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Science & Technology

Mystery surrounds giant hole in Antarctica

October 12, 2017 | Comment icon 3 comments



Is climate change responsible ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Liam Quinn
A hole in the ice larger than the Netherlands has been described by scientists as 'quite remarkable'.
Known as a 'polynya', a word that in Russia refers to an area of water surrounded by ice, this particular anomaly was first observed back in the 1970s to the east of the Antarctic Peninsula.

It disappeared for the better part of four decades, but then last year - and now this year - it has suddenly started to open up again, leaving scientists scratching their heads.

The hole is believed to form when a layer of warm water from the bottom of the ocean rises to the surface, displacing the colder layer above it and melting the ice.
"This is like opening a pressure relief valve," said Professor Mojib Latif.

"The ocean then releases a surplus of heat to the atmosphere for several consecutive winters until the heat reservoir is exhausted."

The key now is to understand exactly why this happens, whether or not it has anything to do with climate change and, if it does, whether it is down to natural or man-made processes.

Source: Independent | Comments (3)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
I knew climate change would be mentioned somewhere and possibly blamed. Since this was first observed in1970, scientists are only concerned 47 years later? Maybe there's an underwater volcano causing this.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Noxasa 5 years ago
Obviously climate change is being considered as a possible cause when it really should the last thing considered.  It shouldn't even be mentioned in the article.  It's always the underlying bias by environmental scientists that AGW is the cause of any environmental phenomenon, especially when it has to do with some ice melting somewhere on the planet.. 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Alaric 5 years ago


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