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Arctic Sea Ice Heads for Record Low as Melt

The Arctic Ocean’s ice cover is shrinking at a record pace this year after higher-than-average temperatures hastened the annual break-up of the sea ice.

The area of ocean covered by ice shrank to 4.93 million square kilometers (1.9 million square miles) on average for the five days through Aug. 15, according to the latest data from the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado. With as many as five weeks of the annual melt season left, it’s already the fourth-lowest annual minimum ever measured.