On September 10, 2016 the Arctic sea ice reached it’s annual lowest extent according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Satellites have been monitoring the sea ice since 1978 and every year have noted a reduction in it’s mass. An analysis of the data reveals the minimum extent for 2016 to be 4.14 million sq kilometres which ties the minimum for 2007.
The sea ice cover and the surrounding area helps regulate the planet’s temperature, influences circulation of the atmosphere and ocean, and impacts Arctic communities and ecosystems. The ice cover grows in winter and shrinks in the summer.
This years melt was marked by the pace changing a few times due to atmospheric pressure, storms, and cloud cover. once upon a time there was more old sea ice that was less affected by weather factors…but now the ice is more jumbled up. Decades ago the melt period would end as the sun starts setting in mid August. Now late summer weather systems can extend the melt. There has not been a record high in sea ice seen since 1986, but during that time there have been 75 monthly lows.
The record shows that it is not just in September that we are loosing sea ice, the ice is not rebounding to where it once was even in winter.