Sea Ice Changes in the Polar Regions
The Earth’s polar regions are most famous for the animals living there: The polar bear living in the far north – the Arctic, and penguins populating the far south – Antarctica. They live in the most remote and extreme regions on Earth and never cross paths. The polar regions are also fundamentally different in terms of their geography. Essentially, Antarctica is a landmass surrounded by sea while the Arctic is sea surrounded by land. This has an effect on the sea ice formation in the regions. Sea ice – frozen ocean water – forms in winter and melts in the summer and floats on the ocean surface. In some regions, sea ice remains all year around and is then called multiyear ice. Arctic sea ice is thicker than Antarctic sea ice and tends to be less mobile.
The Climate Science Communications Group (CSCG) released a briefing paper (issue 2) synthesizing the recent changes of sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic. The paper covers processes of ice formation and melt, monitoring of sea ice extent through satellites, recent changes and future prospects and implications.