Giant hole in ice reappears in Antarctica after 40 years

Antarctica: Return of the Weddell polynya supports Kiel climate model

After 40 years, a large ice-free area appears again in the Southern Ocean in mid-winter

Currently, winter has still a firm grip on Antarctica. At this time of the year, the Weddell Sea usually is covered with a thick layer of sea ice. In spite of the icy temperatures in the region, satellite images depict a large ice-free area in the middle of the ice cover. The area of the hole in the ice is larger than The Netherlands and it fascinates climate and polar researchers worldwide. Scientists from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel are closely monitoring the developments. “For us this ice-free area is an important new data point which we can use to validate our climate models. Its occurrence after several decades also confirms our previous calculations,” says Dr. Torge Martin, meteorologist and climate modeler in the GEOMAR Research Division “Oceans Circulation and Climate Dynamics”.

Aerial view of the Weddell polynya in the Southern Ocean. Photo: Jan Lieser, ACE CRC, Australia

Polar researchers refer to a large ice-free area in otherwise frozen seas with the Russian word “polynya”. In the Arctic and Antarctic, polynyas occur regularly, but typically in coastal regions. They play an important role in the formation of new sea ice and deep water. In the open ocean, however, polynyas are rare. The so-called Weddell Polynya only once has been observed during the satellite era, namely in the mid-1970s. “At that time the scientific community had just launched the first satellites that provided images of the sea-ice cover from space. On-site measurements in the Southern Ocean still require enormous efforts, so they are quite limited,” says Dr. Martin.

Map of the sea ice distribution around Antarctica on Sept. 25, 2017, derived from satellite data. The red circle marks the actual Weddell Polynya. CREDIT

Nevertheless, the Weddell Polynya is reasonably well understood. “The Southern Ocean is strongly stratified. A very cold but relatively fresh water layer covers a much warmer and saltier water mass, thus acting as an insulating layer,” explains Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif, head of the Research Division at GEOMAR. Under certain conditions, the warm water of the lower layer can reach the surface and melt the ice. “This is like opening a pressure relief valve – the ocean then releases a surplus of heat to the atmosphere for several consecutive winters until the heat reservoir is exhausted,” adds Professor Latif.

Yet two major questions remain: how often does the polynya occur and does climate change influence this process? “If there are hardly any observations, computer models help to simulate the interactions between the ocean, the atmosphere and the sea ice,” explains Dr. Annika Reintges, first author of the most recent study by the Kiel group about this topic. The models apply fundamental physical laws to simulate climate. Real data such as the bathymetry and actual climate observations used as a starting point provide a framework in which the models run.

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However, data uncertainties lead to a range of results. “Therefore, we are always trying to compare the simulations with real phenomena to improve the models. Unfortunately, many data series are too short to evaluate the simulated climate variability with periods of several decades. We therefore also compare the models with each other,” says Dr. Reintges.

US-American scientists have calculated that the Weddell Polynya would probably not occur again because of climate change. Higher precipitation levels in the region and melting ice would decouple the surface from the deeper water layers. However, in several studies applying the “Kiel Climate Model” and other computer models, the research group in Kiel described the polynya as part of long-term natural variability, which would occur again sooner or later. “The fact that now a large, ice-free area can be observed in the Weddell Sea confirms our theory and gives us another data point for further model studies,” says Dr. Martin.

In general, the climate scientists at GEOMAR, like many colleagues around the world, are keen to differentiate natural climate variability from manmade changes. “Global warming is not a linear process and happens on top of internal variability inherent to the climate system. The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system”, resumes Professor Latif.



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They don’t know what causes it, but they are still positive that it validates the models.


Have they ruled out some pre-historic behemoth creature of the deep? It’s just as likely a creature of the deep as it is modeled global warming.

Bryan A

Sounds to me like what they should be saying is that it is probably time to actually study the natural variability of climate system and stop attributing 100% of climate changes to man made influences


The models apply fundamental physical laws to simulate climate.

That is called deception by omission.
Most of the key processes of the climate system are NOT modelled as “fundamental physical laws” but rather represented by a range of “parameters” and fiddle factors, tuned to give the right result in recent hindcasts.

John F. Hultquist

It helps if you read the article before commenting.

Tom O

Actually, John, I did read what is here. I see a “model” planned around a single data point that says it should happen again sooner or later. And now they have a second data point to correct that model from. I am amused at the idea that you can “model” anything from a single data point. You might just as well say “it is possible that Godzilla does exist, and he lives under the Wendell ice sheet, waking up every few decades.” How do you model something from a one time known event and realistically think because it happen again, that your model has been verified to some degree?


I did read the article.
A few think they know what might be happening. The rest admit they don’t know.

michael of Oz

If it happens once its happenstance, twice its a coincidence, but three times!…that’s how you improve a single data point model, one data point at a time.

John F. Hultquist

They looked at the ocean — ice & water underneath — and thought “This should happen again.”
It did.
This shows their thought processes have not yet been proven wrong.
If more data proves them wrong, throw the mess out.
If, as they think, it does happen again, that will allow them to improve understanding of the processes.
Others will contribute ideas.
That’s how science moves forward.
Note, there are many things known. For example the densities of various waters — warm, cool, saline; the insulating character of ice; ice thickness; sublimation and evaporation rates, and more. Many ocean currents are known and well explained, but not perfectly explained.
By working from what you know and thinking about what you don’t know, knowledge grows.
Read the following if you do not understand how this process of thinking works:
It is about inventing the light bulb.


John your link –
Who Invented the Twisty Little Bit of Wire Inside the Light Bulb?
is extremely inaccurate.
Thomas Edison did not invent the light bulb (but was good at commercializing the work of others)
Edison bought his patent from Canadians Henry Woodward and Mathew Evans in 1879.
The first practical incandescent lamp (a glass envelope with metal filament)
= 1835 James Bowman Lindsey, Dundee.
Joseph Swan, patented his light bulb in England 1878 11 mths before Edison’s

Paul Mackey

Ha! Spot on!


“Its occurrence after several decades also confirms our previous calculations,”
“US-American scientists have calculated that the Weddell Polynya would probably not occur again because of climate change.”
They just discovered there has been no climate change……..


That part was a bit unclear to me as well. Have the US scientists declared that this will be the last occurrence of this polynya and that it will henceforth be cancelled, or had they previously predicted the polynya wouldn’t reappear much to their chagrin (assuming they have shame)?
If this is a recurring phenomena, what makes them say it won’t recur?
How well have they surveyed the ocean floor in this area? Can they rule out volcanic activity? It seems as though they missed about quite a few volcanoes until recently. Although this area is not near the pacific rim, it does lie astride the mid Atlantic ridge.


Correction: not the mid-Atlantic per se but more near to the Bouvet triple junction at the edge of the Antarctic plate.

Willy Pete

Yes, the Weddell Sea lies on the Antarctic Plate. Its bathymetry has been pretty well studied, but there’s always a chance that science has missed the odd submarine volcano.
IMO however, natural oceanic oscillations account for the emergence of this polynya. The Weddell Sea is important in global thermohaline circulation.

Mickey Reno

A lot of people have also been using the phrase “RELEASE THE KRAKEN!”
Maybe the Kraken heard them, came up and punched an air hole for himself. (oops, trigger alert, him, her, itsself). I suppose, to be politically correct in the future, we should all say “RELEASE THE CIS-KRAKEN!” That way, the lesbian trans glaciers and trans lesbian glaciers of Antarctica won’t be offended.
So many climate scientists have their heads so far up, I just have to mock.


So their calculations predicted it would occur? I didn’t think so.

Willy Pete

I wonder how US-American scientists differ from US scientists and American scientists.


If they predict against ACG (Anthropogenic Climate Change) they are referred to as “US un-American scientists”.

Willy Pete

Speaking of ACC:


…or that the coming winter is going to be as cold as the winters in the middle 1970s (say 1974-1976) or worse. With snow in Austria, already, it might be a good idea to prepare for an early bad winter.

Dear heaven! Whatever one says while employing logic, there is a counter which depends on a programmed computer model. It is like those wandering evangelists who counter every argument by turning to a page in their holy book that has already been underlined. It is like arguing with automatons..


the early 70″s were tough years economically, let’s hope this isn’t a harbinger of things past. 🙂


I remember the 70s and it was COLD as heck!!

John Harmsworth

I don’t know where you are but here in Western Canada I cannot tell our present weather from the early 70’s. The 60’s were very cold winters and very hot summers. The 70’s were more moderate. The ice is returning in the Arctic and that will mean the end of the marine climate that has prevailedthere in winters and much colder temperatures across the Northern hemisphere in winter going forward.
We are entering the cold phase of a cycle related to Arctic ice extent that effects the entire planets temperatures and will last decades.

Willy Pete

Record cold for WA State was in late December 1968, IIRC.


I remember the Washington State winters of the mid 50s – particularly the winter of 1955-56 as being colder than the winters of the 60s – although the winter of 1968 was indeed full of snow & cold – snow skied at 40 below and got my face all frost-bitten even though I wore a ski mask.

Willy Pete

I don’t know which was the coldest winter over all, but Winthrop and Mazama recorded the coldest temperature ever measured in Washington State at –48 °F on December 30, 1968.
In any case, Earth cooled dramatically from the 1940s until the PDO flip of 1977, despite rising CO2.

Ed Zuiderwijk

‘The Southern ocean is strongly stratified’ with cold water (near freezing) laying on saltier warmer (near 4 degrees, presumably) water. That must be the part of the ocean below the ice.
Is this an observation or a model? Are there any observations of such temperature variation with depth? If so, can someone point me to a publication?


Scientists are looking into it…

Patrick MJD

Govn’t scientists? Like they did during the BSE scare in the UK in the 80’s claiming the meat was safe to eat. How did that work out?

The meat was save to eat. Many more farmers committed suicide after the destruction of their beloved herds than ever suffered from New Variant CJD.
So it all worked out fine…except for the farmers who killed themselves.


Its an old music hall joke Patrick…
‘A hole has appeared in the Old Kent Road… Police are looking into it’
and pointing out some imagined failure by one set of scientists doesn’t invalidate all science or scientists.


I read in the book “Before the Dawn“ by Nicholas Wade that the fact that more people didn’t get BSE (mad cow disease) was very unexpected and it turns out the result of ancestors of the British being cannibals; at some point in their past the ancestors of the British practiced cannibalism and evolved genes that protected them from the serious health risks of eating your own species. It turns out that all humans carry that specific genetic marker, except for the Japanese. They have a different marker for genes that do the same thing.

F. Leghorn

Why not you? You seem to know everything else about sciencey stuff.


Climate science is trying to invent a narrative around it, there in lies the difference.

Christopher Paino

Anything that can happen will happen “sooner or later”.


Sounds like Murphy’s law.


There’s a hole in the bottom of the ice,
There’s a hole in the bottom of the ice,
There’s a hole, there’s a hole,
There’s a hole in the bottom of the ice.


Well, fix it, dear beng……


With what shall I fix it …

Bryan A

With bailing wire and duct tape
With bailing wire and duct tape
There’s a hole in the ice
and we’ll fix it up nice
With bailing wire and duct tape


So who is to say there is not Volcanic activity involved. If not, how does that get runled out? Did they not just find/map a bunch of volcanoes in the Antarctic area in the last few years? Get a drone in there Stat!

Old England

There have been a number of underwater volcanoes discovered in the antarctic and more seemingly found as time passes. There has been a great deal of seismic activity around the ‘rim of fire’ recently. Perfectly possible that underwater volcanic activity has produced a larger than normal amount of hot water which has been forced to the surface and melted the ice.
It seems this polynya is a regular occurrence, whether or not it is related to volcanic activity remains to be seen but that has to be one of the first considerations given the extent of the volcanoes known in the antarctic.


Seems we studies the West. When do se study the area referenced in this post?
PDF available here.

who is to say its not unicorns
never rule out unicorns
since you cant rule out X, therefore it cant be Z


It would be unicorn farts that would be at play in the end through attribution. C’mon Steven, got to do a better job with the kriging.

Willy Pete

Please apply your world-class statistical analysis skills to determine the relative probabilities of submarine volcanoes vs. unicorn farts.
You are aware are you not that the Antarctic Peninsula, which forms the western shore of the Weddell Sea, is rich in volcanoes? Dunno if this map of tectonic plates will come through or not:

Willy Pete

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So the average temp change in the 40 years is what 0.2degree according to you isn’t it Steven. The chance of that being involved is about the same level as a unicorn unless you care to go and measure (and provide as a fact) that the ice thermal hysteresis in the area is extremely unusual and very very small.

Bryan A

Careful Mr Mosher
Your Tinny Snark is showing just a bit


It’s also a hole in the Argo buoy system.

Anthony has noted a polyna in that area repeatedly in the past 10 years. 2008, 2011, and 2014 at least, and now 2017. Anyone notice the “cycle”??

The polynya in this article is much larger and a little farther clockwise from the one you linked to.

Taylor Ponlman

The author says this is a cooling event, and it reminds me of the similar event last winter in the Arctic when open water caused enormous heat loss from the planet (witness the recovering minima and the recent rapid ice extent growth). Wake up, alarmists – the planet is losing stored heat and new heat is not coming to replace it. Model that and see where it leads.

John Harmsworth

Bang on! The Arctic has dumped about 30 years of accumulated heat via a few years of open water. The hiatus and now the ice is growing again which will cause colder, drier weather for years to come.

Willy Pete

Arctic sea ice declined from 1979 to 2012. It should now grow until the 2040s.
The trend is your friend, until it isn’t, alarmists. The ice worm has turned.


so many people seem to forget how quick that heat is lost compared to how it took to build . is this hole in antarctic ice part of the mechanism that drives the pdo ? would have been interesting to sample the air above the hole soon after it appeared for trace gasses from a volcanic eruption on the sea bed.

Sweet Old Bob

“The ocean then releases a surplus of heat to the atmosphere for several consecutive winters until the heat reservoir is exhausted ”
Sure sounds like cooling to me …”last observed in the mid 70s “…
polar see-saw in action ?
This winter may be interesting . And the following ones too ….


Yes, I made a fresh pitcher of ice tea at lunch time. It released its heat to the atmosphere and cooled off. Cooled off even more when I put ice into it and the ice melted, releasing heat to the atmosphere and cooling my ice tea.
It would be an interesting experiment for physics students in high school, wouldn’t it, to see just how much heat is released?

John Harmsworth

Sorry Sara, the ice absorbed heat from the atmosphere.


I forgot to add /sarc in at the end. My bad.


Any volcanoes around? New ones discovered in August this year plus 2011 article on antarctic undersea volcanoes but I can’t figure out the location relationship, if any, to the ice hole.


That’s too simple


This should make the warmista’s happy. We were wrong, the earth is cooling itself off, close call. Oh wait, Antarctica is melting! It’s worse than we thought!


What’s the point?
Some climatologist “have calculated that the Weddell Polynya would probably not occur again because of climate change”, some didn’t.
One model predicts that, if I flip a coin 10 times I will probably get less than 10 tails, another one that I will get at least 2 heads. I flip the coin 10 times – I get 5 tails and 5 heads. This confirms unicorns are real?
A total non sequitur!
The light is on, but nobody home …


Appears this would be an excellent time to use some drones and to seed a bunch of buoys and deeper level instruments to get a clear, real time picture of what is happening. Hello? US Navy? Anybody home? Sounds like a mission they could undertake at extremely short notice.

John Harmsworth

Isn’t the chronic misuse of NASA enough without turning the Navy into errand boys for a failed political project by a fatally flawed eco-Socialist political philosophy?


I don’t no, Daavvvyyyy! That hole in the ice could come screaming up the Atlantic and wipe out the East Coast! National Security! OK, all BS aside, USN can deploy a DD or Frigate to put telemetry gathering buoys into this “polynya” and get real time data to settle this bullsh*t. USG is already pissing away how many millions $ on this climate change horsesh*t? Do it right. Get REAL, on the spot data. Period. Full stop. Can’t tell me that US Navy does not have any assets close enough to do this, we have ships in the Antartic region continuously.

The Weddell Polynya has now appeared during transitions from a negative PDO to a positive PDO. It is also situated above a sea mount that can drive relatively warmer waters to upwell to the surface. Probably, when the PDO shift is observed, teleconnections alter the pathway of Antarctic currents that makes that upwelling more likely


If it is indeed above a sea mount that is note worthy. What causes sea mounts? (hint: they don’t grow from nothing)

Willy Pete

Help me please. “The so-called Weddell Polynya only once has been observed during the satellite era, namely in the mid-1970s.” Does this mean that it was observed before, but not by satellite? If so, how was it observed? Or does it mean it’s only been observed once, and that was by satellite?
Also: ““If there are hardly any observations, computer models help to simulate the interactions between the ocean, the atmosphere and the sea ice,” It’s always been my understanding that computer models rely on observations — in other words, data. Data is put into the models and then the models are run to see what the results are given that data. I’m unclear how models can “simulate” anything if there is little or no data.


I had the same reaction. “If there are hardly any observations—-” The idea of depending on computer simulations with not data or real world observations to advise policy makers is stupid and at some point criminal. Yet that is exactly what we are doing.

John Harmsworth

These models are based on magic molecules and predict anything and everything, real and imagined.

Gary Kerkin

Ah! That suggests the only solution will be found on a quantum computer?


… and more than one unique solution at a time!

Think of how much ocean heat energy is being lost every hour that hole is open. All that deep heat just venting into the air. It may warm the air a bit as the days are getting longer in the Antarctic, but a lot of that heat will be lost to space. A huge loss for us humans that tend to like warm better than cold.
PS, here in Calgary, we are experiencing our first winter storm of the season.

John Harmsworth

About a month early, Jeff?

Fall is very unpredictable here. Typically, winter hits mid November, but early storms are not unusual.

F. Leghorn

You Canucks deserve it! How dare you keep all that delicious coolness to yourselves?

At least there is some physical science underlying the prediction. ” Under certain conditions, the warm water of the lower layer can reach the surface and melt the ice.”

???I think i was taught in physics,that ‘heat rises ‘naturally hot air ,hot gases hot air balloons,hot liquids .fluids .due to becoming less dense,so what are the ‘ differentc onditions ‘ here ??

John Harmsworth

Water is a bit peculiar in that respect. Plus salinity is a factor.

Gary Kerkin

In a liquid medium heat (energy) can be transferred by two mechanisms (only)—convection and conduction. As in the atmosphere, temperature inversions can occur and convection is blocked leaving only conduction from the warmer layer into the colder layer above it. The transfer rate by convection can be much, much higher than by conduction.
There is one statement which intrigues (confuses?) me. Dr Mojib Latif is quoted as saying:

A very cold but relatively fresh water layer covers a much warmer and saltier water mass, thus acting as an insulating layer

. What does “much warmer” mean in this context? “Warmer” I would take as meaning fractions of a degree to degrees. “Much warmer” I would think of as tens of degrees. In the former case little transfer is likely to occur because the temperature driving force (Twarm – Tcold) is small. In the latter case the temperature driving force is larger and I would have thought that the temperature inversion would not last for very long. Is this just another example of hyperbole?


Water is at its most dense at 4c, meaning that (unlike the atmosphere) convection works in reverse as water cools down from 4c to 0c – it becomes less dense and rises above the warmer water. And, of course, it becomes even less dense as it phase changes from liquid to solid (water to ice) and the colder ice floats on top of the warmer water. As far as I know, water is unique in this respect.

My understanding is that only applies to fresh water. Once water is salty the colder water sinks. But salty water will stratify below fresher water. Therefore one can have a “lens” of colder fresher water above warmer, saltier water.
My understanding is that the water on top is not truly fresh, but rather less-salty. Call it “brackish”. If it was truly fresh then it couldn’t exude salt when freezing. The exuded “brine” is super cool, and sinks.
So now we have three. Brackish and cold at the surface, saltier and warmer down a ways, and super-cold brine sinking to the depths. Complicated enough?
Now add in the fact that both the temperature and the salt is to some degree transferred between the levels. What fun to model all this!
Add in the fact that summer melting adds to the supply of brackish, and winter cold adds to the supply of brine, and you have a two-stroke oscillation.
But what no one seems to explain is this abrupt up-welling of milder water. How is it engineered?

So it looks like they predicted that a) is would never return; and b) that it would return eventually. So now that they predicted both, they are proud to announce that the observation confirms their prediction.


Looks to me like the climate change model predicted “never again,” while the Kiel model predicted “sooner or later it will come again, because natural variability.” Two different competing models.

” many data series are too short to evaluate the simulated climate variability with periods of several decades. We therefore also compare the models with each other”
Really? REALLY???
What is wrong with saying: “We just do not know”?!


“What is wrong with saying: “We just do not know”?!”
Try to get funding with that kind of thinking…

Willy Pete

Despite the polynya, Antarctic sea ice extant has grown for the past four days. Whether it will keep doing so and surpass its September high remains to be seen.

Willy Pete


Willy Pete

Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice is freezing up more rapidly than it did in 2008, the year with minimum extent closest to 2017.


NASA’s ( site has quite a balanced and thought provoking article on this. This polynya has been around again recently – apparently opening in 2016 too. It was first noticed several years running in the mid-1970s.
One of the academics quoted wonders whether there is a 40 “cycle” to the polynya appearing. It’s a fair question and whether it is a cyclical or quasi-cyclical phenomenon (and what might drive the cycle) warrants further investigation.
Whatever is causing it, there is one thing for certain – a bucket load of “heat” will be exiting through that hole. That is going to cool the world’s oceans if the polynya makes regular, annual appearances for any length of time.
Isn’t it curious that the last time it appeared, the “meme de jour” was THE ICE IS COMETH AND WE’LL ALL DIE!!!! (unless we do something about it….)

I Came I Saw I Left

Where’s the newly discovered southern rim of the ring of fire in relation to that area?

Willy Pete

The Antarctic Peninsula lies to the west of the Weddell Sea. The volcanoes are on the Pacific side of the peninsula and adjacent areas.

Willy Pete

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I Came I Saw I Left

They’ve known those are there for a while, haven’t they? I was under the impression that something like 91 new volcanoes have recently been discovered, completing the ring of fire.

Willy Pete

Except for a couple on the east (Weddell Sea) side of the Peninsula, the 91 newly discovered ones are all on the Pacific side, or the western Southern Ocean, if you prefer.


Thats what I mentioned above but still don’t know where the hole is relative to any volcanic activity.

Willy Pete

In terms of known volcanoes, it’s pretty far to the east. The polynya is in the middle of the Weddell Sea. The closest known volcanoes are on the Antarctic Peninsula. They’re not currently erupting. There is however volcanic activity on the other side of the Peninsula and farther along the coast of the mainland, off the Bellingshausen and Amundsen Seas.

Willy Pete

Also on the Ross and Somov Seas.

I Came I Saw I Left

This exchange has made me realize that I have tended to unconsciously view a top-down map of Antarctica through a western (as opposed to a Pacific hemisphere), non-polar hemisphere bias (ie, west = left, east = right). .From a polar hemisphere perspective (as in the image above), all shorelines face north.

Willy Pete

I Came,
That’s a common problem. I’ve had students ask me how there could be a West and East Antarctica. However, the continent very much has a Pacific side and an Atlantic-Indian Ocean side. That they meet complicates things, which is why some oceanographers prefer to think in terms of the Southern Ocean.

Willy Pete

To further complicate matters, the Prime Meridian/International Date Line runs through the Princess Martha Coast of Queen Maud Land and the Ross Sea, plus the South Pole, of course.comment image

michael hart

and Greenwich 🙂

J Mac


I Came I Saw I Left

I don’t know if this is accurate, or not. I thought that these had been known to exist before the recent announcement of the discovery of new volcanoes .

Willy Pete

That’s a map of the areas of the newly found 91 volcanoes, not those already known to exist.

Willy Pete

Which, to complete the Ring of Fire, is where they would have to be, since it rings the Pacific.


“…polynyas occur regularly, but typically in coastal regions. They play an important role in the formation of new sea ice and deep water.”
How do polynyas play an important role in the formation of deep water? That has me scratching my head. Is “and” supposed to be “in”?

Willy Pete

Yes, IMO.

Louis, Polynya are sea ice factories. As sea ice forms, dense cold brine is ejected, sinking to the sea floor. That cold brine forms the most dense sea water possible, assuming no major differences in salinity, thus “seeks” the lowest point. Depending on topography that dense brine sinks and creates bottom water.

Gary in Calgary

Google Earth has the Maude Seamount in close proximity to the hole. Gee do you think those are volcanoes?

Willy Pete

IMO the Maude Seamount lies too far east. The Rosenthal is closer, but its top is deep.

Gary in Calgary

The Rosenthal seamount is not in the same location as the red circled area on the map in the article. You might check that again. I am fairly certain that the Maud seamount is closer. There are many volcanoes in this region which may be suggesting a region of high heat flow in the earths crust.

Willy Pete

The Maud Seamount is off Queen Maud Land, hence, east of the Weddell Sea, as its coordinates also show.
But you might be right. I don’t have precise coordinates for the Rosenthal SM.

Ken L in Kelowna

Polynya have been commonly reported by natives in the Arctic regions for centuries and utilized as productive fishing and seal hunting locations.
This Antarctic Polynya disappeared roughly forty years ago, shortly before a slight global temperature increase began. It’s re-appearance may suggest a new general cooling period has begun.
Mankind’s records do not have enough history to know for sure, but I suggest this is not the work of the old demon Global Warming, or the softer and more encompassing Climate Change.
I think what we are about to see is a general cooling trend, which could be referred to as Climate Cycling.

jim heath

I hope someone has checked for a volcano? If you think that’s a dumb question remember I’m in good company.

donald penman

If the open water in the arctic ocean is causing cooling why is the arctic sea ice on the Norwegian European side of the Arctic growing faster than the arctic sea ice on the Alaskan Canadian side when it has melted more this summer on the latter side of the Arctic, an obvious reason would be that the sea surface temperatures on the former side of the arctic are still colder.

Donal Penman
Restate the premis of your question please. I cannot determine what you are asking, nor what conclusion you are challenging.


i would say the greater expanse of open water that side is subject to more ice growth inhibiting wave action this early in the freeze season . in a couple of weeks even the wind will struggle to stop it forming.

The Laptev Sea has a “lens” of fresher water, due to the amazing Lena River floods. The Lena River is the world’s tenth largest, and rises roughly sixty feet in August floods. The brackish water an top of the Laptev Sea refreezes at a higher temperature.
But this year the Siberian snow-cover is early, so the cold land-breeze pouring out to sea will be earlier as well. That needs to be factored in as well.

Gerry, England

“The better we understand these natural processes, the better we can identify the anthropogenic impact on the climate system”, resumes Professor Latif.
Well in my opinion you don’t often hear those words. Actually saying that there is a lack of understanding of the natural processes.

The center of the polyna is 65 south latitude. At today’s date (Julian DOY = 275, 3 Oct) solar radiation at the top of atmosphere = 1359 watts/m^2, Antarctic sea ice albedo = 0.81, atmosphere clarity = 0.75
At today’s date, at -65 latitude, approximately 2330 watt-hrs of solar radiation are delivered to the a flat 1 meter x 1 meter surface over a 24 hour day.
Of that radiation, if antarctic sea ice is present at the average albedo of October sea ice down there, 443 watt-hours will be absorbed, and 1886 watt-hours will be reflected.
If open ocean water is present instead of sea ice (which – of course, is the definition of polyna!) then 2104 watt-hours will be absorbed, and 225 watt-hours will be reflected. (Assumes low waves, low winds. There is little difference if winds are present however.) This calculation calculates the solar elevation angle of the sun at each hour of the day, uses the water albedo at that SEA, then adds up the individual hour’s energy absorbed (or reflected).
So, over a 24 hour day at -65 latitude on Oct 3, “only” 1661 “extra” watt-hours would be absorbed into the polyna waters if the Antarctic sea ice melts. 69 watts extra energy into the exposed ocean water each hour.
However, Judith Curry found that open Arctic waters LOSE more than 3000 watts per day due to extra evaporation, increased long wave radiation from the warm ocean water into the atmosphere, increased convection losses, and reduced conduction. Notice the “fog” over the polyna? That’s the water losing heat and evaporating.
No evaporation losses (only sublimation) if sea ice is present.
The surface of the ice is losing heat from a surface at -20 deg C (253 deg K), not 2 to 4 degree C (277 deg K).
The surface of the ice losing heat to the air is -18 to -20 degrees. If open water is present, the water is convecting heat away based on a 2 to 4 degree water surface.
If winds are present (and this photo shows calm water), convection losses are even higher!
Thus, at this time of year, at that latitude of this particular polyna, the Antarctic Ocean is losing more heat than is gained by the “dark” exposed waters under the sea ice.
Up north, where the sun is substantially lower in the Arctic sky between mid August and late March, even MORE heat is being lost from the open water. And every subsequent day of “lost sea ice” during these months means even more heat loss.
Change the day of year? Change the latitude of the open water?
Well, you will get a different answer.


Pretty sure this proves beyond the slightest doubt, MY theory of a large UFO being under the water in EXACTLY that spot and she’s getting ready to take off! Mystery solved. You’re welcome.


Whale farts.

michael hart

US-American scientists have calculated that the Weddell Polynya would probably not occur again because of climate change. Higher precipitation levels in the region and melting ice would decouple the surface from the deeper water layers.

It’s not clear to me whether they were predicting that the ice would disappear, or that the hole in the ice would disappear, it being difficult to have a hole without a doughnut. Either way, I hope somebody has got a list of names of these scientists because they are sure to be back later, making more climate predictions that also turn out to be wrong.
Presumably they will once again compensate for lack of data by comparing one failed model with another failed model. By the magic of climate science this will lead them to a different answer that they believe to somehow be more correct.


I’m 55 years old and not nearly as smart as the people doing these studies. But i can’t help wonder. I don’t know how old the earth is without googling it. How can do we know what normal weather patterns are? We always say this is a hotter or colder winter or summer compared to normal. This makes me laugh. We have been keeping accurate climate change and weather conditions for 100 years or so? And the earth is how old? How do we know that this isn’t normal?


“…Unfortunately, many data series are too short to evaluate the simulated climate variability with periods of several decades. We therefore also compare the models with each other,”
Wow. So to replace “several decades of data”-which for “climate scientists” appear enough – they compare models…


Didn’t you used to do the weather on KHSL TV in Chico, CA?

Willy Pete

Antarctic sea ice is still growing. Dunno whether it will exceed its September high or not.


Never mind the natural awakening of volcanoes worldwide due to the contributing factors predicted with the declining TSI. Never mind the massive caldera of recently active volcanoes under the polynya. It has to be what we at Agenda 21 central have identified as human consumption derived CO2, i.e., human caused climate change. Just read our reports and never question our minion science conglomerate. 97% of all know alien life forms agree that YOUR incessant need to consume is melting that patch of ice! Step in line deniers.

Thank goodness it was previously observed…imagine the headlines if not.