Scientists are growing increasingly concerned as the climate crisis progresses. It appears unprecedented draughts and warming ocean waters are just the tip of the iceberg. Recently, an event in Antarctica caused ripples of fear throughout the Scientific community. This event is being called a once-in-7.5 million-year event and the lasting impact it will have on Antarctica and the rest of the world is not something to take lightly.
Extreme weather in Antarctica is no new news. Global warming has caused drastic increases in the water temperature and ice is melting at rapid speeds. New studies find that urgent policies must be put into place in order to restrict the burning of fossil fuels and protect our planet from this harm.
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In February of this year, Antarctic ice hit an all-time low and has struggled to grow back ever since due to rising temperatures. The extremity of this event cannot be overstated. In fact, the Arctic is expected to run out of ice by the year 2030 if the temperatures continue to increase at the current rate.
In a study on the extreme weather shifts in Antarctica, scientists found that one of the world’s most extreme heat waves took place in Antarctica in 2022. Temperatures rose to above 101.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Since the ice is melting in conjunction with this, more heat is absorbed by the ocean water and reflected back in a vicious cycle of solar heat.
Martin Siegert, a professor at the University of Exeter stated, “Nations must understand that by continuing to explore, extract, and burn fossil fuels anywhere in the world, the environment of Antarctica will become ever more affected in ways inconsistent with their pledge”.
Since this season has been one unlike any other we have seen, climate scientists from around the globe have spoken out to stress the importance of putting policies in place to restrict the underlying causes of this issue. The widely accepted consensus in the scientific community is that humans are the root cause of this drastic change in the climate. It is our actions that have escalated air pollution and trapped heat in a way that has negatively impacted global temperatures and ice conditions.
The disappearance of sea ice is more catastrophic than most people realize. Antarctica has always been imperative in regulating the Earth’s temperatures. The ice there acts as a thermostat because sunlight reflects off the ice and prevents the planet from overheating. But, without all that ice to keep the planet cool, the sunlight reflects off the ocean and radiates even more heat into the atmosphere.
If this process continues, scientists worry about the implications on human survival. For this reason, many scientists in the community are working tirelessly to put policies in place that will help us lower temperatures and return the planet to a safe and stable place. Siegert explains, “Reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero is our best hope of preserving Antarctica, and this must matter to every country- and individual- the planet”.