Researchers Wonder Why a Giant Hole Keeps Opening Up in Antarctica

В Антарктиде обнаружена гигантская загадочная дыра

Currently scientists investigate the circumstances and cause of its occurrence

"While smaller and shorter-lived than the 1970s Weddell polynya, it's still an unusual and important phenomenon", Alek Petty, a sea ice scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, said in 2016 when the polynya appeared.

But Earther notes that another team, from the Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, believes its reappearance confirms their climate variability models, which suggested the polynya could show up again. An enormous hole in Antarctica's sea ice could help solve a climate riddle. "Its recurrence supports our hypothesis... that the Weddell Polynya was not a one-time event but possibly occurred regularly in the past". Experts believe that the Weddell polynya might a part of some cyclical process but they lack clear details. Such ice-free areas are called 'polynya' (Russian) by polar scientists.

"In the depths of winter, for more than a month, we've had this area of open water", Moore told National Geographic. According to satellite imagery, it appeared in the same place as it did forty years ago. As per the report, the largest estimates of the hole's current size put it around 80,000 square kilometers. He added that the polynya could stay open as the colder water reaches the bottom of the ocean and pushes warmer water to the surface. "This is like opening a pressure relief valve-the ocean then releases a surplus of heat to the atmosphere for several consecutive winters until the heat reservoir is exhausted", Latif said. Now that it is back, scientists have more sophisticated resources that enable them to improve their observations.

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One of the biggest reason as to why this polynya remains so mysterious is that it's quite hard to explore such areas.

Right now, why the hole opened again is a mystery. Under certain conditions, the warm layer can rise to the top, which leads to the melting of ice on the surface.

'The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system'.

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Though the appearance is mysterious, it's too early to blame climate change, according to Motherboard.

As scientists continue to hone their climate models and ideal their predictions, they're getting closer to being able to accurately simulate the exact process at work, but a full explanation may still be years away.

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