August 2012 Arctic sea ice extent reached its lowest August level in the 35-year satellite record. The record was set on August 26, generally about three weeks before the usual end of the melting season. One study suggested that the Arctic has not seen a melt like this in the last 1,400 years. By the end of September the environment in the Arctic will begin to re-freeze. However, such a large area of open, ice-free water will release a huge amount of heat and moisture to the atmosphere during the next two or three months. One possible effect may be an increase in extreme weather events this fall and winter. Only time will tell.