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The Arctic Ocean’s Sea Ice Hit Record Low Levels This June

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Sea ice on the northwestern coast of Greenland.

In just a few months, the blanket of ice covering the Arctic Ocean has gone from a deep dish to a thin crust. Though sea ice has been thinning out across the Arctic for more than a decade due to climate change, the state of ice this spring and early summer is especially bad.

Researchers at the Polar Science Center recently released their monthly PIOMAS model of the sea ice volume average in the Arctic for the month of June—and it revealed a grim decline. With just 3,814 cubic miles of ice left across the vast Arctic Ocean, this June nearly set a record average low for ice volume for the month, falling short by a mere 120 cubic miles of the average volume for June of 2017, the record holder.

But the bad news didn’t end there—during the last days of June, daily ice volume loss escalated rapidly falling to just 2,890 cubic square miles at the end of the month, which is 25 cubic miles lower than June 30th, 2017, which puts 2019 at a record low volume for this time of year.

“In terms of the volume, it’s definitely been pretty steep,” says Walt Meier, a senior research scientist with the National Snow and Ice Data Center. “It’s dropping precipitously for this time of year, and it’s setting us up for a potential record in terms of volume.”

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