On March 17, the Arctic sea ice coverage appeared to have hit its maximum for the year. This was the second lowest maximum on record. The lowest was in 2017.
The Arctic sea ice floats in the water body around the North Pole region. The size of the coverage has been recorded by scientists since 1979. The ice cover melts and decreases in the summer months, and it refreezes and increases in the winter months. Usually, the largest sea ice cover over the Arctic is in the month of March, and the lowest is in the month of September.
The Arctic sea ice is very important. It acts like our planet’s air conditioner and helps control Earth’s climate. The sea ice reflects a large percentage of sunlight that reaches the ice back into space. The ocean surface without the ice cover would absorb a lot of the sunlight, which in turn would make the water warmer, and melt more ice.
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Did you know?
The four lowest maximum Arctic sea ice extents on record have all occurred during the last four years.
Image Credits: National Snow and Ice Data Center for the images of the Arctic sea ice in March and the graph of the Arctic sea ice extent
Sources: National Snow and Ice Data Center, https://www.nasa.gov