Here, in a sneak peak of my monthly `State of the Poles` post, I wanted to mark a significant event: the area of Arctic sea ice has fallen below the climatological minimum. This occurs with ~6 weeks left in the Arctic melt season. In similar fashion as in other recent years, UIUC data show Arctic sea ice area values at a stunning -2 million sq. km. below the average value for this date in time. Instead of 6.5 million sq. km., today’s value is 4.5 million sq. km., the record lowest for this calendar day. Conditions on the Pacific side of the Arctic sea ice pack (another graphic here) are starting to deteriorate, so rapid melt of additional hundreds of thousands of sq. km. of sea ice could occur in the next month or so. The recorded history yearly minimum sea ice area is ~2.91 million sq. km. Stay tuned for this year’s minimum, which will likely occur in early September.