According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the average low for arctic ice between 1979 and 2000 is approximately 6.8 million square kilometers.
Last year, though, a record low aerial extent of ice demolished previous records with an area of just 5.3 million square kilometers. That record was set at the traditional low point of arctic sea ice on September 20.
This year we hit the 5.3 million mark on the 17th of August.
Currently arctic sea ice is at 4.2 million square kilometers. That's about forty percent off the average, with time to go for more melting to occur, and little hope that winter will make up the difference.
All that arctic ice, previously reflecting sunlight, now a heat-absorbing ocean.
Meanwhile, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, ever a decade behind the times, announced last week that it predicts sea ice to fall by more than forty percent by 2050. Good guess, NOAA! They came to this conclusion by reviewing data that is from as recently as 1999. As always, you be the judge.
--Zadig, sorry again for a post about global warming that has nothing to do with American public lands.