Higher than average sea surface temperatures drove dramatic reductions in the concentration of sea ice in the Arctic during July 2012. These elevated temperatures can be seen in the image on the left, where areas of intense red indicate much higher than normal sea surface temperatures. The image is paired with the sea ice concentration for the same period of July 1-31, 2012. Areas with higher than normal sea surface temperature appear to co-occur with areas of no sea ice or reduced concentration. The extent of sea ice in the Arctic was 21.4% below the average for July in 2012 – the second lowest on record for any July since satellite observations began in 1979. Only 2011 had a lower average July sea ice extent in the Arctic.