NASA: 2013’s Arctic melt part of ‘sustained decline’

The scope of sea ice cover is one of the climate change barometers that scientists monitor.

“Even if this year ends up being the sixth- or seventh-lowest extent, what matters is that the 10 lowest extents recorded have happened during the last 10 years,” said NASA glaciologist Walt Meier in a statement. “The long-term trend is strongly downward.”

The smallest sea ice reach that satellites have recorded was mid-September of 2012 at 1.32 million square miles, which is about half the average extent of the prior three decades, NASA said.