Antarctica sea ice & latest global temperatures

Monday 12 November 2012, 16:05

Paul Hudson Paul Hudson


The record breaking Arctic sea ice minimum recorded this summer (based on satellite data) was well documented in the media and on this blog.

Conversely, at the other end of the world, little mention was made of the Antarctica ice extent which approached a record high in September, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC).

According to new research conducted by the British Antarctic Survey, published in Nature Geoscience, changing wind patterns around Antarctica are thought to have caused the increase in ice, with wind flows pushing sea ice outwards helping to increase its extent.

Climate models have failed to reproduce this overall increase in sea ice.

The new research says that sea ice is not able to expand by the same mechanism in the Arctic because if winds push the ice away from the pole it quickly hits land, as the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by a continent - whereas because Antarctica is a continent surrounded by water, ice can expand.

But according to the British Antarctic survey, the Arctic is losing sea ice five times faster than the Antarctic is gaining it.

Latest Global temperatures

Global temperatures in October remained at elevated levels.

According to the UAH satellite measure the global temperature was 0.331C above the 30 year running average in October.

Adjusted to the standard 1961-1990 measure, global temperatures were 0.584C above average, making it the 2nd warmest October globally since the start of satellite data in 1979.

These warm global conditions are despite temperatures in equatorial Pacific areas remaining neutral.

In fact, a continuation of neutral temperature conditions (neither colder La Nina nor warmer El Nino) are now favoured during the Northern Hemisphere winter, and the El Nino watch has been cancelled.

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Hello, I’m Paul Hudson, weather presenter and climate correspondent for BBC Look North in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. 

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I worked as a forecaster with the Met Office for nearly 15 years locally and at the international unit, after graduating with first class honours in Geophysics and Planetary physics at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1992. I then joined the BBC in October 2007, where I divide my time between forecasting and reporting on stories about climate change and its implications for people's everyday lives.

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