Arctic sea ice is second lowest ever

Arctic sea ice is at its second lowest extent ever, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. The previous record low for September was in 2005.

“While slightly above the record-low minimum set last year, this season further reinforces the strong negative trend in summer sea ice extent observed during the past 30 years,” the NSIDC reported.

The daily rate of ice loss usually starts to slow in August, but this year, it continued its steady decline. The average daily loss rate for this August was 30,000 square miles a day—the fastest rate of loss scientists have observed since satellite photographs began in 1979.

The data came as the Northwest and Northeast passages, above North America and Russia, respectively, are free of ice for the first time.