Expanding Antarctic sea ice caused by ‘natural climate fluctuations,’ study finds

antarcticaThe expanding Antarctic sea ice, which has long confounded the climate change movement, can be explained in large part by “natural climate fluctuations,” according to a new study.

The research led by the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that the negative phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation (IPO), which produces cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, “has created favorable conditions for additional Antarctic sea ice growth since 2000.”

“The climate we experience during any given decade is some combination of naturally occurring variability and the planet’s response to increasing greenhouse gases,” Gerald Meehl, a scientist for the research center, said Monday in a statement. “It’s never all one or the other, but the combination, that is important to understand.”

The growth of sea ice at Antarctica has been a bone of contention within the man-made global warming debate since the continent began adding ice in 2000.

As the climate change publication InsideClimate News put it: “That paradox has puzzled scientists for years and given climate-change deniers fodder to dispute global warming.”

One prominent “denier,” the Cato Institute’s Chip Knappenberger, said Tuesday the results should “come as a surprise to no one that natural variability is playing a strong role in Antarctic sea ice extent trends (i.e., recent growth).”

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