Taking all the world’s sea ice together, then – as opposed to focusing exclusively on the Arctic – the picture is far less gloomy than most media outlets would have you believe. [Gee, who knew? S1] Generally the world has between 15 and 23 million square km of the stuff: at the moment it has a bit more than 18m, which is approximately 1.5m below average for this time of year. Earlier this year, though, it was nearly 1m up on the seasonal average.
There are some other things to bear in mind, too: melting sea ice, of course, doesn’t mean rising sea levels the way melting glaciers or ice sheets on land might. Then there’s the fact that the satellite record is so short and the polar regions so little known: longer term variations like the one we’re seeing may be entirely normal.
Keep calm and carry on. The world isn’t ending, and spending billions trying to stop the climate changing is taking money away from areas where it could so some real good.
(Also, this story is way cool)