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Government scientists are not only blaming global warming for the centuries-long collapse of western Antarctic ice sheets, but global warming is also being blamed for record levels of sea ice in the South Pole.
Antarctica’s sea ice set another record this week, reaching 815,448 square miles above normal, breaking a record set this past weekend of 800,776 square miles above normal ice coverage.
These two records set within a week of one another shattered the previous ice extent record of 710,428 square miles above average that was set back on December 20, 2007.
But record-breaking ice coverage still worries scientists who argue that it’s being caused by global warming.
“The primary reason for this is the nature of the circulation of the Southern Ocean — water heated in high southern latitudes is carried equatorward, to be replaced by colder waters upwelling from below, which inhibits ice loss,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, told author Harold Ambler in an email.
“Upon this natural oceanic thermostat, one will see the effects of natural climate variations, [the rise] appears to be best explained by shifts in atmospheric circulation although a number of other factors are also likely involved,” Serreze told Ambler, who blogs about global warming.
Serreze’s response confused Ambler, who asked him to clarify over the phone what exactly was causing the ocean to warm up. “Was it, simply, global warming?” Ambler asked.
“Exactly!” Serreze responded.