With Antarctica's sea ice setting a record this week, reaching 815,448 square miles (1,312,000 square km) of ice above its normal range, scientists have now claimed that global warming, long blamed for the "irreversible retreat" of west Antarctic glaciers, is in fact the reason behind a paradoxical growth in South Pole sea ice.
The reason for this abnormal behavior of melting and freezing of ice has been explained by scientists as being caused by water melting from beneath the Antarctic ice shelves and re-freezing back on the surface.
But, even as this occurrence is observed, a Nasa scientist Walt Meier has commented that the growing Antarctic sea ice coverage is less significant a measure than declining Arctic sea ice coverage when assessing climate change.
A team from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute had earlier found that the fresh water melting from the Antarctic ice sheets had a relatively low density compared to the denser salty seawater. This means that the water accumulates and freezes in the top layer of the ocean during the summer months.
However, the Dutch report found that despite the increase in surface ice expansion each winter, the total mass of ice around Antarctica is shrinking because of the underwater ice melt.