Horrifying sea ice drop captured in simple graph

Polar bear alone on Arctic sea ice (Getty)
It comes after another noticeable drop last year (Getty / file)

The extent of plummeting sea ice levels across the globe has been captured by a simple, yet horrifying, graph.

The graph combines data from both the Antarctic and Arctic polar regions, from the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Sea ice extent fluctuates as it melts and refreezes during the year. At this time of year, the Arctic begins to melt, while the Antarctic melt is well underway.

But in the last year there's been a particular drop in the area of sea ice measured, and we've now reached the lowest extent on record.

NSIDC's data shows both Antarctic and Arctic sea ice extents at record lows for this time of year, combining to form the grim graph posted by meteorologist Eric Holthaus.

Kiwi climate scientist Professor James Renwick posted his own graphs online demonstrating the data, saying the sea ice is possibly at its lowest level in millennia.

It comes after another noticeable drop last year.

"For the year 2016, sea ice extent in both polar regions was at levels well below what is typical of the past several decades," NSIDC said earlier this month.

Sea ice floats on the sea, so its loss does not contribute noticeably to rising sea levels.

The satellite data dates back to 1978.