A chilling picture

In ITNS you may notice dot points like:

  • Focus on effect sizes
  • Be mindful of variability
  • Find a revealing picture

Here’s an illustration of the potency of those 3 bullet points.

It’s from a recent article in The Conversation. It plots the world’s total area of sea ice, in millions of square kilometres, for each year since 1978. The total sea ice is, of course, the sum of Artic and Antarctic sea ice. There’s clearly an annual pattern, with variation from year to year. But then a dramatic change since August 2016. The article discusses a range of contributions–why sea ice at both ends of the earth has decreased in recent months. It also discusses how little we really understand about the underlying causes of such enormous changes from past patterns.

Indeed, a chilling picture.


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