Arctic sea ice cover has declined to a record low, according to a National Snow and Ice Data Center press release.
The Arctic ice cover fell to 4.10 million square kilometers on Aug. 26, 70,000 square kilometers less than the previous record set on Sept. 18, 2007. Two to three weeks are left in the melt season.
“By itself it’s just a number, and occasionally records are going to get set,” NSIDC scientist Walt Meier said in the release. “But in the context of what’s happened in the last several years and throughout the satellite record, it’s an indication that the Arctic sea ice cover is fundamentally changing.”
Meier said that some Arctic ice once commonly persisted through the melt season and would contribute to the total cover throughout the year, but the melt rate has accelerated to the point that Arctic is all from a single season.
Image: A NASA illustration of Arctic sea ice cover on Aug. 26, 2012 (Credit: NASA)