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Arctic wintertime sea ice extent is among lowest on record

23 March 2018

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Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and NASA.

On 17 March, the Arctic sea ice cover peaked at 5.59 million square miles (14.48 million square kilometres), making it the second lowest maximum on record, at about 23,200 square miles (60,000 square kilometres) larger than the record low maximum reached on 07 March 2017.

More significantly from a scientific perspective, the last four years reached nearly equally low maximum extents and continued the decades-long trend of diminishing sea ice in the Arctic. This year's maximum extent was 448,000 square miles (1.16 million square kilometres) — an area larger than Texas and California combined – below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum extent.

Source: NASA

Image credit: NASA/ Nathan Kurtz - On 17 March, the Arctic sea ice cover peaked at 5.59 million square miles (14.48 million square kilometers), making it the second lowest maximum on record.

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