KCBS_740WASHINGTON (AP) — Arctic sea ice this summer shrank to its second lowest level since scientists started to monitor it by satellite.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Colorado said the sea ice reached its summer low point on Saturday, extending 1.6 million square miles (4.14 million square kilometers). That’s behind only 2012’s 1.31 million square miles (3.39 million square kilometers).

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Center director Mark Serreze said this year’s level technically was 3,800 square miles (9,842 square kilometers) less than 2007, but that’s so close the two years are essentially tied.

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This year’s minimum level is nearly 1 million square miles (2.59 million square kilometers) smaller than the 1979 to 2000 average. That’s the size of Alaska and Texas combined.

Scientists blame man-made climate change.

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