Arctic sea ice shrunk to its second-lowest size this summer, up 10% from last year's record, reports Reuters. The melting may not appear as noteworthy as that of 2007, said one research scientist, but the season's conditions prove otherwise. Last year's mix of warm air and favorable winds shifted the ice, prodding the melt; this year was cooler and lacked winds, "yet we still came pretty close to the record," said Walt Meier.
"In terms of long-term climate, it's not a recovery in any sense of the word," he said. "The long-term trend is still steeply downward and getting steeper." One channel of the Northwest Passage remained open for a second time this year; the Northern Sea Route, which runs along the Siberian Cost, opened for the first time. Since 1979 summer ice cover has dropped 33%.