Arctic sea ice hits new record low this winter

Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has fallen to the lowest recorded level for the winter season, according to US scientists. The maximum this year was 14.5 million sq km, said the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This is the lowest since 1979, when satellite records began. A recent study found that Arctic sea ice had thinned by 65% between 1975 and 2012.
Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics said: “The gradual disappearance of ice at the poles is is having profound consequences for people, animals and plants in the polar regions, as well as around the world, through sea level rise.”
The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said the maximum level of sea ice for winter was reached this year on 25 February and the ice was now beginning to melt as the Arctic moved into spring.
The amount measured at the end of February is 130,000 sq km below the previous record winter low, measured in 2011. An unusually warm February in parts of Alaska and Russia may have contributed to the dwindling sea ice, scientists believe.
Researchers will provide the monthly average data for March in early April, which is viewed as a better indicator of climate effects.
NSIDC scientist Walt Meier said: “The amount of ice at the maximum is a function of not only the state of the climate but also ephemeral and often local weather conditions.
“The monthly value smoothes out these weather effects and so is a better reflection of climate effects.”

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