New data has shown that Arctic sea ice levels plunged to a record low for the month of July in more than three decades of record-keeping.
The report from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), also said that the globe experienced its seventh warmest July since record keeping began in 1880.
Average ice extent in July was 3.06 million square miles, 81,000 square miles lower than the previous record low for the month, set in July 2007 when Arctic sea ice recorded unprecedented low levels and about 22 percent below the average for the month, NOAA reported.
Scientists say the waning of sea ice, which is caused by weather changes, will in turn lead to even more climate warming. The loss of summer sea ice is already affecting the land and people near the Arctic Ocean.
According to researchers, Arctic sea ice has been declining since the start of satellite monitoring in 1979. This declining trend has been worrying scientists as sea ice plays an important role in global climate.
“The bright white sea ice reflects sunlight and heat back into space, keeping the Arctic region cooler than it otherwise would. The cold temperatures in the Arctic in turn act as a sort of air conditioner for the rest of the world,” according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
Ice loss slowed towards the end of July as a high-pressure cell centered over the northern Beaufort Sea broke down and a series of low-pressure systems moved over the central Arctic Ocean. This change brought cooler conditions and likely pushed the ice apart into a thinner but more extensive ice cover.
Meanwhile, the average temperature for land and sea surface combined was 61.4 degrees Fahrenheit in July, which was 1.03 degrees above the 20th century average of 60.4, NOAA reported.
The average global land surface temperature was 59.31, 1.51 degrees above the 20th century average, making it the fifth warmest July on record on land.
Around the world, warmer-than-average conditions occurred across Northern Europe, western and eastern Russia, and most of North America, while Central Russia, Western Europe, the western United States and southwestern Canada saw a cooler July than usual.