Arctic Ice at 2nd-Smallest Level

Melting amid cool conditions raises red flags
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 17, 2008 2:26 PM CDT
Arctic Ice at 2nd-Smallest Level
This graphic image provided by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, shows the daily Arctic sea ice extent for September 12, 2008, which was 4.52 million square kilometers (1.74 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 average extent for that day. The black cross indicates the...   (AP Photo/National Snow and Ice Data Center)

Arctic sea ice shrunk to its second-lowest size this summer, up 10% from last year's record, reports Reuters. The melting may not appear as noteworthy as that of 2007, said one research scientist, but the season's conditions prove otherwise. Last year's mix of warm air and favorable winds shifted the ice, prodding the melt; this year was cooler and lacked winds, "yet we still came pretty close to the record," said Walt Meier.

"In terms of long-term climate, it's not a recovery in any sense of the word," he said. "The long-term trend is still steeply downward and getting steeper." One channel of the Northwest Passage remained open for a second time this year; the Northern Sea Route, which runs along the Siberian Cost, opened for the first time. Since 1979 summer ice cover has dropped 33%. (Read more ice melt stories.)

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