Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Global sea ice levels are at their lowest in recorded history, according to a new statistics from the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center. (Photo: mariusz kluzniak/flickr/cc)

Global Sea Ice Hits Lowest Levels 'Probably in Millenia'

'The human world has never experienced a time when global sea ice was so weak and reduced'

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Global sea ice levels are at their lowest in recorded history, according to new statistics from the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center.

In the Arctic, the loss is due to climate change and extreme weather events that are likely influenced by global warming, while the changes in the Antarctic may be attributed to natural variability, the center said.

(Image: U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center)

But as a result of the declines in both regions, the total loss of ice is likely at the lowest it's been for thousands of years, said meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

It's "probably the lowest in millenia," he tweeted.

Environmental and social justice writer Robert Scribbler noted that global sea ice "fell off a cliff" in December 2016—or, as 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben put it, 2016 was the year "global sea ice fell off the table."

"The human world has never experienced a time when global sea ice was so weak and reduced," Scribbler wrote.

That's important because, as Common Dreams has reported, sea ice loss is linked to extreme weather and rising waters, while fewer glaciers mean a darker surface of the Earth—which in turn increases absorption of the sun's energy, further fueling climate change.

Climate scientists warned last year that Arctic ice is at risk of disappearing for the first time in more than 100,000 years.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

Reality Winner's Release From Federal Prison Met With Calls for Full Pardon for the NSA Whistleblower

Winner will serve the rest of her five-year sentence under the supervision of a halfway house.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Analysis Highlights Biden Proposal to End $84 Billion Gift to Big Oil Buried in Trump Tax Scam

"We can stop this insane corporate welfare and use it to pay for a renewable energy future."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·


Intent on Appeasing Manchin, US Blocks G7 Progress on Phasing Out Coal

"Once again Joe Manchin is casting a heavy shadow."

Julia Conley, staff writer ·


Calls to 'Expand the Supreme Court' Grow as McConnell Warns He's Prepared to Steal Another Seat

"Mitch McConnell is already foreshadowing that he'll steal a 3rd Supreme Court seat if he gets the chance. He's done it before, and he'll do it again."

Jake Johnson, staff writer ·


Climate Campaigners Welcome SCOTUS Refusal to Hear Big Oil's Appeal of California Lawsuits

The justices' punting of Chevron v. Oakland means cities' historic litigation will proceed in lower courts.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·