Subscribe to Breaking News emails

You have successfully subscribed to the Breaking News email.

Subscribe today to be the first to to know about breaking news and special reports.

Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Record for Extent: NASA

 / Updated 
Image: Sea ice extent in Antarctica
On Sept. 19, 2014, the five-day average of Antarctic sea ice extent exceeded 20 million square kilometers for the first time since 1979, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The red line shows the average maximum extent from 1979-2014.NASA Scientific Visualization Studio / Cindy Starr

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

Sea ice around Antarctica reached a record extent this year, but don’t think that’s the end of melting in the seas around the poles, NASA says: That region’s upward trend is a third of the magnitude of sea ice loss in the Arctic. NASA said Tuesday those differences don’t conflict with prevailing theory about global climate change. “The planet as a whole is doing what was expected in terms of warming. Sea ice as a whole is decreasing as expected, but just like with global warming, not every location with sea ice will have a downward trend in ice extent,” said Claire Parkinson of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The maximum extent of sea ice in Antarctica this year occurred Sept. 20, at 7.78 million square miles (20.14 million square kilometers), NASA said, citing data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. That was a day after the extent exceeded 20 million square kilometers (7.72 million square miles) for the first time. Why sea ice is growing around Antarctica isn’t clear, but scientists say that could be caused by changes in wind patterns or melting of ice on the continent’s edges, leading to fresher water that freezes at higher temperatures, or other reasons.

IN-DEPTH

SOCIAL

— Gil Aegerter

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
MORE FROM news