The mid-year report looked at the health of sea ice, a primary indicator of global conditions. 2016 has been another record year for warming and early melt, partly affected by El Niño.
The rest of the ice melt is caused by greenhouse gases, Climatologist Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies said.
“That changes the sea surface temperatures, and as it mixes down into the ocean it also heats the deeper ocean,” Schmidt said.
That temperature change is contributing to sea ice melting, and according to Schmidt, “that’s not energy that’s going to come out, that’s energy that’s going to continue to build up in the ocean.”