Since I last reported on the Arctic Sea Ice loss situation for the current northern summer, about a month ago – at which time there was potential for this to be a record year of ice melt – much of that potential has been lost following one of those unforeseen swerves of the graph line which destroyed any chance of such thing happening – but nature was not yet satisfied and, today, the graph line is back on track to potentially record the second lowest sea ice level in modern times (which also means in all of known history). In less than three weeks time we will know if that has happened.
Below is a zoomed image of the current and following two months, showing the six lowest years of Arctic sea ice during August, September and October.
The blue line represents the data for 2020 and as that line has now crossed the dark green line of 2019 it definitely does hold that second lowest record for this day of the year. What happens next remains to be seen.
The red dashed line represent the freak year of 2012 and I think it will take possibly another decade, barring another freak year, for the annual ice loss to record such similar low levels. But the time will come.
It is not obvious what is happening when looking at individual annual results but over the four decades that we have been recording satellite data on this phenomenon, the decadal groupings of annual results have each been markedly lower, as a group, than the previous decade. See the second image. The actual years in each group are shown in the legend at right.
It is fairly obvious that over the past two decades the summer ice melt is proceeding faster than previously. Without being too over-dramatic, that is an ominous sign not only for polar bears and other Arctic life forms but for all life on Earth.
Graphs are from the NSIDC: Charctic Interactive Sea Ice Graph