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.
- A lawsuit filed in federal court this week seeks to remove the residency requirement for people gathering signatures for state ballot initiatives.
- For the second time in two years, a Skagway political figure has been ordered to pay a fine for incomplete financial disclosures. Assembly hopeful Dan Henry failed to disclose substantial debt on his candidate paperwork. He will still be able to run for office in the upcoming election.
- Administration officials have a mouthful of a name for it: the “capped hybrid head tax.” It's a flat 1.5 percent of wages and self-employment income, with a maximum of twice the value of that year's Alaska Permanent Fund dividend.
- A federal district court has sided with conservationists fighting to preserve the U.S. Forest Service's "roadless rule" that limits road building in national forests. Alaska conservationists opposed to expanded logging in Tongass National Forest hailed the ruling as a victory.