What’s Going On Here?
Data from NASA, NOAA and the National Snow & Ice Data Center has confirmed that 2017 has set a new record for the lack of winter ice in both the Artic and Antartic.
What Does This Mean?
Since 1979, satellites have continuously been measuring the levels of sea ice at both the Artic and Antarctic. The image below shows the effects that climate change is having on polar sea ice at both poles.
During the winter months, the ice caps grow and usually reach their maximum around March. However, thin ice and warm weather have further plundered the Artic sea ice reserves. The annual thaw and freeze of sea ice in the polar regions drives ocean circulation, regulates climate and is the beating heart of our planet.
Why Should I Care?
The dramatic melting of the ice in the Artic is already causing extreme weather across the Northern Hemisphere. Climate regulating phenomenon such as the jet-stream, which forms a boundary between the cold north and warmer south.
Arctic warming narrows the temperature difference, slowing the speed of the jet stream, which would result in a loopy boundary, rather than a strict north-south divide. Initiatives, such as Earth Hour are a good thing, but putting your hands up and saying you want to help is only the beginning.
“I have been looking at Artic weather patterns for 35 years and have never seen anything close to what we’ve experienced these past few years” – Mark Serreze, Director NSIDC
The BIGGER Picture
The world is in unchartered territory. The UN’s World Meteorological Organisation warned last week that the record-breaking weather that made 2016 the hottest year on record, has indeed continued into 2017. It is yet more evidence that the world needs to unite against what will undoubtedly be humanities biggest challenge in thousands of years.
World leaders, such as Donald Trump, need to open their eyes to the incredible stacks of data and evidence that climate change is already happening and starting to slip down the slope.