New York Times: The National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, announced yesterday that the amount of sea ice in the Arctic is at the lowest level since satellite tracking began in the late 1970s. Most scientists believe that the shrinking of summer sea ice is due to global warming caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels by humans and that the polar regions appear to be particularly susceptible. White surfaces reflect sunlight, and dark ones absorb it. As snow and ice melt, more sunlight is absorbed by the exposed ground and water, which, in turn, heat up even more. Less ice means more open water for ships to sail in and easier access to oil and other mineral deposits. However, that same ice melt dramatically increases the ecological and shoreline damage and the increase in global water levels and severe weather events.