SeaIce
On July 20, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy steamed south in the Arctic Ocean toward the edge of the sea ice. PHOTO: NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center

The area of sea ice naturally grows and shrinks with the seasons. In September, 2007, scientists observed the lowest Arctic ice area ever recorded since ice monitoring with satellites began in 1979. On August 26, 2012, Arctic ice area dipped below the 2007 record. Since minimum area is in September, melting will shrink the remaining ice for several more weeks. Climate scientists think this new record and timing may signal an important shift in long-term Arctic climate.