We Just Found the Most Terrifying GIF on the Internet

Shudder.

Bernhard_Staehli/iStock


Scientists have long warned us about a climate change tipping point—the moment past which there is no turning back. If you haven’t started panicking yet, now is the time. Last week, Kevin Pluck tweeted an alarming GIF that shows the gradual yet relatively stable decline of global sea ice over the past 40 years before experiencing a sudden drop in 2016.

Visualizing data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the animation borrowed the design of climate scientist Ed Hawkins’ climate spiral, which went viral last year and inspired a reference at the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics.

According to scientists at the NSIDC, this drop shows the combined disappearance of sea ice at both poles. In mid-November last year, scientists observed an “almost unprecedented” level of Arctic sea ice decline when an area of ice larger than Denmark melted away during a time of year when sea ice typically increases. The Antarctic experienced parallel conditions, with November air temperatures measuring 3.6-7.2°F (2-4°C) warmer than normal.

Both poles play a critical role in stabilizing global temperatures. If these unexpected developments continue, it wouldn’t just spell faster sea level rise but also an unprecedented acceleration of warming that could lead to climate disaster.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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