“Studies indicate that while the Arctic has suffered what scientists consider to be alarming rates of ice loss in recent years, the Antarctic ice shelf has remained relatively stable despite having have lost ice in recent decades”. But new research could explain this paradox. According to findings reported in the journal Nature Geoscience, increased melting during the summer results in large amounts of fresh water floating along the Antarctic continent. This water refreezes as soon as temperatures reach 0°C (32°F) and this is when the ice reaches its maximum extent. However, the ice melts away once again as the summer returns.
To try and further understand this phenomenon, scientists in Antarctica are collecting ice core samples that could be up to 150,000 years old. These samples could give an indication of how long it will take for regions of Antarctica (like the Ross Ice Shelf) to melt under current and projected climate conditions.