Scientists have shed more light on the puzzling contradiction of increasing Antarctic sea ice in a warming world.
In a new paper published in Nature Geoscience this week, researchers from Monash University and the US-based National Center for Atmospheric Research pointed to climate variability and a complex series of flow-on effects between the tropical Pacific and Ross Sea.
Reasons why the extent of Antarctic sea ice has increased since satellite records began in 1979 have long confounded climate scientists.
The Antarctic situation sits in stark contrast with the Arctic, where ice is rapidly melting, and is not reflected in climate model predictions.
In the new study, the researchers report that patterns of climate variability and corresponding changes in water temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and the Amundsen Sea off the coast of west Antarctica, have changed ocean circulation in the Ross Sea, driving an increase in sea ice.