According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, 2016 tied for the second-lowest annual Arctic sea ice minimum extent. However, that only accounts for the amount of ice on the surface of the ocean. The ice has also become thinner due to the warming oceans. As a result, we’ve lost about three-quarters of the volume of sea ice in the Arctic ocean in less than four decades, as this video created by Andy Lee Robinson illustrates:
Arctic sea ice volume change 1979 to 2016. Animation by Andy Lee Robinson.
That decline is well outside the range of natural variability over the past 1,500 years, and several studies have found that human-caused global warming is the primary driver of the disappearing Arctic sea ice.
Global temperatures keep shattering records
2014 was the hottest year since our measurements began, breaking the record set in 2010, which had broken the record set in 2005. A year later we saw the temperature record shattered once again in 2015, by more than a tenth of a degree Celsius. This year we’ll see the record broken once again, likely by an even larger margin. Every month in 2016 except June has been the hottest ever recorded. That has never happened before, nor have we ever seen three consecutive record-breaking hot years. It’s simply unprecedented.
Average global surface temperatures. Illustration: NASA GISS, adapted by John Abraham.