Arctic Ice Isn't Doomed Yet—Here's How to Save It
Crazy warm winters haven't pushed Arctic ice beyond a “tipping point.” Every ton of CO2 we don't emit saves 32 square feet of it.
During the long, sunless Arctic winter, temperatures normally plunge far below zero; sea ice thickens and spreads. But throughout most of 2016, conditions in the Arctic were anything but normal. In mid-November, a month before the full onset of winter, arctic sea ice actually began to melt—more than 19,000 square miles of ice disappeared, a loss on a scale never before seen so late in the year. At the end of December, air temperatures near the North Pole spiked close to the freezing point, about 50 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.
“I started doing Arctic climate work back in 1982 as a young graduate student,” says Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in