The Arctic is smashing heat records - and missing enough ice to freeze over 9 states in the US
It's almost winter, so where's all the ice in the Arctic Ocean?Our planet's northern ice cap has steadily shrunk each year for a long time, but 2016 is still setting shocking records for low Arctic ice extents. The Arctic is about 2 million square kilometers of ice below average as November closes, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). That's just under 800,000 square miles - well below the previous satellite-era record set in 2012.Advertisement
It can be tough to visualize how much lost ice that really is, but here's the deal: 800,000 square miles is massive.
To cover that much space in the US you'd need to ice over California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah - and throw in Hawaii and Massachusetts to boot.
Earth is missing all that ice due to unusually warm sea surface temperatures in a part of the world that's been as much as 36 degrees warmer than usual this month.
As you can see, huge swaths of old, thick, healthy ice have already gone.
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