"Astonishing" arctic ice melt sets new record

Arctic sea ice has melted dramatically this summer, smashing the previous record. The Arctic has warmed dramatically compared with the rest of the planet, and scientists say that’s what’s driving this loss of ice.

To be sure, ice on the Arctic Ocean always melts in the summer. Historically, about half of it is gone by mid-September. But this year, three-fourths of the ice has melted away, setting a dramatic new benchmark.

“It didn’t just touch the record, it really drove right through it,” says Ted Scambos at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, at the University of Colorado. He says the previous record was set in 2007. This year, the additional area that melted is the size of Texas. And the melt season may have a few days to go.