Explorers of the Antarctic have powerfully impacted research in the field, suggesting that the area of sea ice found around Antarctica has hardly changed in size during the last century. The ship log books dating from approximately 100 years in the past suggest that the Antarctic sea levels have not been subjected to significant changes.

The log books used during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, dating from 1897 to 1917, held under Erich von Drygalski speak of a very similar sea level compared to the data that satellites offer today.

Climate Change - Effects And Demystification

The research, published Nov. 21 in the European Geosciences Union journal The Cryosphere, underlines that the Antarctic Sea is actually less sensitive to climate change repercussions than previously thought, especially when compared to the Arctic. The latter is known to have dramatically changed during the 20th century.

The study was conducted by climate researchers at the University of Reading, and it approximates that the extent to which the Antarctic summer sea ice has diminished doesn't exceed a 14 percent rate compared to the beginning of the 20th century.

According to Jonathan Day, the lead author of the study, there is a newly found use to the observations made by early explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton.

"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," Day noted.

Since the beginning of the satellite observations roughly 30 years ago, the sea ice has undergone a slight increase in the Antarctic, and scientists have started to put this phenomenon in the greater schema of global warming. However, this new research suggests that there is nothing abnormal about the water's behavior, as it also happened in the past when global warming was not an issue.

New Views On Climate Change

Consequently, this study also suggests that the climate of Antarctica could have actually undergone significant fluctuations during the 20th century from one decade to another, rather than just followed an unidirectional trend. The research creates context around the idea of global warming effects, adding crucial information to the previously conducted studies in the attempt to understand the water climate.

The results of this research could contribute to the reshaping process of the manner in which we understand global warming and its effects on our planet.

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