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Arctic ice at near record low

BOULDER, Colo., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- Sea ice in the Arctic has declined this year to the second-lowest level recorded since the dawn of the satellite era, scientists said.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center said researchers will know within several weeks if the sea ice extent has fallen below the record low of 1.59 million square miles set last year.

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"Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight, keeping the polar regions cool and moderating global climate. According to scientific measurements," the NSIDC said this week in a report. "Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, with the most extreme decline seen in the summer melt season."

With several weeks still left in the melt season, sea ice extent dipped below the 2005 minimum of 2.05 million square miles. The figures reflect recent melt in the Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast and the East Siberian Seas off the coast of eastern Russia, the report said.

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