RECORD HIT FOR MOST
ICE TO MELT IN
ANTARCTICA IN ONE DAY,
DATA SUGGESTS: "WE ARE
IN A CLIMATE
27 December, 2019
The record in recent decades for the highest level of ice to melt in Antarctica in one day was reached on Christmas Eve, data suggests.
Around 15 percent of the continent's surface melted on Monday,
He added the production of melt water is a record 230 percent higher than average since November this year. That's despite the melting season not yet being over.
Fettweis told Antarctica has been "significantly warmer than average" this melting season. But he stressed the data is from a model, and not an in situ observation. The melting could be driven by a number of factors, and experts will need to wait two to three melting seasons to confirm what is going on.
"We have observed a crash of the Antarctica polar vortex just before this melting season," explained Fettweis, referring to low pressure near the pole. "A weaker polar vortex allows warm air masses to reach easier the ice sheet (which is usually protected by its polar vortex as it was the case the previous summer). The fact that the sea ice extent is very low also enhances the possibility of warm air masses to reach the ice sheet."
Asked whether climate change is to blame, he said: "As for most of the anomalies observed on these last months over the Earth , the signal coming from global warming can not be ignored here."
Fettweis said Antarctica had been "protected" by global warming, due in part to a stronger polar vortex over this last decade than usual. But he said this no longer seems to be the case, and climate anomalies observed at the continent can no longer be used by climate skeptics to deny global warming is occurring.
Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist and fellow at the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, shared the data on Twitter.
The figures come as climate change has, and is widely considered one of the most pressing issues of our time.
Last month, scientists urged world leaders to take urgent action to tackle climate change, as "abrupt" and "irreversible" climate tipping points that threaten human civilization
In an article published in the journal , scientists highlighted if the likely interconnected tipping points are met, a domino-effect of "long-term irreversible
changes" to the planet could be triggered.
"Evidence that tipping points are underway has mounted in the past decade," the experts wrote.
If this area collapses, the remaining West Antarctic ice sheets could be
destabilized, "leading to about 3 meters [9.8 feet] of sea-level rise on a timescale
of centuries to millennia," according to a prediction cited by the authors. The
Wilkes Basin on the East Antarctic could face a similar fate, and the Greenland
ice sheet could be "doomed" at 1.5 C of warming as soon as 2030.