Antarctica Has An Open Hole The Size of Maine, Scientists Are Still Figuring Out What It Is

After decades, another hole has been observed in Antarctica. It was reported that this hole, known as polynya, last appeared in the 1970s.

The hole has been discovered by scientists from University of Toronto and the Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling (SOCCOM) project. The team noted that there was a similar hole that opened up last year, but it was not as big as the new one they found, according to National Geographic.

Polynya is an area of open water surrounded by sea ice. Over the past decades, polynyas have been located around the Antarctic region, but they were mostly seen near shores. This will be the first time a massive polynya would appear 30,000 miles away.

This is now considered to be the biggest polynya of the millennia.

“In the depths of winter, for more than a month, we’ve had this area of open water. It’s just remarkable that this polynya went away for 40 years and then came back,” says Kent Moore, professor of physics at the University of Toronto.

Though it is a rare occurrence, it is heeded to be a warning since Antarctica is the best reflection of the current state of the world’s climate.

So far, the scientists researching the project are still not aware of how and why this polynya appeared. They said that it should take warm swelling of the sea water for the hole to appear. The team used robotic floats that glide throughout the ocean water and were surprised to find them at the polynya

However, if the polynya is as big as this, there are speculations that there’s a connection with climate change. So far, there are no definitive relations to that cause.

Scientists are planning to continue studying the polynya by using a robotic submersible underwater, according to Forbes.

It is said that this depth would be incredibly challenging for humans. Hopefully, the satellite imagery used by the submersibles can shed light on the mystery.

NASA's Operation IceBridge Maps Changes To Antartica's Ice Mass

“We don’t really understand the long-term impacts this polynya will have,” Moore noted.

More questions will be answered once the team of researchers are able to unravel the strange phenomenon.