“I’ve never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic,” said National Snow and Ice Data Center director Mark Serreze.
Arctic sea ice this year was 1.12 million square kilometers below the 1981-2010 average, and 13,000 square kilometers below last year’s record low. Most of the Arctic experienced above-average temperatures all winter, with temperatures occasionally reaching more than 20°F above average. National Snow and Ice Data Center said that these unusually warm temperatures “no doubt” played a role in the record low ice extent.
Watch this short animation that shows the Arctic sea ice freeze cycle from the last summertime minimum extent to March 24, when it reached its wintertime maximum extent: at 5.607 million square miles, it is the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record:
And watch this time lapse of the relative age of Arctic sea ice from week to week since 1990. The oldest ice (9 or more years old) is white. Seasonal ice is darkest blue. Old ice drifts out of the Arctic through the Fram Strait (east of Greenland), but in recent years, it has also been melting as it drifts into the southernmost waters of the Beaufort Sea (north of western Canada and Alaska). This video was produced by the Climate.gov team, based on data provided by Mark Tschudi, University of Colorado-Boulder:
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