Arctic sea ice melts to its lowest extent. The dotted yellow line indicates the average area from 1979 to 2000
SUBHANKAR BANERJEE / AP
Some 23,000 of these magnificent predators roam the Arctic today. By 2100 dwindling ice could wipe them out.
Air Force photo / A1C Peter Reft
Shoveling snow during arctic survival training at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
An Arctic tern.
The crew of the Greenpeace ship My Arctic Sunrise construct a heart with the flags of the 193 country members of the United Nations on an ice floe north of the Arctic Circle on September 14, 2012.
National Snow and Ice Data Cener
Arctic sea ice extent for August 26, 2012 (right) was 4.10 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles), which was 70,000 square kilometers (27,000 square miles) below the September 18, 2007 daily extent of 4.17 million square kilometers (1.61 million square miles)
Natalia Kolesnikova / AFP / Getty
A sign reading "Gas!" in Novy Urengoi, just below the Arctic Circle in far northern Russia
The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward / AP
Arctic sea ice is melting so fast that most of it could be gone in 30 years, according to a report in April 2009
This visualization shows the extent of Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26, 2012, the day the sea ice dipped to its smallest extent ever recorded in more than three decades of satellite measurements, according to scientists from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
courtesy North Slope Borough
An unknown blob floats in the Arctic Ocean off Alaska's North Slope
Eric Bouvet / Getty
The Russian Arctic base.
VINCENT J. MUSI
Beyond these mountains lies the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge's coastal plain, a magnificent battleground
Dan Crosbie / Canadian Ice Service / AP
Two polar bears on a chunk of ice in the Arctic off Northern Alaska.
Keren Su / Corbis
Polar bears near the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen, which borders the Arctic Ocean