Russian Scientist: 4% More Antarctic Sea Ice – Ozone Hole Cooling Antarctica

The April 21, 2010 German edition of the Russian news website RIA Novosti has a piece with a possible explanantion as to why Antarctic sea ice is expanding while the rest of the globe is warming.

A Russian scientist believes it is due to the ozone hole over the South Pole. According to Alexander Klepikov of the Research Instritute for Arctic and Antarctic at the Conference Maritime Research of Polar Regions of the Earth in the International Polar Year:

Over the last 3o years of satellite measurement, the growth of the ice amount in the Southern Ocean which surrounds Antarctica was more than 4 percent.

Klepikov emphasised that sea ice growth around the Antarctic coast was irregular and occurred at different areas. There was an especially large amount of sea ice growth in the Ross Sea located in the western part of the Pacific sector. Klepikov says British researchers, using mathematical models and analysis of meteorological data, could attribute the increasing sea ice trend to the so-called ozone anomaly in the South Pole region.

Reduced ozone concentrations over the South Pole leads to cooling of the upper atmosphere, and eventually leads to a strengthening of the circumpolar circular flow – winds that blow along the Antarctic coast and protect the Antarctic zone against the effects of warmer air. The same mechanism has the opposite effect on the Larsen Ice Shelf, causing increased melting.