Mysterious Hole in Antarctica

For quite awhile now we’ve been hearing of the dangerous effects of global warming on areas with a colder climate. Specifically the effects on Antarctica, the continent mainly associated with the ice and cold. So it’s usually not a surprise when we hear of holes in the ice or glaciers melting. However this has done little to nothing to calm the nerves of scientists who discovered a mysterious hole some time ago. While it may seem obvious to us how this hole came to be, that might not be the case. Scientists working on studying the hole have been left scratching their heads, as they attempt to figure out just what might have caused this to happen.

These holes, that form in the middle of the continent surrounded by ice on all sides, are known as polynias. These holes will typically appear in the coastal regions of the barren tundra, much like you would expect them to be. The weird thing though is that this hole, which is the size of the state of main mind you, is way out in the middle of the continent. Its nowhere near any body of water on the continent. It looks like a hole was simply taken out of the ice and left there.

Photo Courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory

Most will simply attribute this to climate change, but scientists are not so sure if we should hastily jump on that bandwagon. It could be something entirely different. If it were, then it would likely be closer to the coastline. However, it is known that these polynias have a drastic effect on the climate around them. These areas are normally covered by many layers of sea ice which provides insulation for the ocean underneath. When this sea ice is gone, it allows heat to be exchanged with the ocean and drastically warms the surface.

According to researchers the polynia phenomenon is only going to get worse with time. The holes could become large enough to create terrible catastrophe. This trend is shown even with this extremely large hole, which actually surfaced originally sometime last year. Apparently this polynia surfaced sometime around forty years ago, and didn’t resurface until last year and came back this year. No one is quite sure what to make of this strange phenomenon, but the consensus here is clear; if we don’t find out how to fix the polynia phenomenon then we are going to have a whole lot more to worry about.

Photo Courtesy of Science Times

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