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Daryl Ritchison, Published October 12 2012

Weather Talk: Antarctic sea ice expands, breaks record set in 2007

A few weeks ago in this space, I mentioned that the sea-ice extent around Antarctica was near record levels, but came just short of surpassing the satellite era’s highest extent.

That all changed as the sea ice in the southern ocean, although seemingly at peak in mid-September, continued to expand and ended up breaking the old record set in 2007. At maximum extent, the sea ice in the southern hemisphere maxed out at roughly 7.51 million square miles on Sept. 25.

Just as the Arctic Ocean’s sea ice minimum record that was broken this year was largely attributed to wind, especially with one powerful storm, the sea ice maximum in the southern ocean seems to have occurred because of favorable wind helping to maintain the ice pack.

Adequate satellite data to make sea-ice calculations has only been available since 1979; therefore, the term record in these instances should always be taken with a grain of salt.


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