|Arctic sea ice hit its lowest annual maximum on record as of March 24, after the hottest winter ever seen in the Arctic. The sea ice maximum was even lower than the record level seen last year, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. |
According to the NSIDC, the sea ice extent on March 24 was 5.607 million square miles, or 14.52 million square kilometers. This was 431,000 square miles, or 1.12 million square kilometers below the 1981-2010 average. This is about the size of the states of Texas, Arizona and Kansas combined.
|Temperature anomalies this winter were off the charts. Temperatures in the lower atmosphere from December through February were above average everywhere in the Arctic.|
|Some areas saw temperatures during the period average about 6 degrees Celsius, or 11 degrees Fahrenheit, above average.|
Since the start of the satellite era in 1979, there has been a loss of 620,000 square miles of wintertime sea ice cover, which is about twice the size of Texas.