Arctic sea ice appears to have reached on March 7, a record low during wintertime. The report was submitted by scientists at NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.
And on the opposite side of the planet on March 3, sea ice around Antarctica hit its lowest extent ever recorded by satellites in the Southern Hemisphere.
The ice floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas shrinks in a seasonal cycle from mid-March until mid-September. As the Arctic temperatures drop in the autumn and winter, the ice cover grows again until it reaches its yearly maximum extent, typically in March.
The ring of sea ice around the Antarctic continent behaves in a similar manner, with the calendar flipped: it usually reaches its maximum in September and its minimum in February.
It is too early to tell if this year marks a shift in the behavior of Antarctic sea ice, said Walt Meier (Sea Ice Scientist at NASA).