The Arctic sea ice cover appears to have reached its minimum extent for the year. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this summer’s ice coverage is the third-smallest recorded since satellites began measuring minimum sea ice extent in 1979. While this year’s minimum extent was greater than the past two years, it is still below the long-term average, and well outside the range of natural variability.
On September 12, sea ice extent dropped to 5.10 million square kilometers (1.97 million square miles), according to the center's website. This appears to have been the lowest point of the year, as sea ice has now begun its annual cycle of growth in response to autumn cooling.