National Geographic Had to Drastically Change its Maps Because the Arctic Keeps Melting

Ice in the Arctic is decreasing at a 13.3 per cent rate every decade.

That is an astonishing statistic, but quantifying global warming with facts and numbers unfortunately does very little to register in anyone’s mind. Most of us have the attention span of a lego block, and even if climate change could one day end the world, we need to see its impact if it is to arouse even the most muted “huh” in response.

Well, behold, because National Geographic recently released a GIF to show just how big an impact melting ice has literally had on the make-up of our world:

What you’re seeing is a sheet of ice the size of Mexico disappearing over the last 15 years (!). Even the U.S. President has taken note of what is one of the most striking changes in the publication’s history.

“Shrinking ice caps forced National Geographic to make the biggest change in its atlas since the Soviet Union broke apart,” said President Barack Obama in a speech at the White House while outlining his aggressive Clean Power Plan to curb climate change.

To make matters worse, there are still a few weeks left until the end of the Arctic summer, at which point temperatures start to cool again.

As National Geographic Geographer Juan José Valdés says, there’s still time for records to be broken.