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The ends of the Earth are melting really fast. Here’s what you need to know

The Correspondent: “The ends of the Earth are melting at a rate not seen in at least 115,000 years. And over the past few months, there’s been increasing evidence that the changes we’re seeing at our planet’s poles are only growing more severe.

  • On 1 August, the Greenland ice sheet lost 12.5bn tonnes of ice on a single day, a new all-time record.
  • On 18 September, the Arctic Ocean reached its second lowest extent of sea ice in history.
  • On 9 February, the temperature reached an astounding 20.75C (69F) on Seymour Island, just off the coast of the Antarctic peninsula, the warmest temperature ever measured on the continent. “[W]e have never seen anything like this,” said Carlos Schaefer, a Brazilian scientist working on Seymour Island.
  • These changes in the most remote places on Earth have huge consequences for our daily lives because our daily lives have huge consequences for the most remote places on Earth. Decades of routine human activities – going to work, driving a car, eating a hamburger, choosing a stock portfolio – have transformed the frozen parts of this planet on a scale never seen before. If we do not change our behaviour drastically to slow down and eventually stop the Arctic melt, rising sea levels and even faster rising global temperatures will threaten our very way of life…”

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