Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent this year on March 21.
According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, this year’s extent averaged 5.7 million square miles – that’s more than a quarter-of-a-million miles less than the average extent measured between 1981 and 2010, but it is also slightly above the record low measured in 2006.
This year’s was the fifth lowest maximum extent measured, but it’s also the fifth latest in terms of timing since researchers began keeping records 35 years ago.
Scientists attribute a brief surge in sea ice extent in mid-March to winds over both the Barents and Bering Seas that pushed ice pack south temporarily.
Scientists say air temperatures over the Arctic in late march were unusually high.
- Juneau Finance Director Bob Bartholomew projected Gov. Bill Walker’s veto of about half of dividend funds will cost the city.
- Only three votes now separate two northern Alaska House candidates. Dean Westlake of Kotzebue has 780 votes, ahead of 777 votes for incumbent Rep. Ben Nageak, who’s from Barrow.
- Bus passes, child-care assistance, work clothing and other resources to get low-income tribal members into jobs are being cut in seven Southeast Communities..
- The U.S. Northern Command and Coast Guard have launched a major field-training exercise off Alaska’s northwest coast. Arctic Chinook is intended to demonstrate how local, state and federal agencies would respond to a simulated cruise ship accident. Coincidentally, a big luxury cruise ship will sail through the area while the exercise is under way. And to further complicate things, bad weather has just set in.