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According to CNN, 90% of ice around Antarctica has disappeared in less than a decade.

enter image description here

In the video, CNN Climate Correspondent, Bill Weir states:

... the ice around the continent was growing. In 2014, it was about 7,000,000 square miles, but in less than ten years, the National Snow and Ice Center, out of Colorado, has confirmed: It has broken the record again. Now, it is just over 700,000 square miles. So, that's over 90% of that ice around Antarctica has disappeared in less than a decade ...

Is this true?

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1 Answer 1

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Each southern summer, the sea ice around Antarctica melts. The peak of sea ice is usually in September and the trough in February. Currently, the sea ice is at a record low, as seen in red below. (Only the 3 highest years and 2023 are shown.)

graph measuring ice in 10^6 sq km: mid-February trough averaging 3 most years but 2 in 2023; peak is October, averaging 18–20

(image source)

Taking the seasonal peak of the highest year, 2014, and contrasting it with the seasonally low of this year, CNN can come up with a 90% loss!

A better analysis is the below graph which shows the minimum for each year:

enter image description here

(caption: "...The linear trend line is in blue with a 1.0 percent per decade downward trend, which is not statistically significant. A five-year running average is shown in red.")

(image source)

Note also that in the above data "sea ice" excludes not just ice on the land, but also excludes ice shelves which float on the sea around Antarctica. The ice shelf area is an addition 1.4 million sq km which would make the data be more constant if included.

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    Comments have been moved to chat; please do not continue the discussion here. Before posting a comment below this one, please review the purposes of comments. Comments that do not request clarification or suggest improvements usually belong as an answer, on Skeptics Meta, or in Skeptics Chat. Comments continuing discussion may be removed.
    – tim
    Mar 4, 2023 at 8:02
  • @tim There is no such chat in your link. Just a picture of Riker with a hat.
    – Brady Gilg
    May 16, 2023 at 16:30

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