The growth of Arctic sea ice this winter peaked reached another milestone. The ice covering the Arctic is at near record lows this year, and this icy deficit may impact weather around the world, NASA reports.
It recorded the lowest maximum level of ice on record, thanks to extraordinarily warm temperatures.
Every March, the Arctic’s sea ice reaches its maximum cover, both in area and thickness, before it recedes to its yearly minimum in September. Live Science spoke with NASA scientist Walt Meier yesterday (March 25) to learn more about the low sea-ice level and what it means for the rest of the planet.
Records go back to 1979 when satellites started measuring sea ice, which forms when Arctic Ocean water freezes. This year’s ice didn’t break the record by much, but it’s ‘an exclamation point’ on a longer-term trend, said Nasa scientist Walt Meier, who helped calculate the data.
This winter has been extremely warm, Meier said. “Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees Fahrenheit [5.5 to 8.3 degrees Celsius] above normal [in the Arctic]. And we see that reflected in the very low sea-ice cover that generally grows to its maxima [maximum] around this time of year.”