Arctic sea ice keeps melting away. This year, the maximum extent of winter sea ice was the smallest on record. News story after news story covered this grim milestone with digital renderings of the Earth’s shrinking arctic cover, but those images only tell half the story.

While ice is shrinking, it is also thinning. Beneath the white expanse, warming waters are consuming sea ice. Even if ice appears stable from above, it may rapidly be melting under the surface of the water.

Scientists rely on satellites to record the volume of ice, not just the area, and the volume of ice has suffered a hasty decline. At the current rate of melting, the Arctic could see ice-free summers within a decade.

Jeremy Deaton writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated news service covering climate, energy, policy, art and culture. You can follow him @deaton_jeremy.