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The uncertainty of science: Despite numerous climate model predictions during the past two decades predicting that the ice cap in Antarctica will shrink because a global warming, recent data shows its ice cap to have grown to record size.
Climate models predicted Antarctic sea ice would shrink as a result of global warming, but the opposite happened. Antarctic sea ice actually increased in the last two decades. Chinese scientists compared climate model sea ice predictions to actual observations from 1979 to 2005 and found “the main problem of the [climate] models is their inability to reproduce the observed slight increase of sea ice extent.” As it turns out, natural variability plays a big role here as well. “Sea ice extent is strongly influenced by the winds and these have increased from the south over the Ross Sea, contributing to a small increase in total Antarctic sea ice since the late 1970s,” Turner said. “The increase in ice seems to be within the bounds of natural variability.”
Had Chinese researchers gone beyond 2005, they would have found more than just a slight increase. 2014 was the first year on record that Antarctic sea ice coverage rose above 7.72 million square miles. By Sept. 22, 2014, sea ice extent reached its highest level on record — 7.76 million square miles.
The data overall suggests that all the fluctuations seen so far Antarctica appear to be entirely attributable to natural variation, not climate change.