Sea ice in Antarctica at its lowest level ever for July | science and planet

Sea ice in Antarctica was at its lowest level in July in 44 years last month. Copernicus, the climate change agency, reported this on Tuesday.

Sea ice is the portion of ice that floats on the sea. When it melts, it does not contribute to sea level rise, but there is an indirect contribution to global warming because the exposed ocean absorbs more heat in this way.

In the normal cycle, sea ice melts in the summer and grows again in the winter. In the long term, sea ice is melting rapidly in Greenland and the Arctic, but the opposite is happening in Antarctica, where sea ice is gaining little mass.

July 2022, however, is an exception. Sea ice in Antarctica covered only 15.3 million square kilometers, or 1.1 million square kilometers2 Below the average for the period 1991-2020.

At the end of summer, in February, the sea ice had already shrunk to an all-time low. Then sea ice covered 30 percent less than average.

A year ago, in July 2021, Antarctica’s sea ice was more than average.

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Megan Vasquez

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