Sea ice melts early along the Antarctic Peninsula

Sea ice melts early along the Antarctic Peninsula. Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory shows sea ice along the northernmost region of the Antarctic Peninsula in mid-November, which is about a month before the start of summer in the southern hemisphere.

The sea ice anchored to the coast appears light blue where the surface ice has melted, while the white ice farther off the coast is a combination of broken sea ice and small icebergs. Sea ice melts early along the Antarctic Peninsula

The image was captured on November 11, 2020, by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8.

The climate system receives nearly all of its energy from the sun. The climate system also radiates energy to outer space. The balance of incoming and outgoing energy, and the passage of the energy through the climate system, determines Earth’s energy budget. When the incoming energy is greater than the outgoing energy, earth’s energy budget is positive and the climate system is warming. If more energy goes out, the energy budget is negative and earth experiences cooling.

The energy moving Earth’s climate system finds expression in weather, varying on geographic scales and time. Long-term averages and variability of weather in a region constitute the region’s climate. Such changes can be the result of “internal variability”, when natural processes inherent to the various parts of the climate system alter the distribution of energy. Examples include variability in ocean basins such as the Pacific decadal oscillation and Atlantic multidecadal oscillation. Climate variability can also result from external forcing, when events outside of the climate system’s components nonetheless produce changes within the system. Examples include changes in solar output and volcanism.

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory 

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer


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