Publication Date February 18, 2016

Arctic Sea Ice Is in Record Low Territory (Again)

January Arctic sea ice extent. The orange line shows the 1981-2010 average. Photo: NASA Earth Observatory

The terms “heat wave” and “Arctic winter” are not usually synonymous, yet that’s what the main story has been in the region this winter (OK, heat wave might be a bit much so let’s call it a mild wave). Temperatures were as much as 23°F above normal in January, a key driver in the planet having its most abnormally warm month ever. That includes a period of time early in the month when temperatures cleared freezing around the North Pole, a rarity in a region where clearing 0°F is a stretch during the frigid winter.