After 40 years, a large ice-free area appears again in the Southern Ocean in mid-winter
US-American scientists have calculated that the Weddell Polynya would probably not occur again because of climate change.
Higher precipitation levels in the region and melting ice would decouple the surface from the deeper water layers.
However, in several studies applying the “Kiel Climate Model” and other computer models, the research group in Kiel described the polynya as part of long-term natural variability, which would occur again sooner or later. “The fact that now a large, ice-free area can be observed in the Weddell Sea confirms our theory and gives us another data point for further model studies,” says Dr. Martin.