Why Antarctic Sea Ice Is Growing in a Warmer World
Models solve mystery, but suggest South Pole sea ice melt will soon accelerate.
Satellite data show that, over the past 30 years, Arctic sea ice has declined while Antarctic sea ice has mysteriously expanded, according to study leader Jiping Liu, a research scientist at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.
"We've seen this paradox, but we don't know why—here we gave an explanation," Liu said.
The new analyses are based on climate models and sea-surface temperature and precipitation observations from 1950 to 2009. They show that, in the 20th century, ocean warming boosted precipitation in the upper atmosphere over the Antarctic region, which fell as snow.