Arctic Ice

Click images to see current values.
For more information, go to Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis.

The images below indicate summer Arctic ice volume each September, from the present back to 2005. Red is the thickest; purple represents thin ice, one meter or less. The Arctic experienced a record minimum ice cover in September of 2012, in both extent and volume, beating the previous record of 2007. Apparently that record still stands in 2019. More images like this and current animations are available at Polar Portal.

2019 is on track to be the one of warmest years in history, globally, and the ice extent shows the result of continued warming. Notice in the images how small the areas of thicker ice are in 2019, compared to previous years. It seems that smoke from the wide-spread fires in Siberia dimmed sunlight reaching the ice cover enough to slow the ice melt significantly.

In any case, it still seems likely that we will see Septembers begin to be essentially ice-free in  in the next decade. There is a nasty positive feedback: when there is less ice covering the water, there is more open sea to retain heat from sunlight. That melts more ice, warming the water further. By the end of the century, the Arctic Ocean may well be nearly ice-free year-round, which will cause much more serious disruptions in weather patterns than we are already experiencing. We are beginning to take steps to reduce CO2 emissions, but we need to take stronger action if we want to keep living on this planet.

September 2019
September 2018
September 2017
September 2016
September 2015
September 2014
September 2013
September 2012
September 2011
September 2010
September 2009
September 2008
September 2007
September 2006
September 2005

Title image credit: Carbon Brief.

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