After a record-breaking 2015 – declared the hottest year on record – it’s no surprise that 2016 began on the same wave.
January 2016 was the hottest month in the Arctic’s recorded history, and the region’s sea ice has taken the largest loss, reaching a record low for the month of February.
Recent reports from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) note that the Arctic is missing a mass of sea ice that’s 1,160,000 square kilometres -- more than half the size of the Prairies. The missing sea ice was calculated in comparison to the 1981-2010 long-term average.
VIDEO CREDIT: NOAA
Time lapse of the relative age of Arctic sea ice from week to week since 1990. The oldest ice (9 or more years old) is white. Seasonal ice is darkest blue. Old ice drifts out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait (east of Greenland), but in recent years, it has also been melting as it drifts into the southernmost waters of the Beaufort Sea (north of western Canada and Alaska). Video produced by the Climate.gov team, based on data provided by Mark Tschudi, University of Colorado-Boulder.