Arctic sea ice shrinks to second lowest level

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? The National Snow and Ice Data Center says Arctic sea ice melted this summer to the second lowest level since scientists started keeping records more than 50 years ago.

The amount of ice covering the Arctic hit its lowest point late last week. Scientists calculated 1.67 million square miles of ice. Only in 2007 was there less summer sea ice, which has been dramatically declining since scientists began using satellites to monitor melt in 1979. Other records go back to 1953.

Each summer, sea ice melts and then refreezes starting in the fall. The summer minimum is a key measurement for scientists monitoring man-made global warming. This year’s level is 36 percent below the average minimum of 2.59 million square miles.