While this is the largest summer minimum since 2014, the NSIDC notes that the amount of multi-year sea ice this year is “one of the lowest levels in the ice age record”.
Sea ice in both the Arctic and Antarctic undergoes an annual cycle, growing in thickness and coverage over the colder months, and thinning and receding when the temperature rises. Arctic sea ice typically reaches its “summer minimum” in September – marking the point when it covers the smallest area.
Last year, the Arctic sea ice minimum clocked in at the second lowest on record – in part due to an intense heatwave over Siberia. In contrast, this year has been defined by storms and low pressure systems, which have kept temperatures low and kept older, multi-year ice moving to fill in gaps in sea ice, limiting the reduction in the extent.
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