Global Warming Shrinks Arctic Sea Ice to Second-Lowest on Record
This summer's Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest ever extent in the 42-year satellite record
BOULDER, COLORADO — This summer's Arctic sea ice shrank to its second-lowest ever extent in the 42-year satellite record, the National Snow and Ice Data Center said in a press release on Monday, Sept. 21.
On Sept. 15, 2020, Arctic sea ice appeared to reach its annual minimum extent of 3.74 million square kilometers, or 1.44 million square miles, according to the NSIDC's sea ice index data.
Sea ice helps cool the planet. According to the NSIDC, 80 percent of the sunlight that strikes sea ice is reflected back into space. As sea ice melts, it exposes darker surface waters, which absorb 90 percent of the sunlight.
In a press release on the NSIDC's website, director Mark Serreze said the melting ice was caused in part by 100-degree Fahrenheit heat waves in Siberia that occurred in June and massive wildfires in the Western United States.
Serreze told CNN that if the current trajectory continues, there will eventually be no Arctic sea ice in the later summer.
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