Animals & Wildlife Magazine

From Pole to Pole, Global Sea Ice Values Are Plummeting

By Garry Rogers @Garry_Rogers

GR:  We are already failing to respond appropriately to this national disaster. Trump and friends will try to further dampen our response.

“During the record hot year of 2016, both Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents took a huge hit.

“Extreme warmth in the Arctic helped to produce leading losses there. Values that began during January at 1 million square kilometers below average have steadily declined as the months progressed to near 2 million square kilometers below average. Meanwhile, the Antarctic — which began the year at near average sea ice extent values — saw significant losses as the region grew anomalously warm during austral spring. Today, sea ice extent values surrounding the Antarctic are now also just shy of 2 million square kilometers below average.

From Pole to Pole, Global Sea Ice Values are Plummeting

“As you can see, global sea ice extent during the hottest year on record has steadily plummeted to near 4 million square kilometers below average as the months progressed. Image source: Zack Labe’s Sea Ice Figures. Data source: NSIDC.

“In total, global sea ice coverage is now about 3,865,000 square kilometers below average.

“If you think that number sounds really big, it’s because it is. It represents a region of lost ice nearly 40 percent the size of the land and water area of the entire United States including Alaska and Hawaii. To visualize it another way, imagine all of the land area of Alaska, California, Texas, Montana, Arizona and New Mexico combined and you begin to get the gist.

Sea Ice Coverage — An Important, But Complex Climate Indicator

“Many climate specialists have viewed sea ice as a kind of climate change canary in the coal mine. Sea ice sits upon the warming oceans and beneath a warming atmosphere. And these oceans are now taking up the majority of the heat being trapped in the atmosphere by fossil fuel emissions. Warming ocean surfaces have a higher specific heat value than the air and this greater overall energy capacity in warming regions generates a substantial blow to ice coverage even if the initial water surface temperature swing is only moderate.”–Robert Scribbler (read more:  From Pole to Pole, Global Sea Ice Values are Plummeting | robertscribbler

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