Antarctica: record of melting ice

THE glaciers of Antarctica they are not in good health. In just three years, an area larger than Mexico, equal to 2 million square kilometers of ice, has been lost. A catastrophic process that began in 2014.

This was revealed by the analyzes conducted by a researcher of the NASA through satellite images.

Melting of the ice: the satellite surveys

The shocking increase in the melting of the South Pole was identified by the researcher Claire L. Parkinson of the NASA Cryosphere Science Laboratory, operating at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

From the late 1970s until five years ago, Antarctic ice grew steadily over the course of the austral winters, peaking in 2014. Since then, there has been a trend reversal that has led to a dramatic decrease. within three years.

According to Parkinson's data, if in 2014 the ice occupied about 12.8 million square kilometers, in February 2017 it fell to 10.7 million square kilometers. To aggravate the already impressive picture, the negative peaks that were detected in May and June of this year, which are higher than those recorded in 2017.

The causes of the dissolution

The mechanism that is triggering this unexpected surge is still not completely clear. THE climate changes in progress could play a decisive role in the melting of the South Pole ice. However, scientists do not exclude that it may be a transitory phenomenon.

According to some scholars, the most accredited thesis would be that of the "natural variable": that is, the winds would have a distinct influence on the ice. To support this possibility is for example Mark Serreze, director of National Data and Snow Center US, according to which it is premature to state that the recent decline "is evidence of the beginning of a long-term decline driven by the greenhouse effect“.

In addition to the different action of the winds, other factors are listed as possible causes of the dissolution, including El Niño, a periodic climatic phenomenon that determines a strong heating of the waters of the Central-Southern and Eastern Pacific Oceans.

An increasingly hot planet

While waiting for science to run its course by offering a precise and definitive answer, in the meantime, not even the northern hemisphere of the planet seems to be doing well. On July 4th, in Alaska temperatures never recorded before have been recorded. In Anchorage, a coastal city known for being the coldest in the United States, the thermometer it reached 32.2 degrees, practically the same temperature as Miami.

Furthermore, for the entire month of June, in the US state, which is partly located within the Arctic Circle, temperatures appeared above the seasonal average. According to experts, these anomalous figures are at least in part due to the warming that is affecting the Arctic Ocean.

Temperatures at the limits of human endurance are instead being recorded in North of India. Scholars have pointed out that this is the second driest pre-monsoon period of the last 65 years. The thermometer reached peaks of over 50 degrees Celsius, causing deaths, serious consequences on the health of the population and an inevitable shortage of water.

Too many cases. Too many parallel "coincidences". It is evident that something in the world climate is changing. Despite everything, there are those who still persist in denying it out of distrust, out of levity or, in the worst case, for personal interest.

Video: Special report: How Iceland is melting (January 2022).