Bad news for polar bears

Artic sea ice melts to second-lowest level in recorded history

Scientists studying global warming in the Artic revealed some dreary news last week about melting sea ice.

Researchers from the National Snow and Ice Data Center found sea ice covers just more than 2 million square miles of the region, the second-lowest level recorded in the nearly 30 years of satellite measuring. The lowest level recorded occurred last September. But with a few weeks left in the Artic summer, experts predict this year’s sea ice could plunge to an all-time low.

NASA scientist Jay Zwally told the Associated Press that within a decade the region could be completely free of sea ice during summertime.

Already hit hard by the melt is the Chukchi Sea, near Alaska, home to Alaskan polar bears. During a recent survey in the area, several bears were spotted up to 65 miles from shore. They likely were trying to reach polar ice some 400 miles away, though the longest recorded swim by a polar bear is 100 miles.