Arctic sea ice has just reached the lowest it's ever been recorded — and it still has about two weeks to keep melting before it starts refreezing.
It shrunk to 4.1m sq km (1.6m sq miles) on Sunday.
Here's what scientists said:
"This is an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing.The previous record, set in 2007, occurred because of near perfect summer weather for melting ice. Apart from one big storm in early August, weather patterns this year were unremarkable. The ice is so thin and weak now, it doesn't matter how the winds blow."
This is strong signal of long-term climate warming, despite nay-sayers.
"The Arctic used to be dominated by multiyear ice, or ice that stayed around for several years. Now it's becoming more of a seasonal ice cover and large areas are now prone to melting out in summer."
Another researcher spoke up:
"These figures are not the result of some freak of nature but the effects of man-made global warming caused by our reliance on dirty fossil fuels.
"These preliminary figures provide irrefutable evidence that greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming are damaging one of the planet's critical environments, one that helps maintain the stability of the global climate for every citizen of the world."
Scarily, these record-breaking ice minimums are starting to become the new normal… and sea ice plays a huuuuuuuuge part in regulating climate, acting like a giant mirror that reflects the sun's energy, helping to cool the Earth.
Not only that, but the formation of the sea ice produces dense saltwater, which sinks, helping drive the deep ocean currents… and without the ice, a lot of people are scared this balance could be upset, potentially causing major climatic changes.
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