Sea ice around the North Pole has reached its second-lowest low on record, tying with 2007, scientists at NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced September 15.
Arctic sea ice reached its expected low point for the year on September 10, bottoming out at an area of 4.14 million square kilometers. That’s well below the 1981 through 2010 average of 6.22 million square kilometers, though above the record-lowest extent of 3.39 million square kilometers, set in 2012.
The silver-medal finish came after a summer of relatively cool temperatures, cloudy skies and stormy weather — conditions that typically limit sea ice shrinkage. The lack of ice probably arose from a poor starting position: The melt season began with the smallest maximum sea ice extent on record.