We Just Found the Most Terrifying GIF on the Internet

Shudder.

Bernhard_Staehli/iStock

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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.

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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