northwest arctic

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Annual Arctic Sea Ice Retreat Continues Downward Trend 

The sea ice that covers the Arctic region reached its likely minimum extent for the year last week on Sept. 17. Analysts say the coverage amounted to 1.94 million square miles, the sixth lowest on record since satellites started watching the annual change in 1978. 

This year’s minimum totalled 463,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average minimum and continues the long-term downward trend observed by science instruments. The smallest amount of coverage occurred in the summer of 2012 with 1.32 million square miles of water under ice and snow.

“Even with a relatively cool year, the ice is so much thinner than it used to be,” said NASA research scientist Walter Meier. “It’s more susceptible to melting.”

Meier said that Arctic Ocean is losing around 13 percent of its sea ice per decade.

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