Arctic ice cover at near-record low

Sept. 16, 2011 at 1:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Arctic sea ice has melted at a rate that could reduce ice coverage in the polar region to its lowest since satellite measurements began in 1979, scientists say.

The National Climatic Data Center released the findings Thursday and said global temperatures last month made it the eighth-warmest August on record, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The recorded temperatures were part of a general warming trend attributed to global warming, the center said.

With a few more weeks of melting predicted, record lows observed in 2007 could be matched or even exceeded, said Jake Crouch, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The arctic ice cover is 1.67 million square miles, compared to the average minimum of 2.59 million, and some computer models suggest the arctic could be ice-free by 2050, the Times reported.

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