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Summer Arctic melt among worst ever

No obvious weather patterns explain near-record annual ice retreat

Depending on whom you ask, this year’s annual minimum of Arctic sea ice either broke or came close to breaking the record set in 2007. And that’s without the unusual weather conditions that conspired to melt so much ice that historic year.

Increased melting of the Arctic Ocean’s frozen lid in the last few decades underscores a changing northern reality, scientists say — that summer sea ice is on a downward spiral. “The bigger picture here is this is continuing the long-term decline in sea ice cover,” says Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

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