Monday, January 11, 2016
In 2015, sea ice coverage was greater than average around the Antarctic Peninsula, the Weddell Sea, and the Wilkes Land coast, according to an analysis by the National Snow & Ice Data Center. The Ross Sea and the Indian Ocean-facing coast had below average sea ice.
2015: 18.83 million square kilometers (7.27 million square miles).Maximum on 6th October.
2014: The second image shows the annual maximum on September 20, 2014, a record-high extent of 20.14 million square kilometers (7.78 million square miles).
Scientists think the strong El Niño could have had an effect on Antarctic sea ice in 2015. El Niño causes higher sea level pressure, warmer air temperature, and warmer sea surface temperature in the seas off west Antarctica—all of which affect the sea ice distribution.
“After three record-high extent years, this year marks a return toward normalcy for Antarctic sea ice,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Sea ice atop the Southern Ocean around Antarctica reached its annual maximum extent on October 6, 2015. The extent was less than the previous three years, which brought consecutive years of new record highs.
From NASA Earth Observatory.
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