"Arctic sea ice, a key indicator of climate change, melted to its lowest level on record this year before beginning its autumnal freeze, researchers at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center said on Wednesday."
"The extent of ice probably hit its low point on September 16, when it covered 1.32 million square miles (3.42 million square km) of the Arctic Ocean, the smallest amount since satellite records began 33 years ago.
Changing weather conditions could further shrink the extent, the center said. A final analysis is expected next month.
The record was broken on August 26, when the ice shrank below the record set in 2007. After that, it kept melting for three more weeks, bringing the ice extent - defined by NSIDC as the area covered by at least 15 percent ice - to nearly half of the 1979-2000 average."