Arctic winter ice cover at record low
A new report released by NASA shows the winter maximum extent of sea ice in 2016 was at an all time record low. These alarming signs of a changing climate can have impacts globally and locally.
Globally, less arctic ice is likely to raise the impacts of climate change. Less ice is a sign of warmer air and water temperatures. Less ice can create a positive feedback loop leading to even lesser ice cover and even warmer oceans. The white ice cap also helps regulate Earth's global temperature by reflecting sunlight. More open (dark) land and water absorbs more sunlight, leading again more warming.
Locally, beside the almost repetitive list of the effects of climate change there's likely to be a continued higher variability in winter pattern like we saw in February. Another study in the journal Nature shows that less arctic sea ice is linked to a weaker polar vortex and that could lead to big swings of cold air into the lower latitudes.
This is a more visible sign of climate change and that the planet is continuing to warm.