Arctic Sea ice at a new low



On 26 August, Arctic sea ice cover dipped to 4.1 million square kilometers, 70,000 square kilometers below the 2007 mark, which was previously the lowest extent of ice cover in the satellite record, according to an analysis of satellite data by scientists with NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) of the University of Colorado, Boulder. “By itself it's just a number, and occasionally records are going to get set. 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,” said NSIDC scientist Walt Meier. “The persistent loss of perennial ice cover—ice that survives the melt season—led to this year's record summertime retreat. Unlike 2007, temperatures were not unusually warm in the Arctic this summer,” said Joey Comiso, senior research scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md. The six lowest ice extents in the satellite record have occurred in the last 6 years, according to NSIDC.