7. Arctic sea ice is rapidly diminishing
Temperatures in the Arctic are rising faster than almost anywhere else on the planet. Between 2011 and 2020, annual Arctic sea ice reached its lowest level since at least 1850 and late summer Arctic sea ice was smaller than at any time in at least the past 1,000 years. Under all the future emissions scenarios in the IPCC report the sea ice minimum will fall below one million square kilometres at least once before 2050 – making the area practically free of sea ice altogether. This level is about 15% of the average September sea ice observed between 1979 and 1988.
In May 2016, to make visualizing climate change easier for the general public, University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkins created an animated spiral graphic of global temperature change as a function of time, a representation said to have gone viral. Jason Samenow wrote in The Washington Post that the spiral graph was “the most compelling global warming visualization ever made”, before it was featured in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
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