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National Geographic: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Warming Arctic

Climate

The rate at which Arctic sea ice is shrinking due to climate change continues to make headlines as scientists monitor and predict what is "becoming a journey into uncharted territory."

Recent data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center revealed sea ice in the Arctic hit its summer low point, tying 2007 for the second lowest extent on record.

With global temperatures on the rise and already at levels not seen in 100,000 years, melting Arctic sea ice is only expected to get worse as temperatures there are warming at least twice as fast as the global average. Mark Serreze, the director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center, said he wouldn't be surprised if the Arctic were "essentially ice free" by 2030.

"Dramatic and unprecedented warming in the Arctic is driving sea level rise, affecting weather patterns around the world and may trigger even more changes in the climate system," according to the World Meteorological Organization.

As part of his climate change documentary, Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio visited the Arctic with National Geographic explorer-in-residence Dr. Enric Sala to see for himself what is happening in the region.

While walking with DiCaprio on the edge of the sea ice in the high Canadian Arctic, Sala told him that "we will not be able to stand on the frozen sea anymore in about 25 years."

Scientific projections, he said, show that by 2040 there's going to be almost no sea ice left in the entire Arctic.

Sala sat down with National Geographic to answer five questions regarding the critical state of Earth's sea ice, and what it means for us. Watch here:

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