Cloudy, cool August restrains melt of Arctic sea ice

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Scientists calculate that Arctic sea ice this summer dropped to its eighth lowest level on record. That's far below average, but considerably above the record low set five years ago.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center says that on Sept. 13 ice in the Arctic shrank to its smallest area of the season: 1.79 million square miles (4.64 million square kilometers).

Data center scientist Ted Scambos says the Arctic set a record for the smallest winter amount earlier this year and was close to 2012's record low levels through July. Then a cloudy and cooler than normal August kept melt to a minimum.

This year's low is 610,000 square miles (1.58 million square kilometers) below the 30-year average but 483,000 square miles (1.25 million square kilometers) above 2012's record.