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Annual Arctic ice minimum reached

Melt isn’t as bad as 2007, but still reaches number three in the record books

3:53pm, September 24, 2010

The verdict is in on this year’s Arctic sea-ice melt: third worst since satellites began keeping track of the northern polar cap in 1979.

Satellites and scientists continually monitor the Arctic Ocean’s skin of ice, which melts back in the summer and expands again in the winter. Researchers have been watching the ice’s decline with increasing alarm, especially after the summer of 2007 brought a record-breaking minimum. Ice extent recovered a bit in the summers of 2008 and 2009, but the long-term trend is unmistakable: The ice is shrinking in extent as well as thinning. Thinner ice is more prone to being broken up and melted

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