For much of Alaska, lack of snow, soaking rains, and record-warmth have made October feel more like September.

Since 2002, Octobers in Barrow, Alaska—America's northernmost town—are regularly near the warmest on record, thanks to the retreat of sea ice. The warming hinders traditional hunting activities, makes the town more vulnerable to storm surge flooding, and thaws the frozen ground to greater depths, which destabilizes roads, house foundations, and traditional underground freezers.

The globe experienced its eighth warmest October since record keeping began in 1880. Arctic sea ice extent was the second smallest extent on record for October at 23.5 percent below average.

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