Science discovers the truth about the hole that opened in the Antarctic ice 50 years ago

Science discovers the truth about the hole that opened in the Antarctic ice 50 years ago

Half a century ago, an interesting phenomenon occurred in Antarctica: a hole in the ice opened. Known as polynyas, these vents are common near polar oceans, where winds move the ice, exposing the ocean below.

However, Polynya Maud Rise, far from the coast, has always been a mystery. Its area is about 80 thousand square kilometers, and its composition was a mystery until recently.

According to information received from the IGN Brasil portal, a study published in Science magazine finally solved the mystery. Intense currents around the Weddell Sea, where the polynya is located, have brought warmer, saltier water from the bottom to the surface, causing the ice to melt.

The melting of the ice, which consists mainly of fresh water, was supposed to lower the salinity and stop the process. However, a phenomenon known as Ekman transport, in which water moves at a 90-degree angle to the direction of surface winds, changed the salinity of the water and allowed the crater to form.

“The pollen imprint can remain in water for several years after it is created,” study co-author Sarah Gill explained in a press release. They can change the way water moves and how currents transport heat to the continent. The dense water that forms here can spread throughout the World Ocean.

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