Even though an old video says Antarctic ice is melting, sea ice has reached a new low.
Even though an old video says Antarctic ice is melting, sea ice has reached a new low.© Images AGN

Antarctic sea ice is at a new high, and the ice sheet isn’t melting.

Fact check: Despite claims in an old movie, Antarctic ice is melting and sea ice has reached a record low
Fact check: Despite claims in an old movie, Antarctic ice is melting and sea ice has reached a record low

In a clip from the 2016 movie “Climate Hustle” that was posted on Instagram on April 15, two people who don’t believe that humans are causing climate change talk about Antarctic ice.

Don Easterbrook, a professor retired at Western Washington University, said, “I have to laugh, and please forgive me for laughing, because the Antarctic ice cap is not melting.” “There, the average annual temperature is 58 degrees below zero, so nothing is melting.”

Judith Curry, a former professor at Georgia Institute of Technology, says that Antarctic sea ice extent, which is the amount of water covered by sea ice, is reaching new records.

The video’s description says that Curry and Easterbrook are “laughing about the #GlobalWarming story that Antarctic ice is melting, when in fact the opposite is happening.”

In less than two weeks, more than 40,000 people liked the post.

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Our rating: False

NASA says that the ice sheet in Antarctica is melting. The amount of sea ice in Antarctica recently hit a record low, but there is no statistically significant trend for it to go up or down.

Melting of the Antarctic ice sheet

NASA says that since 2002, the Antarctic ice sheet, which covers the top of the continent, has lost an average of 150 billion metric tons of ice per year.

Antarctica’s high-elevation core has an average daily temperature of around minus 58 degrees Celsius (minus 72 degrees Fahrenheit) all year long. Other parts of the continent, however, have different temperature patterns. Catherine Walker, a glaciologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, told USA TODAY in the past that most of the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is happening on the warmer coasts.

“No one has said that the interior of the ice sheet is melting significantly right now,” she said. “The ice along the coast is melting because it is at sea level, where summer temperatures often get above the melting point of ice. And it’s touching the ocean, which is obviously warmer than the point at which ice melts.

Also, Walker said that even if the average temperature in a place is below freezing, it can still melt on days when the temperature goes above freezing.

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Antarctic sea ice hit an all-time low.

NASA says that in February, Antarctic sea ice, which floats on the ocean around the continent, hit its lowest extent ever recorded instead of setting a record high. This record was set before in 2022.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center says that January had the least amount of sea ice ever recorded for that month. In March, the area was the second-smallest it has ever been for that month.

The live sea ice tool from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows that sea ice extent has also been well below the 1981–2010 average all through April. In 2014, Antarctic sea ice reached a record high.

“Overall, the size of the Antarctic sea ice grew from 1979 to 2014,” Claire Parkinson, a NASA climate scientist, told USA TODAY in an email. “But over the next three years, it shrank quickly, which basically canceled out all the growth over the previous 35 years.” “Then it went up a little bit, but then it went down again, and this year it hit a new record low.”

It’s still not clear if the latest lows are part of a bigger pattern.

In a NASA press release, Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said, “There is some talk about the Antarctic sea ice going through a regime shift since 2016 toward a generally lower extent, and that this could be a response to global warming.” “But it’s hard to tell right now if it’s a real change and a response to warming or just a temporary change over a number of years.”

When asked for a comment, the Instagram user who shared the post did not answer right away.

PolitiFact also said that the video was not true.

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Our fact-check sources:

Claire Parkinson, email conversation with USA TODAY on April 27;

Catherine Walker, email conversation with USA TODAY on November 1, 2022;

• National Snow and Ice Data Center, viewed on April 27. Charctic sea ice graph that you can play with

• The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on February 27 that Antarctic sea ice again reached a record low area.

• National Snow and Ice Data Center, December 2, 2014, Very normal

• NASA findings on the Antarctic ice sheet are consistent with global warming.

• USA TODAY, November 2, 2022, Fact check: Antarctica is already losing ice, and it doesn’t need to get 100 degrees warmer for that to happen.

• NASA’s Vital Signs of the Planet, April 27, Ice sheets.

• NASA: Antarctic sea ice hits another record low on February 21.

We’re glad you like our work. Here, you can sign up for our print version, our ad-free app, or an electronic copy of our newspaper.

A gift from Facebook helps pay for some of the work we do to check facts. This story was first published on USA TODAY: The truth: Even though an old video said the Antarctic ice was melting, the sea ice reached a new low.

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