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Arctic sea ice shrinks to 6th lowest; lower than 2013 but up from 2012

A polar bear stands on a ice floe in Baffin Bay above the Arctic circle.
A polar bear stands on a ice floe in Baffin Bay above the Arctic circle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

NEW YORK – Ice in Arctic seas shrank this summer to the sixth lowest level in 36 years of monitoring.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the ice reached its seasonal minimum on Sept. 17 of 5 million square kilometres. That’s down a bit from 2013, but not near as low as the record-setting 2012. It is still 19 per cent below average.

Arctic sea ice extent for September 17, 2014 was 5.02 million square kilometers. The orange line shows the 1981 to 2010 average extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. National Snow and Ice Data Center

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Scientists are concerned about the ice melting from man-made global warming because the melting may change the weather further south. Studies have linked the ice melting to changes in the jet stream, which can produce extreme weather.

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Meanwhile, ice in Antarctic waters is hitting record high levels. Scientists attribute that to local climatic conditions.

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