May 4, 2017

Arctic Sea Ice Keeps Scraping the Bottom of the Barrel

Arctic
by
Brian Kahn
,
Climate Central
Arctic sea ice extent has trended in record low territory for months. Image: Zack Labe
Arctic sea ice extent has trended in record low territory for months. Image: Zack Labe

The astounding transformation of the Arctic before our very eyes continues. Yet another month has passed with record low sea ice.

This April merely tied April 2016 for the lowest extent on record, but it’s hardly reason to celebrate. The Arctic was missing 394,000 square miles of ice, with each day setting a record low or within 36,000 square miles of setting one.

That’s a sickly sign of the changes hitting the region. Temperatures averaged up to 14°F above normal in part of the Arctic last month, fueling the melt season. Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said the rate of ice loss was about average.

But after hitting a record low maximum in March, there’s simply less sea ice to melt. That means even in an average month, records are more likely to be set.