- Sea ice minimum has fallen below 4m sq km for the second time in 40 years as the climate crisis rapidly transforms the region
Rising temperatures in the Arctic shrank the ice covering the polar ocean this year to its second-lowest extent in four decades, scientists have announced, in yet another sign of how the climate crisis is rapidly transforming the region.
Satellites recorded this year’s sea ice minimum at 3.74m sq km on 15 September, only the second time the ice has been measured below 4m sq km in 40 years of record keeping, said researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
“It’s fairly devastating that we’ve had such consistently low sea ice. But unfortunately, it’s not surprising,” said Twila Moon, a glaciologist at the research center in Boulder, Colorado.
The record low of 3.41m sq km, reached in 2012 after a late-season cyclonic storm broke up the remaining ice, is not much below what researchers see today.