Massive Holes Are Forming in Antarctic Sea Ice

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Warm, moist rivers of air in Antarctica help create massive holes in sea ice in the Weddell Sea, research finds.

The rivers of air may influence ocean conditions around the vast continent as well as climate change, according to the study.

Scientists studied the role of long, intense plumes of warm, moist air—known as atmospheric rivers—in creating enormous openings in sea ice. They focused on the Weddell Sea region of the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, where these sea ice holes (called polynyas) infrequently develop during the winter.

Scientists first observed a large hole in this…



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