NOAA on Monday issued an animated video that reveals just how drastically sea ice has diminished in the Arctic Ocean. It's at an all-time low and, for the first time since satellite observations began in 1979, the ice cover is less than 4 million square kilometers (1.54 miles).
The footage is somewhat self-explanatory but the description beneath the video states: "The black area represents the daily (median) average sea ice extent over the 1979-2000 time period. Layered over the top of that are the daily satellite measurements from January 1 -- September 14, 2012.
"A rapid melt begins in July, whereby the 2012 ice extents fall far below the historical average. The National Snow and Ice Data Center will confirm the final minimum ice extent data and area once the melt stabilizes, usually in mid-September."
The diminishing sea ice beat the 2007 record on Aug. 26.