Arcitc sea ice hit a record low, exposing more open ocean. (Credit: USGS)
The National Snow and Ice Data Center reports that Arctic Sea ice winter peak broke the record low set in 2011, according to Scientific American. Multiple factors caused the low peak including warm temperatures, a premature peak and shrinking sea ice levels. Typically, the sea ice reaches its peak in March. The sea ice extent was measured at 5.61 million square miles, about a 7 percent decrease from the 1881-2010 average.
Arctic sea ice is closely monitored because of its importance to polar dwelling animals and its potential economic benefits. Research shows Arctic sea ice has declined by nearly 5 percent every 10 years. NSIDC scientists say ice thickness is a major concern and will release an analysis of winter ice thickness levels in April.
Top image: Arcitc sea ice hit a record low, exposing more open ocean. (Credit: USGS)