Arctic Arctic sea ice winter maximum may be record low

The regions where sea ice is particularly low this winter – the Bering Sea and Russia’s Sea of Okhotsk – are areas where ice normally melts out in summer anyway.

Arctic sea ice coverage appears headed for a record-low winter maximum this year, and the annual melt appears to be off to a very early start, according to information from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The maximum extent of 5.59 million square miles, reached  Feb. 25, was lower than any other year’s winter maximum and 6.35 percent lower than the 1981-2010 average, according to the Boulder-based center. Sea ice extent has trended down since that date; ice extent usually peaks around the middle of March and last year peaked on the spring equinox, March 21, Alaska Dispatch News reports.