Scientists have found that Arctic sea ice is melting for longer periods each decade. A new study by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows the sea ice has been melting during summer for an additional five days per decade since 1979. This lengthening of the melt season is causing widespread weakening of sea ice in the region. Part of what's causing the changes is increasing amounts of solar energy that's being absorbed by the sea ice and surrounding waters. Rising sea surface temperatures are delaying the start of the growth season, when Arctic sea ice begins to regenerate, by between six to 11 days each decade. And changes to sea ice thickness can be seen in some areas at a loss rate of an extra four feet per year. As the region continues to warm, scientists expect more changes to come in the future.