ARCTIC ICE: Yearly maximum reached, now the melt is on - KMSP-TV

ARCTIC ICE: Yearly maximum reached, now the melt is on

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Meteorologist Cody Matz Meteorologist Cody Matz

Scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center announced the ultimate sign of spring: Arctic sea ice reached its winter peak on March 21, 2014, and the annual melt season is underway.


This winter's maximum sea ice extent in the Arctic was 14.91 million square kilometers (5.76 million square miles), making it the fifth smallest winter maximum since satellite records began in 1979.

Meanwhile, Southern Hemisphere sea ice reached its annual low point on February 23, 2014. This year's summer minimum extent was 3.54 million square km (1.37 million square mi), which was the fourth largest in the satellite record.

The sea ice patterns in the Arctic and Antarctic have been polar opposites over the last few years, pun intended. While sea ice continues to fall well below what is considered normal in the Arctic, the Antarctic sea ice has been on the rise since 2005 reaching its highest extent in the winter season just last year. There are parts of the Antarctic continent that continue to show signs of thinning ice, but the gains appear to be keeping up with the losses.

Clearly, that is not the case in the Arctic with multiyear sea ice almost nonexistent just a couple years ago, however, it may actually be trying to return with multiyear sea ice jumping almost 10% in the last year.

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