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Frozen Antarctica Walloped by Climate Extremes, Scientists Find

Frozen Antarctica Walloped by Climate Extremes
Frozen Antarctica Walloped by Climate Extremes. Credit: Horacio Lyon / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

In the faraway land of Antarctica, known as one of the loneliest spots on our planet, researchers are uncovering broken temperature records and noticing a rise in both the size and frequency of unusual weather events.

A recent study published in Frontiers in Environmental Science reveals that even the southernmost continent is not shielded from the severe weather impacts attributed to human-induced climate change.

The study provides a comprehensive understanding of a region that has stood out as an anomaly in terms of climate change.

The western part of Antarctica, particularly its peninsula, has experienced significant melting of ice sheets, posing a potential risk of substantial increases in sea levels in the coming centuries. Meanwhile, the eastern side has shown instances of ice gain at certain periods, according to the study.

‘Doomsday Glacier’ melting very fast

A glacier in the western region of Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate, leading scientists to name it the “Doomsday Glacier.”

This glacier has garnered international attention, as researchers are working together to unravel the reasons behind its rapid melting.

Additionally, the sea ice around Antarctica has displayed alarming changes. It shifted from reaching an all-time high to reaching shockingly low levels previously unseen.

If this pattern continues, which is probable if people don’t succeed in reducing emissions, a series of significant outcomes could unfold.

These could range from coastlines vanishing to a heightened global warming process accelerated by substantial reductions in ice that reflects sunlight.

Scientists have been observing this scenario for quite some time, and their current level of concern about it has risen even further.

‘A changing Antarctica is bad news for our planet’

Martin Siegert, a glaciologist and professor of geosciences at the University of Exeter, who is also the main author of the study, said that when Antarctica undergoes changes, it spells trouble for our entire planet.

Siegert explained that he and his team aimed to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons behind unusual events. They also wanted to determine if the burning of fossil fuels would lead to an increase in such events.

To achieve this, the team brought together research covering a broad spectrum of subjects, including atmospheric and weather patterns, sea ice, land ice, ice shelves, and marine and land biology.

The research discovered that instances of extreme climate changes are worsening in a location that was previously thought to be somewhat protected from the turbulence of global warming.

The continent is no longer an unchanging frozen expanse, researchers noted. Instead, it intermittently and unexpectedly experiences the impacts of climate change, enduring its severe conditions and unpredictable extremes.

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