Scientists were shocked by what they found while pouring over accounts by famous South Pole explorers from about a century ago — findings that could change the way experts think about Antarctica and global warming.
Researchers found that Antarctic sea ice extent has barely changed since Ernest Shackleton’s botched expedition to map out the South Pole in 1917.
Using logs compiled by Shackleton, in addition to data from other noteworthy Antarctic forays during the early 20th Century, Antarctic sea ice conditions in Shackleton’s day mirrored those of today.
Lead researcher Dr. Jonathan Day and his team were the first to calculate Antarctic sea ice conditions prior to the 1930s. Day estimates sea ice extent ranged from 3.3 and 4.3 million square miles and continued to grow into the 1950s.
Scientists have only really looked at Antarctic sea ice levels from the 1950s onward, which shows a relative decline in sea ice. But Day’s study shows current Antarctic sea ice “is just 14 per cent smaller than at the highest point of the 1900s and 12 per cent bigger than than than the lowest point.”
Why is that significant? It means Antarctic sea ice has fluctuated throughout the 20th Century due to natural climatic shifts, and not man-made warming.
(Extract from article at The Daily Caller)