We don't mean to upset any global warming alarmists—particularly since we happen to be on friendly terms with said alarmists—but it would appear that the polar bears are not in quite as much danger as Leo DiCaprio swore they were. Here's a free little tip for you: Never take scientific advice from actors.
The record melting of Arctic sea ice observed this summer and fall led to record-low levels of ice in both September and October, but a record-setting pace of re-freezing in November, according to the NASA Earth Observatory. Some 58,000 square miles of ice formed per day for 10 days in late October and early November, a new record.Oh, the Bear-anity!
Still, the extent of sea ice recorded in November was well shy of the median extent observed over the past quarter century, as the image from Nov. 14 (above, right) shows. The dramatic increase in ice is evident, when compared to the record-low amount observed Sept. 16 (below, right). In both images, 100% sea ice is shown in white, and the yellow line encompasses the area ion which there was at least 15% ice cover in at least half of the 25-year record for the given month.
The record melting of Arctic sea ice this summer was widely viewed as a harbinger of global warming, though unusual wind patterns played a role and many factors affecting fluctuations in Arctic ice are poorly understood by scientists. Still, so much ice melted that the fabled Northwest passage opened for the first time in history, and the melting broke a record, set just two years ago and by a country mile, that at the time was seen as unprecedented and worrying.
The area of persistent open water north of Alaska and eastern Siberia, according to NASA, is unusual for this time of year, though not unprecedented. This area was also largely free of ice in November 2002 and especially November 2006.