As is usually the case, "It's the Sun, stupid." Solar energy explains fast yearly retreat of Antarctica’s sea ice Charles Rotter Unlike other aspects of its behavior, Antarctic sea ice is just following simple rules of physics. Peer-Reviewed Publication UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON IMAGE: A RESEARCH VESSEL IN ANTARCTICA ON JUNE 3, 2017, THE FIRST DAY RESEARCHERS SAW THE SUN RISE ABOVE THE HORIZON AFTER WEEKS OF POLAR DARKNESS. NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT SOLAR RADIATION DRIVES THE RELATIVELY FAST ANNUAL RETREAT OF SEA ICE AROUND ANTARCTICA AT THE END OF EACH CALENDAR YEAR. view more CREDIT: BEN ADKISON In the Southern Hemisphere, the ice cover around Antarctica gradually expands from March to October each year. During this time the total ice area increases by 6 times to become larger than Russia. The sea ice then retreats at a faster pace, most dramatically around December, when Antarctica experiences constant daylight. New research led by the University of Washington explains why the ice retreats so quickly: Unlike other aspects of its behavior, Antarctic sea ice is just following simple rules of physics. The study was published March 28 in Nature Geoscience. . . .