Sea ice hits record low: Why is that a big deal?

Sea ice, which forms and melts annually, has declined more than 30 percent in the past 25 years. This year, however, Antarctica and the Arctic both reached the lowest levels of sea ice ever recorded since scientists began keeping track in 1979, holding consequences that affect temperatures across the world and strong evidence of the effects of climate change.

On Nov. 20, the National Snow & Ice Data Center measured 8.625 million square kilometers of sea ice, down from the previous record low of 9.632 million square kilometers in 2012, The Boston Globe reports. On the same day the Antarctic – which has actually been increasing for several years hitting a record high in 2014 – showed 13.616 million square kilometers of sea ice, while the previous record low was 14.7 million square kilometers in 1986, according to The Boston Globe.

“Atmospheric temperatures are rising because of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere so we have overloaded our atmosphere with carbon, so the air temperatures are warmer which in turn can raise temperatures above the freezing point and melt the ice from above,” says Brenda Ekwurzel, the director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists, in Washington D.C. READ MORE.