A record that we would like not to see broken… The extent of the ice floe in Antarctica reached a melting record in February, in the middle of the austral summer. The European climate observatory confirmed the information on Wednesday after similar American data, suggesting an intensification of melting over the last decade.
Sea ice, which melts in the summer and rebuilds in the winter, reached “its lowest extent in the 45 years that satellite data has been recorded” on February 16, said Samantha Burgess, deputy head of the observatory of change. European Union’s Copernicus (C3S) climate system. Its total extent was then 2.06 million km², said the C3S.
Sea ice 34% below average
The melting of the pack ice has no immediate impact on sea level, but it subjects the ice cap to the onslaught of the waves. However, this ice cap is particularly monitored because it contains enough water to cause a catastrophic rise in the level of the oceans if it were to melt.
Moreover, the white pack ice reflects the sun’s rays more than the darker ocean, and its loss thus accentuates global warming because the rays are less reflected back into space.
For Copernicus, the Antarctic sea ice, for the whole of February, was “34% below average”, beating the monthly record of February 2017. This is the eighth year in a row that this sea ice has melted more than the average low for the month of February according to C3S data.