It’s at the lowest level since 1979 at the North Pole, where it’s summer, but at the South Pole it’s more wintery than a global-warming winter should be.
While the Antarctic Peninsula area has warmed in recent years and ice near it diminished during the Southern Hemisphere summer, the interior of Antarctica has been colder and ice elsewhere has been more extensive and longer lasting, which explains the increase in total extent. This dichotomy was shown in this World Climate Report blog posted recently with a similar tale told in this paper by Ohio State Researcher David Bromwich, who agreed “It’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now”.
The winter temperatures in Antarctica are steadily declining, too. The significance of all this is way above my pay grade but logically it would seem to be a question of whether ice melting at one pole during the summer is dumping more water into the ocean than winter at the other pole can take out. The fact that it’s colder than usual in the south is good news but whether it’s enough to keep the total amount of ice on earth in equilibrium as summer in the north gets hotter, I don’t know. Anyone schooled in this and care to comment?
If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard about this before, you really shouldn’t.