2016 Arctic Melt (in 9 seconds)

September 16, 2016


Arctic sea ice is one of the grandaddy’s of climate indicators. And this grandaddy isn’t doing so good these days.

This year’s sea ice extent has bottomed out as the second lowest on record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center. It continues a troubling trend as rapidly warming air and water eats away at the briny, frozen mantle on the top of the planet.

This year has been exceptional by many standards. March saw the lowest sea ice maximum ever recorded followed by a string of record low months. The Northwest Passage opened up, allowing a luxury cruise ship to travel from Anchorage to New York. And a freak storm in August turned ice thin and brittle near the North Pole.

Satellites show the last seven months of sea ice and reveal its steep decline this year. The late August breakup is particularly notable. Grist’s Amelia Urry compared the texture of sea ice near the North Pole to curdled milk or an exploded pillow (I’d go with broken glass personally, but to each their own).


4 Responses to “2016 Arctic Melt (in 9 seconds)”

  1. redskylite Says:

    As the short video shows, undeniably, the Arctic summer sea ice is in a very precarious state. Slowly but surely fading away, to change the region’s summer albedo and trap yet more heat from the sun. I just hope that attempts at geoengineering will not be attempted. We already have the tools to do this without resorting to even possible worse outcomes.

    We just need the will (and maybe a bit more exposure on mainstream media, to galvanize the masses into caring).

    ”Rubble” near the North Pole

    “In that broader view, Arctic sea ice is in terrible shape. The amount of multiyear ice–especially sections that survive for five or more years, serving as a bulwark against year-to-year ice loss–has dropped precipitously in the last 10 years. Huge swaths of ice that “survived” the summer of 2016 in terms of extent were actually riddled with gaping cracks and gaps. Figure 2 above shows the pockmarked state of this year’s early-September ice as compared with the previous four years. The eastern Arctic (top part of images) was especially ravaged, as shown more closely in Figure 3 above. Ice described by some observers as “rubble” extended to the vicinity of the North Pole, and a large expanse of open water could be seen behind the Swedish icebreaker Oden as it was moored to an ice floe within two miles of the North Pole on August 28. Areas of open water do occur at times near the North Pole, but the vast expanse of compromised high-latitude ice this year is stunning.”


  2. miffedmax Says:

    What? I heard the satellite was “broke.”

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