Climate change is real and still having a debate over its authenticity in the year 2016 is sad, stupid, and wholly unnecessary. It’s also crazy destructive to, let’s say, preventing it or at least slowing it down, which is much more likely the case given our 20th Century slide past the point of no return. That’s whyEd Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, posted a tweet that got everyone’s attention about the disappearing Arctic sea ice.
Meanwhile, in the Arctic, sea ice volume is at a record low for the time of year according to PIOMAS. pic.twitter.com/ig2X5MXcCg
— Ed Hawkins (@ed_hawkins) July 4, 2016
While the truth isn’t exactly good news, the data viz is strong, direct, and impactful.
“I previously made a similar spiral for global temperatures which proved popular. Sea ice was an obvious variable to look at next as it has a trend in the opposite direction.”
Axel Schweiger, a polar scientist at the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory, agrees.
“It’s an interesting way of visualizing it. By these circles getting smaller, you see overall that the ice volume is shrinking, but you also see the seasonal differences with September values decreasing more than the winter values.”
The ice levels are roughly tied with 2011 and 2012, which, according to Schweiger, were also “pretty low.” As one of the developers of the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS), Schweiger helped people understand the “Arctic Death Spiral.”
Things could be better.[via University of Washington]