Massive hole opens up in Antarctica, puzzling scientists

Massive hole opens up in Antarctica, puzzling scientists

Massive hole opens up in Antarctica, puzzling scientists

Therefore, the hole opened previous year that's too after the four decades and after that, it made an appearance last month with the even more larger size. "It's just remarkable that this polynya went away for 40 years and then came back". Polynyas are commonly found in coastal regions of Antarctica, but this hole is far from the edge of the ice pack where the ice is much thicker, and it's the middle of winter in Antarctica.

"If we didn't have a satellite, we wouldn't know it was there", Moore told Motherboard, adding it looks like someone "punched a hole" through the ice. "It's a couple of hundred kilometres away from the coast", Moore said.

Without the insulating effect of sea ice cover, a polynya allows the atmosphere and ocean to exchange heat, momentum and moisture, leading to significant impacts on the climate.

As it is, researchers will likely start or continue studying this unusual polynya which appeared in the Antarctic sea ice coverage.

The Weddell Sea polynya is shown as it appeared in passive microwave satellite imagery in the 1970s.

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He said the Weddell Sea polynya would be like an "oasis in the desert" for marine mammals such as orcas and seals, so it's probably teeming with life.

Scientists have been tracking large-scale changes in the Antarctic ice sheet in recent decades, but these changes are usually the result of known processes.

Scientists have no idea why it's open now after being closed for four decades - or why it's bigger and longer-lasting than ever before. Moore says it would be "premature" to connect it to climate change, though his team is analyzing data to better understand what could have caused this. "So something's going on, but we just don't have enough data yet to really pin it down".

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. While it wasn't seen for decades after 1976, it reappeared in August past year.

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