The Denver Post - - NATION & WORLD -

We al­ready knew there was some­thing pretty odd about Novem­ber in the Arc­tic. And in the Antarctic. At both poles, much of the float­ing sea ice that usu­ally cov­ers the chill­ing ocean wa­ters was just ... miss­ing.

Now, the Na­tional Snow and Ice Data Cen­ter has of­fi­cially crunched the num­bers, which now af­firm that the Arc­tic and the Antarctic were push­ing new bound­aries for low sea ice.

Antarctic sea ice in Novem­ber — the be­gin­ning of aus­tral sum­mer — had ac­tu­ally been tick­ing up­ward slightly in re­cent years. But in 2016, it has to­tally fallen off a cliff.

The chart for the Arc­tic in Novem­ber isn’t quite so dra­matic, in large part be­cause this re­gion is al­ready see­ing a ma­jor sea-ice down­trend tied to global warm­ing — but it’s still pretty dra­matic.

More­over, it isn’t just about the ex­tent of sea ice — it’s the thick­ness of it. Its vol­ume. That also ap­pears to be at an ex­treme low, at least in the Arc­tic. Ac­cord­ing to PIOMAS satel­lite data, the Novem­ber Arc­tic sea-ice vol­ume was the low­est on record.

Joe Rae­dle, Getty Im­ages

An ice­berg floats through the wa­ter in Ilulis­sat, Green­land, in 2013.

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