Arctic sea ice melted to its second lowest level in almost 40 years

NASA released footage of its retreat since March

Arctic sea ice has melted by almost 1.6 million square miles this year, research by the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado reported this week.

Satellites began monitoring sea ice in 1978 and 2016 has tied with 2007 in terms of seasonal ice-mass reduction.

The 2016 Arctic sea summertime minimum, reached on the 10th September is roughly 911,000 square miles below the 1981-2010 average minimum sea ice extent.

Speaking at the release of the statistics, Walt Meier, a sea scientist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center said: "It’s pretty remarkable that this year’s sea ice minimum extent ended up the second lowest, after how the melt progressed in June and July.”

Those months are "usually key months for melt because that’s when you have 24 hours a day of sunlight – and this year we lost melt momentum during those two month," he added.  

Compounding the poor results, NASA highlighted a recently published study which "ranked 37 years of monthly sea ice extents in the Arctic and Antarctic found that there has not been a record high in Arctic sea ice extents in any month since 1986. During that same time period, there have been 75 new record lows."