NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NASA / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Arctic ice minimum extent. Satellite image showing the Arctic polar ice cap at its annual minimum extent on 16th September 2012. The Arctic sea ice (white with blue tint) reaches a minimum in September, at the end of the Arctic summer. This minimal ice area is called the perennial ice cover. The perennial ice has been steadily decreasing since satellites began observing it in 1979, at a rate of about 10 percent per decade. This was the lowest recorded minimum, at just over 3.4 million square kilometres. This decrease is attributed to global warming. Data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSMI) instrument on the US Air Force's Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP).
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