Global warming deniers, this one is for you!
According to the latest scientific statistics, sea ice at the coast of Antarctica and the Arctic hit an all-time low in November. And now, the scientists are reporting that up till December 4, the area has lost a cumulative of over 3.76 million square kilometers of ice, which roughly amounts to the total area of India.
This is in direct collaboration with the fact that in the last month, temperatures of the Arctic region rose over 20 degrees Celsius (36°F) above the mean, and even before the year ends, 2016 is well on track to be the hottest year ever.
Mark Serreze, director of the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) commented on the issue,
“There are some really crazy things going on”
Anders Levermann from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany also added,
“It’s an extraordinary departure from the norm,”
Serreze and his team released a report stating that the month of November 2016, saw Arctic sea ice to average a record low of 9.08 million square kilometers (3.51 million square miles).
The magnitude of the anomaly can be judged from the fact that this is 800,000 square kilometers (309,000 square miles) short of what it was in November 2006, which was the previous record for the lowest sea ice levels in November.
The average of sea ice extent between 1981 to 2010 is about 1.95 million square kilometers (753,000 square miles).
Antarctica, an area which has been comparatively resistant to the rising temperatures, have also seen a record low ice level for the month of November.
NSIDC reported that after the Antarctic sea ice reaches the annual maximum extent on August 31, which itself was an anomaly, the ice level curve has been in steep decline. And currently, the ice levels are around one million square kilometers (386,000 square miles) below the last record low level which was set in 1986.
The current level is also 1.81 million square kilometers (699,000 square miles) below the average level between 1981 to 2010, which brings the cumulative total of the ice lost from the poles to 3.76 million square kilometers. This mammoth figure is around the area of the country Indonesia multiplied by two, and more than double the area of Alaska.
The “almost unprecedented” decline in the sea level has been credited to the combined effects of unusually high temperatures in the sea and the air.
“It looks like a triple whammy – a warm ocean, a warm atmosphere, and a wind pattern all working against the ice in the Arctic”
While the trends of ice levels in Antarctica have always eluded scientists due to their unpredictable and fickle patterns, but the current downward pattern seems to have finally triggered a dangerous and destructive pattern for the region. The cracks are quite literally starting to show, and as Serreze puts it,
“Antarctica is the sleeping elephant that is beginning to stir.”
The first signs of climate change finally having its say in the region was the appearance of thousands of strange blue lakes in August, which was previously seen in Greenland’s slide towards losing an astounding 1 trillion tons of ice between the year 2011 and 2014.
One of the researchers who spotted the lakes, Stewart Jamieson from Durham University, said at that event,
“[East Antarctica is] the part of the continent where people have for quite a long time assumed that it’s relatively stable There’s not a huge amount of change, it’s very, very cold, and so, it’s only very recently that the first supraglacial lakes, on top of the ice, were identified.”
The meltdown might be the start of the ultimate doom of humanity as we know it, as it also triggers the exposing of ‘dark sea’ hidden beneath the ice sheets, leading to an increased rate of ice melting.
As a result of the rising sea levels, only in 2016, we have lost around five Pacific islands. And while the humanity still debates on whether climate change is real or a hoax, it might just be too late to salvage anything and save this world from imminent doom.