IceThe Ross Sea: one of the places where sea ice extent is increasing. Brocken Inaglory/Wikimedia CommonsCC BY

This year could well see a new record set for the extent of Antarctic sea ice – hot on the heels of last year’s record, which in turn is part of a puzzling 33-year trend in increasing sea ice around Antarctica.

Unsurprisingly, these records have provided fodder for those wishing to cast doubt on climate science or to resist action on climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) itself states that while hypotheses exist for Antarctic sea ice trends, they are “incomplete and competing” (see page 909 here).

But far from waving the white flag, or falling on their ice corers, Antarctic sea ice researchers are relishing this grand puzzle of the Southern Ocean.

In terms of natural experiments, they don’t come much bigger or more exciting than those unfolding across the Antarctic climate system right now. What’s more, the science is beginning to yield answers.

Read the full article here.