Today NASA released the image above, which shows a bunch of ice breaking up in the Beaufort sea, several weeks earlier than it should be. Also today, the European Space Agency dropped a sick GIF of a 958-square kilometre chunk of Antarctica cracking and heaving into the ocean. Here, check it out:
The Arctic is coming off the tail-end of a sweltering winter, so it's no great surprise to see ephemeral sea ice breaking up early. (Also this week, a warm high pressure blob descended over Greenland, sparking widespread ice sheet melting several months earlier than normal.)
Meanwhile, the breakup of the Nansen ice shelf on Antarctica has been coming since the turn of the century. Scientists noted the first signs of a long fracture during a field campaign in 1999. By early March, it was clear that the ice front was hanging on by a thread. It was only a matter of time before it ripped, and it did, on April 7. According to the European Space Agency, major "calving events" like this occur about once every 30 years.
So there you have it: two bizarre ice sheet upsets, occurring on opposite ends of the world within a week of each other, completely coincidental and not at all related to any sort of long-term planetary trend or human activity or scientific "theory" or what have you.
This just in: March was the hottest month in recorded history.