Gallery: Polar Opposites: Why the Loss of Arctic Sea Ice is not Balance...

 

In September, news media widely reported the record-breaking drop in Arctic sea ice extent. The National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) reported that the extent of Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum this year on Sept. 16. The extent naturally varies throughout the year and reaches its minimum for the Northern Hemisphere summer in September. The minimum of 3.41 million square kilometers (km) this year was the lowest recorded since satellite measurements began in 1979. However, less widely reported was some news from the other side of the Earth. NSIDC additionally reported that, while Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum, Antarctic sea ice reached a record maximum on Sept. 26 during the Southern Hemisphere winter. But do the record sea ice maximums at the South Pole really balance out the record lows to the north?

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