The ice in the Arctic and Antarctica reflect a tremendous amount of heat back out into space – in fact about 85-90% of the heat sent in their direction goes back into space. This is because of the ‘albedo’, or ability to reflect heat, of white surfaces.
Black, on the other hand, absorbs heat, which is why it’s really rather stupid that many homes have black or dark coloured tiling on their roofs.
So given its one of our greatest natural guards against global warming, its rather concering to see three high-profile news articles sharing worrying climate updates about Antarctica in the spate of just a week.
Just one of these occurrences should be cause for alarm, but how does the old saying go – ‘trouble comes in threes’?
See below for our TLDR recap of these updates.
Flowers Are Spreading In Antarctica
- On land, scientists have foundflowering plants, moss, and algae spreading like never before
- Antarctica is looking less and less recognizable with each passing year.
- These dramatic changes have coincided with rising summer temperatures.
Ice at Record Lows in Antarctica and the Arctic
- A recent study published in Nature Communications suggested that the first ice-free summer month in the Arctic could come in the 2040s, even if the world reduces greenhouse-gas emissions quite steeply.
- Between March and September 2023, the ice cover in the Arctic shrank from a peak area of 5.64 million square miles (14.62 million square kilometers) to 1.63 million square miles (4.23 million square kilometers).
- Sea ice around Antarctica reached its lowest winter maximum extent on Sept. 10, 2023 – 398,000 square miles (1.03 million square kilometers) below the previous record-low reached in 1986
- Sea-surface temperatures have been abnormally high.
Antarctica Recorded the Most Intense Heatwave in the World
- The most intense heat wave ever recorded on Earth happened in Antarctica last year, a new study revealed.
- In March, temperatures near the south pole reached 39 °C (nearly 70 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal for three days in a row, hitting a peak of -10 °C (14 °F).
- The research team said the heat wave was caused by anomalous air circulation near Australia.
Let’s hope the world can start to make progress towards the Net Zero emissions goals that governments around the world are talking about, otherwise this is a concerning trend with dire consequences.
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