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Aug 27, 2012 12:22 PM by Matt Stafford

Warm Arctic sets record for summer sea ice melt

WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists say critical ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to record low levels this overheated summer.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007. Figures are based on satellite records dating back to 1979.

Data center scientist Ted Scambos says the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

Scientists say Arctic sea ice - ocean water that freezes - helps moderate temperatures lower on the globe and is crucial for polar bears. Greenland has also had record melt this year.

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