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Record Antarctic sea ice confounds climate models

Paul Hudson

The extent of sea ice in the southern hemisphere continues to cause a headache for climate scientists, with news this week that Antarctic sea ice is now at record levels, based on satellite data which began in the late 1970’s.

This is contrary to what climate models had predicted.

It’s thought that weather conditions at the South Pole, namely strengthening winds, is a possible explanation, but it’s another mystery for climate scientists already struggling to explain why most climate models have failed to predict the levelling off of global temperatures in the last 15 years or so.

At the other end of the planet, Arctic ice has staged a strong rebound this summer compared with last summer’s record minimum, reaching its lowest point just over a week ago.

But despite many headlines to the contrary, it in no way marks a reversal of the striking long term decline which has been observed since satellite data was first gathered during the late 1970’s.

And it’s worth adding that the overall loss of Arctic sea ice in recent years has been happening faster than most climate models anticipated.



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