Arctic ends 75 day run of record low ice; Antarctic continues 57 day run

Arctic Sea Ice Extent, 2016, setting a record low for 75 straight days

For years, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has provided NASA-supported scientific measurements of the sea ice extent in the Arctic and Antarctic, measured as the area of ocean covered with at least 15% ice (for information on the declining sea ice volume see measurements by PIOMAS).

A yearly seasonal trend is visible in Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, as the focus of the sun’s light shifts from the Earth’s southern hemisphere toward its northern hemisphere. But for any given day, another trend is also visible in NSIDC data: as the years pass, the sea ice on a given day has been shrinking. Over each of the final 75 days of 2016 until December 31, the Arctic sea ice reached a record low extent for that day, as you can see in this graph of NSIDC data (click here to reconstruct it yourself):

Arctic Sea Ice Extent, 2016, setting a record low for 75 straight days

It was only on the very last day of 2016, December 31, that the extent of Arctic sea ice dropped from the absolute low record extent for the day to the second-lowest extent (with a reading from 2010 on that day reading just slightly lower). In the meantime, the sea ice extent surrounding Antarctica continues a 57-day run of record lows:

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent, 2016, setting a record low for the 57 days completing the year

While President-Elect Donald Trump continues to stock a cabinet with multiple individuals who deny the scientific reality of global warming, objective measurements of climate change continue to accumulate.

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