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 June 03, 2010
As 2010 warms up, Arctic sea ice at record low

  U.S. data indicate that Arctic sea ice is at a record low for this time of year as 2010 shapes up to be one of the warmest years ever.

Scientists at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center report that Arctic sea ice -- frozen seawater floating on the ocean surface -- is at its lowest physical level for the season and is on course to break the previous record low set in 2007, reports the Guardian, a British media outlet.

Also, research from the University of Washington's polar science center suggests that the volume of sea ice in March 2010 was 38% below the 1979 level when records began, according to the story.

Other recent U.S. data indicate 2010 is on record to be the warmest ever recorded. The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) and NASA both reported last month that the first four months of this year were setting records. They use data that go back to 1880.

NCDC reported Earth's combined land and ocean average surface temperature from January-April was 56 degrees, which is 1.24 degrees above the 20th-century average, according to USA TODAY colleague Doyle Rice. He said El Nino, a periodic natural warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean, is partly to blame for the unusual warmth.