Arctic sea ice minimum
As the yearly Arctic sea ice melt season comes to an end, it looks like this year will likely be among the 10 lowest ice minimums on record. This means the 15 lowest sea ice extents (ice coverage) in the 42-year satellite record have all occurred in the last 15 years.
Climate change is melting the Arctic, and fast. Both the average September (minimum) and March (maximum) sea ice coverage have been decreasing since records began in 1979 and will only accelerate as global temperatures rise. The amount of multi-year sea ice (ice that survives multiple melt seasons) has also plummeted to its lowest level over the past four decades. In addition, warming conditions on the Greenland ice sheet have led to massive, unprecedented melting events in 2021.
So why does this matter? Declining sea ice can accelerate global temperatures, impact local weather patterns, as well as affect global commerce and the livelihood of local indigenous communities.