The 2011 Arctic sea ice extent maximum that marks the beginning of the melt season appears to be tied for the lowest ever measured by satellites, say scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder’s National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The CU-Boulder research team believes the lowest annual maximum ice extent of 5,650,000 square miles occurred on March 7. The maximum ice extent was 463,000 square miles below the 1979-2000 average, an area slightly larger than the states of Texas and California combined. The 2011 measurements were tied with those from 2006 as the lowest maximum sea ice extents measured since satellite record keeping began in 1979. (more…)