Warming in the Arctic reduced sea ice to its second-lowest extent on record, scientists announced, as climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels continues to rapidly transform the region.
Researchers at the National Snow and Ice Data Center said just 1.4 million square miles of ocean were covered in ice at the year’s lowest point on September 15. The 14 years with the lowest sea ice levels have all occurred in the last 14 years, with this year’s rapid late-season melt spurred by a Siberian heatwave that wouldn’t have been possible without climate change.
“It seems like 2020 is going to go down as the year when it’s the end of any plausible denial of climate change. Any individual event can be blamed on weather, but putting it all together with the heat waves, the fires, the hurricanes and tropical storms, nature is telling us something,” NSIDC director Mark Serreze told CNN.
“It’s us. This is all us. Our heat waves are getting hotter, the cold waves are not as cold. As Pogo said, ‘We have met the enemy, and they are us.'”