>>Interviewer: As we enter the dog days of summer in the United States, things are heating up even more for farther north with melting Arctic sea ice, and here to tell us more about it, out of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland is NASA scientist Walt Meier. Thanks for joining us, Walt. >>Walt: Alright, thanks for having me. >>Interviewer: The Arctic is losing sea ice at a faster rate in recent years. How are things looking this year, and what are we seeing in the long-term trend? >>Walt: Well this year, we're reaching the end of the summer as the sea ice, the ice floating on the ocean, declines through the summer under the 24 hours of sunlight. And we're about a month away from the minimum, maybe a little bit less. And this is looking not as extreme as we've seen in some recent years, like the record low in 2012, but it is a one of the lowest that we've seen in our 36-year satellite record and it's continuing a long-term trend that we've seen since 1979 where we've lost about a third of the sea ice covered area from the Arctic Ocean and actually over half of the thickness and really two thirds of the volume. So we've really seen a dramatic change in the ice cover over the last 35 years or so. >>Interviewer: Why are we seeing these changes in the Arctic? >>Walt: Well, basically the Earth is warming. And the warmer temperatures are melting the ice, and we're seeing particularly warming in the Arctic and that's actually part of a feedback with the sea ice, where as the warming temperatures melt the ice, the ice goes away and the ice that acts as a reflector of the Sun's energy and helps keep things cool is disappearing. And then the ocean, which is much darker, and more absorptive of the Sun's energy, there's more ocean exposed and it's warming up the ocean and melting more ice and then warming the atmosphere, as we get this amplification of the warming in the Arctic. >>Interviewer: What is NASA doing to understand these changes? >>Walt: Well NASA's been looking at the sea ice for well over 35 years, with satellites and aircraft, and this year we have a particularly exciting mission called ARISE that's flying up over the Arctic sea ice. It's leaving next week actually, at the end of August. And it's going to be flyling over sea ice and through the clouds and looking at the interaction between the clouds and the atmosphere and the sea ice itself to see how these interact and better understand the processes that are driving the loss of the sea ice as well as potentially changes in the Arctic climate and weather. >>Interviewer: How will these changes affect the United States? >>Walt: Well, as I mentioned the Arctic climate is changing. But what happens in the Arctic doesn't stay in the Arctic. It's not like Las Vegas. What we see is the Arctic is very much connected to the lower latitudes and to the United States, particularly through the jet stream, which is the high-level fast winds that flow across the United States. And sometimes they get wavier which lets air come down from the Arctic, and actually that leads to extreme weather patterns. And we're seeing a more wavy pattern as the sea ice has been going down over the last decades. >>Interviewer: Where can we learn more? >>Walt: You can learn a little more at NASA.gov/EarthRightNow, where you can see information on all of NASA's many satellites that are looking at all aspects of the Earth, as well as images and other information. Anything you really want to know about with what NASA's doing to study the Earth. >>Interviewer: Dr. Walt Meier, thank you very much for joining us. >>Walt: Alright, thank you.