The phenomenon has returned after almost 40 years since satellites first observed a gap in the ice of the Weddell Sea near the Antarctic Peninsula during winter. This hole is larger than the area of Maryland, and if you don’t believe that’s cause for concern you’re wrong.
The gap in the ice, called polynya, is cause for concern since the area is usually covered in a dense layer of ice in the winter.
“For us this ice-free area is an important new data point which we can use to validate our climate models,” stated Dr. Torge Martin, meteorologist and climate modeler at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research Kiel.
Dr. Torge Martin said that the re-appearance of the hole proves the institutions’s previous hypothesis: that the polynya as part of natural climate processes.
Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif, head of the Research Division at GEOMAR, told NEWSWEEK: “The Southern Ocean is strongly stratified. A very cold but relatively fresh water layer covers a much warmer and saltier water mass, thus acting as an insulating layer,”
The question still remains, however, how does climate change affect this process? Some researchers believe that this is the last time the ice gap will re-appear.