An incredible new finding is based on something discovered by British and German explorers from the early 20th century.
A scientific expedition in the Antarctic that happened a century ago is leading to some incredible new data for scientists in the modern day. Ice observations that were found in the logbooks of British and German explorers can be used to compare the Antarctic ice age during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, which took place between 1897 and 1917, and where satellites show them now.
The findings were published in the journal The Cryosphere, and it suggests that Antarctic sea ice doesn’t respond as much to the effects of climate change as the Arctic does. The Antarctic summer sea ice probably lost about 14 percent of its mass in the last 100 years, a relatively small figure compared to the dramatic loss of ice in the Arctic, according to a statement from the European Geosciences Union.
It’s a fascinating discovery because the explorers who led the expedition were considered “heroic failures” at the time, but now this data a full century later could provide important clues as mankind gears up for the most important battle of its life: the fight against global warming and climate change.
Jonathan Day, who led the study, said in the statement: “The missions of Scott and Shackleton are remembered in history as heroic failures, yet the data collected by these and other explorers could profoundly change the way we view the ebb and flow of Antarctic sea ice.
“We know that sea ice in the Antarctic has increased slightly over the past 30 years, since satellite observations began. Scientists have been grappling to understand this trend in the context of global warming, but these new findings suggest it may not be anything new. If ice levels were as low a century ago as estimated in this research, then a similar increase may have occurred between then and the middle of the century, when previous studies suggest ice levels were far higher.”