In a statement released last Thursday the British Antarctic Survey commented on data showing that sea ice in the Antarctic this summer reached a record new low. Satellite data shows that sea ice contracted to 2.28m sq km on February 13th beating the previous low from February of 1997.
It would be easy to assume that this is merely a continuation of an ongoing pattern but Antarctic sea ice has actually been steadily increasing since records began in 1979. Just two years ago there was actually a record high set. It is too early to say, then, whether this represents a change in the trend or is simply a bump in the data set; only continued careful observation will reveal that.
This is contrary to the story in the Arctic where there is a steady and well established pattern of decreasing sea ice levels that pose a particular problem for the polar bear population as this is their main hunting habitat.
It remains to be seen how President Trumps edict that NASA should stop earth observation missions and focus on looking outwards will effect our abilities to track climate change. Without wanting to get into politics I think it is reasonable to comment on his science policies which are distinctly, well, anti-science. He is publicly on the record as being a climate change denier and anti-vaxxer. Hopefully he’ll be gone before he can do too much damage.