Image: Jeff Schmaltz/LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response/Jesse Allen/NASA. A hole as large as Lake Superior or the state of Maine has opened up in Antarctica, and scientists aren’t sure why it’s there.
The gigantic, mysterious hole “Is quite remarkable,” atmospheric physicist Kent Moore, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus, told me over the phone.
They form in coastal regions of Antarctica, Moore told me. Scientists’ observation tools weren’t nearly as good, so that hole remained largely unstudied. “This is now the second year in a row it’s opened after 40 years of not being there,” Moore said. It’s tempting to blame this strange hole on climate change, which is reshaping so much of the world, including Antarctica.
Antarctica is undergoing massive changes right now, and figuring out why a gaping hole could suddenly open up will be key to understanding larger systems at play.