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Sporadic temperature surges in Antarctica linked to climate change: NCPOR chief

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NEW DELHI, May 9: Recent incidents of warm air breaching the belt of super-chilled air over Antarctica and leading to a sharp rise in temperatures are linked to climate change, senior scientist Thamban Meloth has said.

In an interaction with PTI editors, Meloth, the director of the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, said changes in Antarctica’s climate impact all other continents.

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He said climate change is affecting Antarctica and its ice sheets.

Although Antarctica may be melting, the senior scientist said the sea-level rise around the fifth-largest continent in the world is much less compared to the tropics and mid-latitudes.

“Atmospheric rivers are funneling warm air mass to polar regions. This air is very warm and holds a lot of moisture. So it can also lead to the heating of the Antarctic atmosphere, endangering some of the ice mass,” he said.

Meloth recalled that the coldest place on earth recorded a 35-degree Celsius jump in the temperature in a single day due to a similar incident in 2022.

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The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both the poles. It exists all year round but weakens in summer and strengthens in winter.

Meloth said the warm air is “breaching this envelope” of the polar vortex. “Earlier, the big belt of the polar vortex would stop the warm air.”

He also said western Antarctica is warming and losing ice mass much faster than the eastern part of the continent.

Researchers say climate differences in the region are likely due to natural climate variability factors responding to global warming.

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They note that natural climate factors could also result in a sharp rise in temperatures over eastern Antarctica in the coming years and such conditions could lead to ice sheet collapse, adding to a rise in sea levels.

Meloth highlighted that Antarctica is also not free from marine pollution, especially plastic pollution, and most of this reaches there from other continents. (PTI)

 

 

 

 

 

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