At a time of the year when the ice should be at its thickest, the Antarctic sea ice levels are at record lows, possibly signalling an irrevocable point in the fight against climate change, the Washington Post reports. Sea ice levels in the Antarctic hit their lowest point in February and their highest in September; this month, it hit its peak on September 10th, nearly two weeks earlier than normal.
At that point, there were 6.55 million square miles of ice, and it has been receding since thanks to warmer ocean temperatures. Worse yet: the amount of ice is nearly 400,000 square miles less than the previously recorded low in 1986.
“There is some concern that this may be the beginning of a long-term trend of decline for Antarctic sea ice, since oceans are warming globally, and warm water mixing in the Southern Ocean polar layer could continue,” read the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a service from the Univeristy of Colorado, said in an announcement released Monday.