Arctic ice at winter peak is least ever measured by satellite
A graphic shows winter's maximum extent of Arctic ice on March 7. The line is the 1979-2000 average. North America is at left.
March 30th, 2011
08:57 AM ET

Arctic ice at winter peak is least ever measured by satellite

At its peak this winter, Arctic Ocean ice covered the smallest area since satellites started measuring it in 1979, researchers report.

Arctic sea ice probably reached its maximum extent for the year on March 7, at 5.65 million square miles, according to the University of Colorado-Boulder’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.

That figure was 463,000 square miles (about the size of South Africa) less than the 1979-2000 average of 6.12 million square miles, and was about the same as in the winter of 2006, the center reported.

At its end-of-summer minimum in September, Arctic sea ice extent was the third-lowest since 1979.

Sea ice extent is the primary measure for assessing the condition of the ice cover, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The NOAA website has a time-lapse video showing how sea ice fluctuates and moves during winter.

“I’m not surprised by the new data because we’ve seen a downward trend in winter sea ice extent for some time now,” National Snow and Ice Data Center scientist Walt Meier told Science Daily.

The seven lowest measurements of end-of-winter sea ice have been recorded in the last seven years, he told Science Daily.

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Filed under: Climate change • Colorado • Earth • Environment • Science
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. James

    But I was told that global warming, um climate change, was just a myth!

    March 30, 2011 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Jazz7

      HEY, Mom's are off limits

      March 30, 2011 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      I know, but he left me an opening that was just TOO EASY to pass up. 🙂 Climate change is something I've been concerned with for years. I just wish articles like this could have been published a LOT more often.

      March 30, 2011 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Scotty

      What most people fail to state is that we only have been recording the weather for 120 years or so. AND the sattelites have been taking pictures since 1979. Both values are statistically insignificant considering the age of the earth. Ice core samples have shown that earth goes through highs and lows over the course of many millenia.

      March 30, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • lord pet

      Arctic sea ice is just one of the many variables that scientists use to determine the extent and rapidity of global warming. While the records don't go back very far, they do show a very definite trend: rapid shrinking, which is consistent with all the other data on global warming.

      March 30, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Herbert

    @James: No. You being great in bed with a woman is a myth.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      @Herbert: But that's not what your Mom said... 😉

      March 30, 2011 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
    • buddha

      you don't exist.

      March 30, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. john

    you are absolutely correct in your assumption that climate change does exist; soon it will be summer followed by fall and then winter. go hug a tree!!!

    March 30, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Herbert

    @John: The glaziers have been melting due to climate change, but John, no one is listening.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  5. Long overdue

    Funny. . .I heard that about James as well. Just waiting for NASA to release the satellite photos to back up the findings.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Les Wester from Weschester

    I've heard that things tend to melt as the seasons change and temps warm up.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ryan in Michigan

    If you look at the map, there are some areas that have more ice than before, such as Alaska, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark. The earth goes through cycles, and this happens to be a warm one. Remember the "Little Ice Age" that took hold in the early 1900s? People didn't cry "Global Warming!" when the temperature warmed up in the 40s and 50s. Give it fifty years or so and it'll cool down again.

    March 30, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. HelenHull102951

    People!! Please look at what we are leaving our grand&great grandchildren! Read up about what causes global-warming and the climate-change, then read about what we can do NOW to help turn things around and help make a difference while we can... "PLEASE"

    March 30, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Targeted Individual

    Watch a Pre-January 8th copy of Inception. Listen closely when the actors say imagine, reality, safe, and envelope, or point pistols. You'll hear the words, Loughner, offin' her, part of the word Giffords, and much more. Some say they hear, do it.

    March 30, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Pete

    People don't care about climate change. It's pretty clear now we are going to burn our coal reserves till they run out and boost world wide temperature by god knows how much. Let's just hope we don't go into a venus like state.. What does the worst case model state? Well you might as well book on that happening. Buy some real estate in Maine or something.

    The problem with climate change is that fighting it = either much higher energy prices (renewables) or more realistically a metric crapload of new nuclear power plants. And the people simply don't want that.

    Climate change is denied out of self interest. People care alot more a cheap energy then they do about warm winters and extra hurricanes.

    March 30, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • termlimits

      Finally, you folks are starting to give up! Fill your spare time helping in a soup kitchen, that is unless you're already eating in one. (P.S.- don't forget to save the tin foil.)

      March 31, 2011 at 8:21 am | Report abuse |
  11. really?

    Stupid voters in OH, WI, UT got what they voted for. I love this country

    March 30, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mmm

    "A couple of rats once ran into a granary pot. Looking at the bounty of grains, they jumped with joy and started gobbling up them as much as they can. Before long they became so huge that they couldn't possibly get out of the pot. The rats fooled themselves to believe that this is how they had to be and continue eating the grains to remain the same as then. The more they gobbled, the bigger they grew and more voracious they became. Only time will tell when the pot becomes empty and if the rats can survive the fall"

    Yes. Earth has seen cycles of rises and falls and we will also see our rise and fall. Do we want to fool ourselves like the rats and gobble uncontrolled? We are fooling ourselves to believe that the iPads, wireless, gps and all modern gadgets are absolute essentials that we can't give up. It is only going to be a detriment to our future generations.

    March 30, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hondo Barker

      This is what we call change. Time is a perception, and we are such a small part of the Earth's "time"...

      March 30, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. leeintulsa

    Just curious, i live way inland. You coastal people, water seem higher? Signed potential inland sea dweller...

    March 30, 2011 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sans of Time

    @James: Herbert's mom gets paid to make you feel good. This includes telling you what a stallion you are and how she's never had anyone bigger, even though it feels like a hot dog in a hallway. You're beter off with a warm glass of water to bury yourself in and no 2×4 is required around your waist to keep you from falling in. I always bring my spelunking gear whenever I call Mrs.Herbert Walker Cesar. 😉

    March 31, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Aha, thanks for clearing that up! 🙂

      March 31, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ice melt application

    I visited a lot of website but I conceive this one contains something extra in it. "If you train hard, you'll not only be hard, you'll be hard to beat." by Herschel Walker.

    April 27, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |