FROM POLE TO POLE, SEA-ICE LEVELS LOW
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.
An iceberg floats through the water in Ilulissat, Greenland, in 2013.