Arctic Sea Ice Hits Record Low Winter Maximum

OSLO, March 19 (Reuters) - Arctic sea ice this year is the smallest in winter since satellite records began in 1979, in a new sign of long-term climate change, U.S. data showed on Thursday.

The ice floating on the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole reached its maximum annual extent of just 14.54 million square kms (5.61 million sq miles) on Feb. 25 - slightly bigger than Canada - and is now expected to shrink with a spring thaw.

"This year's maximum ice extent was the lowest in the satellite record, with below-average ice conditions everywhere except in the Labrador Sea and Davis Strait," the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said in a statement.


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