The maximum area of Arctic ice this year was 14.88 million square km. This figure is among the top ten anti-records in the history of observations, according to the US National Ice and Snow Center.
Arctic sea ice peaked this year on February 25th. The total ice cover area was 14.88 million square km. This is the tenth lowest figure in 44 years of satellite observations. The minimum value of the size of the Arctic ice at the peak of distribution reached in 2017: then the maximum area of the ice cover was 14.41 million square km.
The researchers note that the reduction of the ice cover in different parts of the Arctic Ocean occurred in different ways. In the Barents and Okhotsk Seas, ice covered a noticeably smaller area than usual. At the same time, in the Baffin Sea and off the southeast coast of Greenland, ice has spread further south than the historical average.
The scientists also noted that on the same day, February 25, the extent of sea ice near the south pole reached its lowest point on record. For the first time, the area of sea ice in Antarctica has fallen below 2 million square kilometers. At the point of maximum reduction, the ice covered 1.92 million square kilometers of water.
The extent of sea ice increases and decreases with the seasons. In the Arctic, it reaches its maximum, usually in March. Then there is a slow melting until September. In the southern hemisphere off the coast of Antarctica, the opposite is true.
To estimate the extent of sea ice, researchers use satellite imagery. Photos are received on a daily basis. Each image pixel corresponds to a square with a side length of 25 km.