9/16/2010 1:47:26 PM

Arctic Summer Sea Ice Losses Continue

This summer's sea ice coverage in the Arctic was the third lowest since satellite monitoring began in 1979, according to a new report by the National Snow and Ice Data Center. Retreating arctic sea ice puts polar bears, walrus, and other ice-dependent wildlife at risk.

The center said that sea ice coverage on Friday was recorded at a summer low of 1.84 million square miles. The ice cover appeared to have reached its minimum extent for the year that day.

The average September sea ice extent from 1979 to 2000 was 2.7 million square miles. This year's coverage was 753,000 square miles fewer than that number. The record low for summer sea ice coverage was set in 2007 at 1.65 million square miles.

 "We're on a clear path to a seasonal ice-free Arctic," said Brendan Cummings, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity. "There may be year-to-year fluctuations, but the clear path is unidirectional."

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