The Arctic ice cap has shrunk to a new low, surpassing a record set only five years ago, and is expected to keep retreating for a few more weeks, according to data released on Monday. The Arctic sea ice fell to 1.58 million square miles, or 4.10 million square kilometers, down 27,000 square miles from 2007, the lowest since satellites began measuring the ice in 1979, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The ice is expected to dwindle until mid- to late-September when the summer melting usually ends. Shrinking of the Arctic ices alarms scientists and environmentalists because the Arctic acts as the world's air conditioner, helping to moderate the globe's climate. As parts of the Arctic melted, this year has been marked by record heat in much of the Northern Hemisphere, especially across the continental United States.