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Science Briefing

Arctic sea ice near record low

September 20, 2008|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Crucial Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second-lowest level on record, scientists said Tuesday.

The ice covered 1.74 million square miles, marking a low point for this summer, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colo.

Last summer, the sea ice covered 1.59 million square miles, the lowest since record-keeping began in 1979.

Arctic ice always melts in summer and refreezes in winter. But over the years, more of the ice is lost to the sea with less recovered in winter. While ice reflects the sun's heat, the ocean absorbs more heat and the melting accelerates warming in other parts of the world.

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