Images from NASA Satellite Show Shocking Levels of Ice Melt in Antarctica
Science

Images from NASA Satellite Show Shocking Levels of Ice Melt in Antarctica

Antarctica is presumably a terribly cold place. The yearly average temperature of the snowy continent’s central area remains over -70 degrees Fahrenheit. But in the current month temperature of Antarctica has amazed researchers. On 6th Feb., the weather stations have logged the hottest temperature in the snowy continent. The Esperanza Base present on the northern edge of the Antarctic Peninsula has revealed a record temperature of 64.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Notably, it is the hottest temperature ever logged on the landfall. It has even broken the previous record of 17.5 degrees Celsius since 24th Mar. 2015. The heatwave resulted in the melting of glaciers neighboring the continent. Reportedly, the warm temperatures appeared on 5th Feb., which lasted until 13th Feb.

On Friday, Earth Observatory of NASA has published two new images taken from Landsat 8’s Operational Land Imager. Those pictures reveal the difference in the ice cap of Eagle Island between February 4-13. Notably, the pre and post snapshots disclose a dramatic fall in snow as well as ice. Well, the latest warm spell continued for around a week, and the images reveal its impact. The small Eagle Island is present near the coast of Graham Land, located in the Antarctic Peninsula. The record-breaking temperature has caused the melting of a large amount of ice cap of Eagle Island.

The island is just 25 miles away from the Esperanza Antarctic Peninsula of Argentina. As per climate models of NASA, Eagle Island has met the greatest melt, about an inch, on 6th Feb. Notably, the heatwave might have caused an ice loss of around 4 inches in a week. According to NASA, the Eagle Island has lost up to 20% of periodic snow growth in that one-time event. A glaciologist at Nichols College in Massachusetts Mauri Pelto said they have had not seen such rapidly developing melt ponds in Antarctica. Pelto added such melt events are common in Greenland and Alaska, but rare in Antarctica. According to Pelto, sustained temperatures, notably above freezing, have resulted in such quick melting.