Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Unrelenting Global Warming Sends Sea Ice to Record Low, as Scientists Feel Heat, Too

Sea ice in the Arctic fell to a record winter low in December, with the Antarctic ice shrinking as well. (Credit: Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
Unrelenting warmth during what should be the iciest time of year sent global sea ice extent to a record low last month, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Friday, with both polar ice caps at a record-low extent every single day of the month.

Compared to the average from 1981 to 2010, the area of ice missing in the Arctic was about the size of Texas and Arizona combined; in the Antarctic, it was bigger than Alaska, according to the NSIDC.

Temperatures in the Arctic were about 9 degrees Fahrenheit above average throughout November and December, with peak readings soaring to 50 degrees above the long-term average around Christmas, when the North Pole warmed above freezing, a mark rarely seen outside of summer.

"Some of the crazy weather patterns we've seen this winter could be, in part, due to the loss of sea ice," said NSIDC director Mark Serreze.  "We've had very unusual weather patterns pumping warmth up into the Arctic...the changes are happening so fast that we can't keep up with them."

Scientists measuring sea ice in a three-year run of record global heat feel the urgency of the data they are capturing, while the political climate around them changes even faster.

Read more at Unrelenting Global Warming Sends Sea Ice to Record Low, as Scientists Feel Heat, Too

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