Calibration Error Caused Overestimation of Expansion of Antarctic Sea Ice

Calibration Error Caused Overestimation of Expansion of Antarctic Sea Ice

A new study that was published in the journal 'The Cryosphere' said that the expansion rate of the ice of Antarctic sea may be slower than what has been previously estimated. An error which occurred during processing of satellite data may have been responsible for the overestimation.

The ice cover of the Arctic is retreating at a high rate. On the other hand, satellite data shows that ice in the Antarctic sea is expanding at a moderate rate. The ice cover is believed to have reached a record high in the past few years.

This has puzzled scientists for quite some time as to why the sea ice is increasing in a warming world. The new research says that much of the expansion may be due to an error that scientists failed to notice.

The AR4 report said that between the years 1979 and 2005, the Antarctic sea ice cover did not experience significant changes. The AR5 which is the other report said that between 1979 and 2005 the extent of sea ice grew at the rate of almost 6.3 thousand square miles per year. It was assumed that the difference in the two reports was due to the different time intervals considered but a closer look at the data proved that this was not the case.

Satellite data is made use of to measure the ice cover for more than 3 decades. However the method had flaws.

While global warming has caused a large amount of Arctic sea ice to melt, sea ice in Antarctica seems to be expanding slowly since 2000. This discrepancy has amazed climate scientists.

Scientists can tell the difference between sea ice and open water by analyzing data from satellites, which is equipped with microwave sensors using one of two standard algorithms.

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