This year witnessed a September minimum of Arctic sea ice which was only the 2nd-lowest on record. But the year’s minimum isn’t the surprising thing about this year’s sea ice. That would be the surprising lows observed during May and part of June, and now, it seems, during the most recent few days of October. Here’s the data, with 2016 in red:
Because the value dipped so often to it’s all-time low for time-of-year, the recent annual average is at its all-time low. Here are annual averages offset in time so that the most recent year is complete:
Meanwhile, at the other end of the Earth this year was middle-of-the-road, although it’s on the low end at the present moment:
The latest annual average is also on the low end, but not exceptionally so:
More important is the trend, which appears to be upward at the south pole but more strongly downward at the north pole:
Trend-wise, the southern hemisphere has gained about 2/3 of a million km^2 while the northern hemisphere has lost nearly 2 million km^2.
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