Arctic sea ice continued its long-running disappearing act in the summer of 2012.
On September 16, 2012, sea ice in the Arctic reached a new record low, covering less area than at any point in the three decades of satellite records. Arctic sea ice melts each spring and summer, reaching its minimum size in mid-September. During the fall and winter months the ice returns, beginning a new freeze-thaw cycle. However, as ocean and surface temperatures in the Arctic have increased in recent decades, analysis by NASA scientists has shown the area of the annual sea ice minimum is declining even faster than climate models predicted. What's worse is that this trend has shown no sign of letting up. The visualization shows satellite measurements of the Arctic sea ice minimum each year from 1979 to 2012, a period in which the area of the minimum shrunk by half.