The Arctic Death Spiral.

The sharp decline in Arctic sea ice area in recent decades has been matched by a harder-to-see, but equally sharp, drop in sea ice thickness. The combined result has been a warming-driven collapse in total sea ice volume — to about one quarter of its 1980 level.

I first asked creative tech guru and programming analyst Andy Lee Robinson to make this ice cube volume chart (updated below) after the record-setting sea ice melt in 2012. The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 probe had just confirmed modeling by the University of Washington’s Polar Science Center that it wasn’t just ice area that had shrunk to a record low.

Robinson wanted to improve the visualization of volume collapse through 3D animation, which requires serious programming chops and computing power (more details here). Here is his most recent version of the video—with piano music composed and played by Robinson himself.

The full story is at Think Progress. I don’t have the heart to comment, we humans, so destructive, so uncaring.


  1. Crimson Clupeidae says

    And the deniers keep changing their tune, but they’re playing the same song.

    1) The climate’s not really changing.
    2) It might be changing some, but it’s not because of humans.
    3) Well, we might have some small effect, but it’s too late to do anything now!

    The remains the same, however. Let’s not do anything.

    Fucking fuckers…

  2. blf says

    You mean terraforming Mars isn’t doing something?


    (As a reminder, that is what the loonyeration kook running for USAlien President suggested…)

  3. StevoR says

    Perhaps my favourite quote about this whole issue is this one :

    “I like ice also as an indicator of climate change for its political neutrality.
    Ice asks no questions, presents no arguments, reads no newspapers, listens to no debates. It’s not burdened by ideology and carries no political baggage as it crosses the threshold from solid to liquid. It just melts.”
    – Dr Henry Pollack, geophysicist, University of Michigan.

    Source : ‘Watts Up with Sea Ice?’ youtube video by Greenman3610 :

    at the 1 minute 14 secs to 1 minute 51 seconds mark.

    That was from 2010. Things have only gotten worse since then and we’re looking at a matter of probably years before at least for short (but quickly becoming longer) times Earth has only one icecap. Which has seriously scary implications for all our futures.

  4. StevoR says

    @6. rq. Unfortunately, its currently more like Earth is inadvertantly (?) Marsforming (Areoforming) instead. Hopefully that will be reversed one metaphorical day which cannot come soon enough.

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