Some Key Points
- The Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September.
- September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 12.8 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.
- Commercial shipping is now able to navigate the Arctic.
The satellite image from NASA shows the September minimum in 2012, with a yellow line marking the average minimun for the 30 years prior to this image. The retreat of Arctic sea ice has been predicted as the planet warms, but the rate of reduction has been much more rapid than anticipated.