The latest satellite data shows the winter
maximum extent of Arctic sea ice this year is the lowest recorded
since measurements began in 1979. Provisional
data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center
in the US shows 2015 has broken the previous record set in 2011 by
130,000 square kilometers.
Warm air temperatures in the Arctic have been a
key reason why less ice has formed this winter, the NSIDC
It's around this time of year when the freeze-up
of Arctic sea ice through the winter hits a peak, and signals the
start of the melt season in spring and summer.
Using satellites, scientists can mark this point
every year, recording when the Arctic sea ice hit its largest
extent and the size it reached.
For 2015, the NSIDC thinks this point was on 25
February, when sea ice covered 14.54 million sq km. At 1.1 million
sq km smaller than the 1981-2010 average, this year has set a new
record for the lowest winter peak.