Sunday, March 14, 2010

Arctic Ice Extent Recovers to Near-Average Levels

After appearing to level off at the end of January and again in the second half of February, a change in the weather brought Arctic ice extent roaring back at the beginning of March, running up to a peak only modestly below seasonal average levels around March 4–7. Most of the newly formed ice is in the Pacific Ocean and Baltic Sea, where it will have little effect on the Arctic Ocean. However, ice also solidified in the important boundary areas on the European and Atlantic sides of the Arctic. This new ice could not be much more than half a meter thick, since it formed just a few weeks ago, and is sure to melt away during the spring, but in the meantime, it may protect ice in the area of the North Pole from some of the effects of waves and surface temperatures.