Antarctica DISCOVERY: Huge hole opens up and NO ONE knows why

Cheryl Sanders
October 12, 2017

Blaming climate change for this giant hole is one alternative that the scientists have but according to Moore, that would be a premature thing.

"We are still trying to understand what is happening", said Kent Moore of the University of Toronto. As per the report, the largest estimates of the hole's current size put it around 80,000 square kilometers.

The professor said: "This is now the second year in a row it's opened after 40 years of not being there".

The unusual ice-free area was first spotted in the 1970s in the midst of the harsh Antarctic winter, despite frigid temperatures - and now, 40 years after it closed, the so-called Weddell Polynya has returned.


A preliminary analysis run by American scientists suggests that the Weddell Polynya should not occur again because of climate change at all. Experts believe that the Weddell polynya might a part of some cyclical process but they lack clear details.

Researchers from the Princeton-based Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) group are conducting a study of the polynya that seeks to answer numerous questions. "Denser, colder water sinks to the bottom of the ocean, while warmer water comes to the surface, which can keep the polynia open once it starts".

This gaping polynya, which measures an area equivalent to the Netherlands, opened right in the middle of a sea which would have otherwise been completely covered in thick ice.

Usually, a very cold but fresh layer of water covers a warmer and saltier layer of water, acting as insulation.


"The fact that now a large, ice-free area can be observed in the Weddell Sea confirms our theory and gives us another data point for further model studies", said Dr. Torge Martin, meteorologist and climate modeler at GEOMAR. Dr. Mojib Latif, head of the Research Division at GEOMAR, in a public statement.

One of the biggest reason as to why this polynya remains so mysterious is that it's quite hard to explore such areas. A robotic float, which was sent there for transmitting data from the Weddell Sea surprisingly surfaced inside the polynya last month, stated a news release from the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project at Princeton.

"Global warming is not a linear process and happens on top of internal variability inherent to the climate system".

But, with new observations using technology far more advanced than that available when it first appeared 40 years ago, they're hoping to uncover some answers.


"We don't really understand the long-term impacts this polynya will have", he says.

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