Source: unsplash

The Journey of glacial seawater, 1979–2017ish

There is probably nothing more fuzzy than climate data analysis. Usually it is a bunch of scientific people trying to take different data sets and analyzing it against different parameters. But they would all end up on one fundamental conclusion, Climate change is real.

Today, we get to join these people and understand climate change from a much smaller perspective, by looking at the amount of ice in the sea. This data is usually measured in a very straightforward manner. You look at the area covered in ice over a certain range of coordinates in each hemisphere, and note it down, everyday. And if you look at the data since 1979, you get this:

This was collected by NSIDC (National Snow and Ice Data Center) by the way.

The extent is the area in 1 million sq. km. PSA: Since this starts at a random time in 1978, we start our analysis from 1979.

Comparing Time Periods

1979–2017 is a long period, it’s probably older than most of you reading this right now. There have been significant amount of changes over these years and so comparing different time periods makes complete sense. Thus, we split it at the dawn of the millennium and get two time periods. 1979–1999 and 2000–2017(ish).

Let’s look at how our planet has performed in recent years when it comes to ice in the sea.

2014 was definitely very cold and 2016 was off the charts(literally) when it came to increase in global temperature. But even if it may not feel like it, 2017 is not such a good year to be alive when you’re ice in the sea.

Obviously, one would think to separate the north and south hemispheres when it comes to observing behavior from a slightly limited dataset(in terms of columns).

The south was the problem

The ice in the southern seas behave very similar to what we saw globally. The southern ice in 2017 started below its counterparts in previous years and have remained there(and worsened while they’re at it). North on the other hand, has tried its best to save the day(or the year).

While I would love to give my (not-so) expert opinion on what has made the north recover while the south suffers, this would be a great question to be answered by a domain expert, and I might just know a certain someone who could help us understand these anomalies.

We’ve seen how climate change can be viewed from a ice-in-the-sea perspective as well as how this century has performed versus the previous few years of the last century and while the northern hemisphere bring us slightly good news, there is a cause for concern in the south. We as inhabitants of the planet need to acknowledge this phenomenon and work as nations to resolve the problem of climate anomalies.

Thanks to Anshul Mathur for suggesting valuable edits and Lakshmi Achutanand for title inspiration! Please let me know if I could add reasonable content to this or if you have some general advice for my writing.