Arctic sea ice levels have been plummeting, and once again, the total amount of sea ice we have on our planet is currently at a record low. One meteorologist said, based on reconstructions, we probably have the least amount of sea ice Earth has seen in millennia.

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The area covered by sea ice floating on Earth’s oceans is the smallest we’ve ever recorded since we started monitoring via satellite in the 1970’s. National Snow and Ice Data Center measurements reveal global sea ice levels are low in 2017 after setting similar dubious records in 2016.

Related: Here’s how much Arctic sea ice melt you are personally responsible for

Low levels of Arctic sea ice can be connected back to both climate change and strange weather events that were probably impacted by climate change. Sea ice extent should be growing right now, as it’s winter in the Arctic, but warm air incursions have raised temperatures in addition to the effects of climate change. The case is slightly different in the Antarctic; there, scientists say low levels of seasonal sea ice could have resulted because of natural variability, although sea ice area has been plunging even swifter than expected for summer.

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus said on Twitter, we have “the least area of sea ice on our planet that we’ve ever measured – probably the lowest in millennia” and pointed to a PAGES (Past Global Changes) article written by two scientists who reconstructed past sea ice extent for evidence.

It’s possible sea ice levels could rise in the near future, but then fall back down to levels even lower than what we’re experiencing today. Climate scientist Ed Hawkins said Arctic sea ice decline is like a “ball bouncing down a bumpy hill” – sea ice will continue to decline, but might rise up temporarily before continuing its distressing descent.

Via New Scientist

Images via Pixabay and National Snow and Ice Data Center