According to data from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC), sea ice in the frozen continent covered just 2.26 million square kilometres, dipping below the earlier 1997 record low.
Sea ice at both poles has been expected to decline as the Earth heats up due to man-made global warming. Melting of ice will have many devastating effects on the planet:
1. Existence of small island nations will be threatened due to rise in sea levels.
2. Loss of flora and fauna of these areas.
3. As water has lower albedo than ice, reflection of sunlight will reduce this higher absorption, leading to further increase in temperatures (Increased rate of global warming).
The average extent of sea ice around the South Pole has tended to expand in recent years and hit a record high of around 20.16 million square km in September 2014.