2016 Arctic Melt (in 9 seconds)
September 16, 2016
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).