Global Warming Wreaks Havoc On Antarctic Research Stations

Posted: May 12, 2015 3:00 PM

And by wreaking havoc, I mean there’s so much sea ice around the continent that access to the research stations has been curtailed. In fact, one station had to be airlifted a year’s worth of supplies since ships could not break through the ice. The Guardian reports that 50 scientist are gathering in Hobart, Australia to conduct a series of workshops in order to accurately project sea ice production. This would allow shipping vessels to navigate better on their voyages, and save millions in the process:

Sea ice around Antarctica is currently at record levels for May, part of a trend of increasing ice around the frozen continent making it harder to resupply and refuel research stations.

More than 50 scientists are gathering in Hobart in Tasmania this week for a series of workshops on techniques to more accurately forecast sea ice levels in the polar region, aiming to save millions of dollars in shipping costs.

They will also hope to avoid a repeat of the problems suffered by the Akademik Shokalskiy, the research vessel caught in a sudden freeze in December 2013.

Rod Wooding, from the Australian Antarctic Division, said last year ships “couldn’t get anywhere near” the Australian research site, Mawson station, requiring a year’s worth of supplies and fuel to be flown in by helicopter.

Scientists were initially puzzled by the increasing sea ice around the continent, which reached record levels in September 2014, but have concluded it is “very largely driven by changes in wind”, Tony Worby, the chief executive of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre said.

“Those changes of wind are driven by the depletion of ozone in the stratosphere and the increasing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”

The El Nino phenomenon, too, “drives changes in pressure which drives changes in wind which drives changes in sea ice”, he said.

Antarctica is also surrounded by ocean, leaving sea ice “completely free to expand however it wants to”, in contrast to the Arctic region, which is landlocked by Russia, Greenland and northern Canada.

Wait–so you’re saying that this is mostly a natural occurrence? And sea ice isn’t just forming in record numbers around Antarctica. It’s happening in the Arctic Ice Cap, which–according to the global warming experts–was suppose to disappear by 2013.

As I've written previously, we’ve experienced the calmest Hurricane season in 30 years, the quietest tornado season in 60 years; the creation of 19,000 Manhattan islands worth of sea ice, and (again) the Arctic Ice Cap has grown by 533,000 square miles. In 2007, the BBC warned the cap could vanish by 2013. Oh, and we’re at the most industrialized point in human history–and air quality couldn’t be better, according to the EPA.