Satellites are preparing for a disappointing record at the very top of the warming world. In the next few weeks, there could be a new low for the area of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
The low for sea ice arrives each year around mid-September after the long summer melt. The previous record low was in 2012. Right now, this year’s melt is moving even faster than every before.
The loss of sea ice is bad news for polar bears, which range across it to hunt for prey like seals. But it could also make life hard for us all, by accelerating global warming.
As white ice is replaced by water which is darker, less of the sun’s energy will be reflected back into space. This will further warm the world and likely disrupting patterns of ocean circulation.
It’s not surprising that 2019 is becoming an exceptional year for sea ice loss. We have already experienced the hottest June across the globe in history, and July is expected to be the planet’s warmest month on record.
Experts say that it’s unclear whether the 2012 record will be broken. “There’s a pretty big variation in the trajectory it can take from here,” Walt Meier, a member of the team that tracks sea ice for the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, said.
Whether or not 2019 sets new records for summer melt in the Arctic, that trend is set to continue. “We still don’t know how bad it can get,” Christopher Polashenski, a geophysicist with the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, New Hampshire, said.
Do you believe that we are on track to see a record low in