As the Arctic sea ice melt continues to concern many within the scientific community, it is an increase in Antarctic sea ice that has raised questions. UW research scientist and associate professor Jinlun Zhang recently released a study examining the reason for this phenomenon.
Although global sea ice is still in decline, certain areas of Antarctica have experienced an increase in sea ice thickness. According to Zhang’s research, this trend is due to an increase in winds in the southern oceans that decrease surface air temperature, causing the sea ice to ridge more often.
Ignatius Rigor, UW research scientist and climatologist at the UW’s Polar Science Center, says that scientists shouldn’t just look at one place, such as the Arctic, and decide that sea ice is in decline. The key, to him, is whether those same decreases happen worldwide.
“Climate change is a global thing, and we need to understand how the climate is changing over the whole globe and [whether] it is consistent with global warming,” Rigor said. “[Zhang’s research] makes a lot of sense. One of the things we expect in a warming planet is a change in weather.”