Reaction: Annual Arctic sea ice minimum reached; second lowest on record

Publication date: 15th September 2016

The Arctic has just reached its annual summer sea ice minimum extent for 2016, covering an area of 4.14 million km2. This is the joint 2nd lowest extent on record and is further evidence that the alarming decline of Arctic sea ice is continuing at pace.

This year’s minimum extent is well below the long-term average and scientists are warning that Arctic sea ice is not showing any signs of recovery. The 10 lowest extents on record have all occurred in the last 10 years and NASA is now calling the shrinking ice coverage “the new normal”.

During February parts of the Arctic were 16°C warmer than usual and earlier this summer, Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, was hotter than New York City.
With 2016 looking set to be the hottest year since records began, Arctic sea ice is struggling to survive from one year to the next, growing thinner and more vulnerable year by year.

Greenpeace International Spokesperson Ben Ayliffe said:
“This year Arctic sea ice cover is the second lowest ever recorded. We face the very real possibility of the disappearance of Arctic summer sea ice in our lifetimes.  That is not just catastrophic for the people and wildlife of the Arctic, it’s dangerous for all of us.

“We are breaking a critical link in the chain which controls our climate system. Arctic sea ice is the world’s air-conditioning system and we are switching it off.

“The Arctic ice is our early warning system. It’s telling us that climate change is in danger of running out of control.  We have to accelerate the phase out of fossil fuels, and the move to renewable energy or we will lose Arctic sea ice for ever.”

Contact Greenpeace UK Press Office – or +44 (0)207 865 8255

Photos here: +44 20 7865 8118


Marge Glynn at +44 20 7865 8255