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Arctic sea ice levels are recording at a record low, after July recording the seventh warmest temperatures since 1880.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association monthly report, the average surface land temperature in July was 1.51 degrees fahrenheidt above the 20th century average for the month, being the fifth warmest July on record.
NOAA has also reported a staggeringly low level of arctic ice. The average for July was 21.6 percent below average. This is the lowest recorded since satellite recordings began in 1979.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, as of August 14, the Arctic ice extent – a two-dimensional measuring of Arctic ice cover – was 5.56 million square km.
This loss, which has slowed down in late July can be linked to high-pressure weather that persisted over the northern Beaufort Sea. When the weather patter broke, the loss slowed. However, another high-pressure weather pattern is said to be on path to return.
Some scientists feel that measuring the extent is not enough, says the Alaska Dispatch. The thickness and volume of Arctic ice, while difficult to measure, is important to consider, as thinner ice is more susceptible to melting during the warmer summer months.
Ice volume is found by combining thickness and area. While this is difficult to do physically, computer models aid in these estimations.
When measuring the volume through July this year, the volume of arctic ice has been recorded well below the averages for each month, as well as below the 2007 averages, which held the record low ice extent.
The implications, while scientifically disputed show that people of the Arctic area are already being affected. NSIDC says that the polar ice cap in the Arctic Ocean now covers the second smallest area ever seen this time of year.