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Monash expert: Three record low Antarctic sea ice summers in the past three years

Monash University 2 mins read

A Monash University expert from the Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future research group is available to comment on the three record low Antarctic sea ice summers over the past three years, highlighting what could be a critical transition for Antarctic sea ice

Dr Ariaan Purich, Lecturer in the School of Earth Atmosphere and Environment, Faculty of Science, Monash University
Contact: +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu or ariaan.purich@monash.edu 
Read more of Dr Purich’s commentary at Monash Lens

The following can be attributed to Dr Purich:

“In February 2023, Antarctic sea ice extent broke the record minimum, set only a year earlier in February 2022. At the time of writing, sea ice may not have reached its minimum for 2024 yet, but it is already the third lowest sea ice summer on record. This is both remarkable and alarming. 

“The back-to-back record low sea ice levels in February 2022 and 2023 motivated research published in September 2023 that detected a new low-coverage state for Antarctic sea ice, with Southern Ocean subsurface warming found to be important. 

“The connection between sea ice and the underlying ocean indicates that the current period of diminished sea ice may signify a new state or regime for Antarctic sea ice. 

“Recent evidence suggests a fundamental shift in how Antarctic ice behaves within the atmosphere-ocean-sea ice system, and that low sea ice levels may be the new abnormal. 

“Now we have seen three consecutive extremely low sea ice summers, it strengthens the case for a new regime in Antarctic sea ice. 

“While there are many aspects of Antarctic change that remain to be understood, we know that the more we limit emissions and warming, the more we limit future changes to the frozen parts of our planet.”

For any other topics on which you may be seeking expert comment, please contact the Monash University Media team on +61 3 9903 4840 or media@monash.edu

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