Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low

Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low

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The extent of Arctic sea ice reached a record low on August 27, according to the University of Colorado National Snow and Ice Data Center, and was on track to decline further in the next two weeks. The news that the Arctic sea ice cover had shrunk to 1.58 million square miles came two days after Royal Dutch Shell’s drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, took advantage of reduced sea ice and started sailing from Alaska’s Dutch Harbor to the Chukchi Sea, in anticipation of final federal approval for oil exploration activities there.

The area covered by Arctic summer sea ice usually reaches its low point around Sept. 13, when the region begins to cool. But it has been melting at an unprecedented 38,600 square miles per day, and it is likely to decline even further before the ice begins to re-form. The last minimum sea-ice record of 1.61 million square miles was set in September 2007.

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