After analyzing data collected throughout the 2011 summer melting season, experts at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) determined that the Arctic nearly established a new record-low in sea ice extent last year.
The lowest extent for 2011 was reached on September 9, and it was just a little larger than the all-time record low established in 2007. The worrying thing about this is that other environmental conditions – present during the 2007 sea ice decline – were not present last year.
At its lowest extent, sea ice covered about 4.61 million square kilometers (1.78 million square miles), which is still about 2.43 million square kilometers (938,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average, the NSIDC report
Since 2007, average sea ice extent values for September have been declining steadily, at a rate of about 84,700 square kilometers (32,700 square miles) per year. Each of these five years established their own records when it comes to ice loss, and the trend does not appear to be abating.