Low point for Arctic sea ice

The extent of Arctic sea ice, which is melting at a rate of 29,000 square miles per day, reached its lowest point ever on Monday. Read related article

Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26, 2012

1.58 million square miles

A long warming trend and some powerful storms combined to cause more melting than usual this year.

Total area covered by more than a 15 percent concentration of ice.

Median extent of the ice for Aug. 26, 1979-2000.

Arctic sea ice on Sept. 18, 2007

1.61 million square miles

Before Monday, the previous low was in September of 2007. The ice cover is expected to shrink further in the next few weeks before colder weather returns this fall.

Total area covered by more than a 15 percent concentration of ice.

Median extent of the ice for Sept. 18, 1979-2000.

Annual Arctic sea ice in August

The amount of Arctic sea ice varies by year but has generally declined about 40 percent in the past three decades. See August ice cover since 1979.

Total area covered by more than a 15 percent concentration of ice.

Median extent of the ice in August, 1979-2000.

SOURCE: National Snow & Ice Data Center. GRAPHIC: Wilson Andrews, Bonnie Berkowitz and Laris Karklis - The Washington Post. Published Aug. 27, 2012.