As the Northern Hemisphere swelters under a record-breaking summer heat wave, much further south, in the depths of winter, another terrifying climate record is being broken. Antarctic sea ice has fallen to unprecedented lows for this time of year.

Every year, Antarctic sea ice shrinks to its lowest levels towards the end of February, during the continent’s summer. The sea ice then builds back up over the winter.

But this year scientists have observed something different.

The sea ice has not returned to anywhere near expected levels. In fact it is at the lowest levels for this time of year since records began 45 years ago. The ice is around 1.6 million square kilometers (0.6 million square miles) below the previous winter record low set in 2022, according to data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

In mid-July, Antarctica’s sea ice was 2.6 million square kilometers (1 million square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average. That is an area nearly as large as Argentina or the combined areas of Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado.

By Admin

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