The sea ice surrounding Antarctica, which, as I reported in my book, has been steadily increasing throughout the period of satellite measurement that began in 1979, has hit a new all-time record high for areal coverage.
The new record anomaly for Southern Hemisphere sea ice, the ice encircling the southernmost continent, is 2.074 million square kilometers and was posted for the first time by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s The Cryosphere Today early Sunday morning.
It was not immediately apparent whether the record had occurred on Friday or Saturday. Requests for comment to Bill Chapman, who runs The Cryosphere Today, were not immediately returned.
The previous record anomaly for Southern Hemisphere sea ice area was 1.840 million square kilometers and occurred on December 20, 2007.
Global sea ice area, as of Sunday morning, stood at 0.991 million square kilometers above average.
Although early computer models predicted a diminishment of both Northern Hemisphere and Southern Hemisphere sea ice due to anthropogenic global warming, subsequent modeling has posited that the results of warming around Antarctica would, counter-intuitively, generate sea ice growth.
A freshening of the waters surrounding the southernmost continent as well as the strengthening of the winds circling it were both theorized as explanations for the steady growth of Antarctica’s sea ice during the period of satellite measurement.
A number of prominent climatologists have discounted the growth of Antarctic sea ice, arguing that it is less significant to global circulation than ice in the Arctic basin.