According to scientists, the formation of huge holes in the ice layer on the sea surface can lead to significant climate changes as a result of the circulation of sea water, and further analysis of the data will help to more accurately assess the possible consequences of these processes for the terrestrial climate. It is noteworthy that the polynyas in the Weddell Sea are far from the coast.
"At that time, the scientific community had just launched the first satellites that provided images of the sea-ice cover from space", said Torge Martin, a meteorologist and climate modeler, as quoted by Phys.org.
A team that includes researchers from the University of Toronto and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modelling (SOCCOM) group at Princeton University are monitoring the area with satellite technology and using robotic floats that are capable of operating under sea ice to finally shed some light on the polynya and their impact on the climate.
After closing back up, and remaining that way for roughly 40 years, it has re-opened. It's not clear at this point if the ice hole is influenced in any way by climate change. Instead, the Weddel Polynya can be pinned to water stratification in the Southern Ocean, according to scientists at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research who closely following its development.
The going theory on what caused it has to do with water currents and a flow of warmer water rising up and melting the ice. Dr. Mojib Latif, head of the Research Division at GEOMAR, in a public statement.
"This is now the second year in a row it's opened after 40 years of not being there".
However, the recently discovered polynya is "deep in the ice pack", which is rather unusual, Moore said. This is quite possible given the fact that the deep water is saltier as well as warmer than the layer of water at the top.
The hole first showed up on satellite images on September 9 and the researchers said it would be premature to blame the polynya on climate change.
Still, it's unclear how often the Weddell Polynya re-emerges, and how long it will linger now that it's opened back up. "The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system".