Sea ice and climate change

Dr Mike Williams, physical oceanographer at NIWA, explains the importance of Antarctic sea ice in the Earth's ocean and climate systems and how they may be affected by climate change.

Antarctic sea ice acts like a big reflective blanket, reflecting the sun's rays back into space. It also influences the formation of deep cold currents that have a major influence on the Earth's ocean circulation and climate systems. Predicted reductions in the extent and volume of Antarctic sea ice after 2080 could have profound effects on these systems through complex feedback mechanisms.