Arctic ice melt sets yet another record

Grist

This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Every year around the end of February, after a long winter, Arctic ice reaches its maximum extent. This year that happened around Feb. 25, when it encompassed 14.54 million square kilometers (5.61 million square miles) of ice around the North Pole.

Sound like a lot? It’s not. Really, really not. This year’s maximum extent was the lowest on record.

Ice extent (area covered at least 15 percent by ice) for 2015 (solid blue line) compared with 2012 (dashed) and the average from 1981-2010 (black line).Ice extent (area covered by at least 15 percent by ice) for 2015 (solid blue line) compared with 2012 (dashed) and the average from 1981-2010 (black line).NSIDC

The plot above shows the situation. The solid line shows the average ice extent over the year (measured from 1981 to 2010) and the gray area represents a statistical measure of random fluctuations; anything inside the gray is more or less indistinguishable from the…

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