was looked at as a glitch and not a true possibility until it reappeared after decades, Newsweek reported.

Head of GEOMAR’s research division Professor Dr. Mojib Latif said the polynya acts like 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,” he said, Newsweek reported.

“Global warming is not a linear process and happens on top of internal variability inherent to the climate system,” Latif continued. “The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system.”

Twitter weighed in on the phenomenon.

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Scientists aren't sure why a hole in Antarctica's ice about the size of Maine has opened up recently.
hole, antarctica, ice, size, maine
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2017-10-13
Friday, 13 October 2017 05:10 AM
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