SOCCOM float surfaces inside rare Antarctic sea ice opening | SOCCOM - SOCCOM

Mysterious Hole forms in Antarctica

SOCCOM float surfaces inside rare Antarctic sea ice opening | SOCCOM - SOCCOM

The Weddell Sea polynya is shown as it appeared in passive microwave satellite imagery in the 1970s.

"This is hundreds of kilometres from the ice edge". Since during the first observation the scientists did not have the opportunity to study it, it remains unclear why it appears and how it disappears. According to NASA Earth Observatory, scientists had observed a similar polynya and that too in the same area in 1974.

Many climate scientists thought that, based on their theories of climate change, the formation of this deep-sea polynya would not form again in the Antarctic.

Kent Moore, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Toronto Mississauga, said that it is just like imagining that someone is in the middle of the Antarctic winter and he or she can see huge sea ice stretched as far as possible and suddenly while walking along, the person comes across this huge expanse of open water.

The odd 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. Last month, SOCCOM scientists were astonished to discover that a float in the Weddell Sea had surfaced inside the polynya, making contact with satellites in the dead of winter. In case of this giant hole, it is odd that it has formed "deep in the ice pack". This nearly twice the size of the Netherlands and marginally smaller than Ireland.

The Southern Ocean of Antarctica has very deep waters which is warmer and saltier than the surface water. "This is like opening a pressure relief valve - the ocean then releases a surplus of heat to the atmosphere for several consecutive winters until the heat reservoir is exhausted", said Prof.

'The Southern Ocean is strongly stratified, ' says Professor Dr Mojib Latif, head of the Research Division at GEOMAR.

Simulated temperature development in the area of the polynya is illustrated above.

Right now, why the hole opened again is a mystery.

The going theory on what caused it has to do with water currents and a flow of warmer water rising up and melting the ice. Sometimes, the scientists reveal some good news related to new discovery and some time they warn the world regarding the effect of climate change and global warming on Antarctica.

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