While many of us were wrapped up in March Madness this spring, Alaska residents and people across the globe participated in a different kind of competition.

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NASA ice expert Claire Parkinson does the math on global sea ice and confirms that small gains around Antarctica do not cancel out large losses in the Arctic.

(animation) Decades ago, the majority of the Arctic's winter ice pack was made up of thick, perennial ice. Today, very old ice is extremely rare.

 Arctic sea ice extent shrunk down to 2.0 million square miles (5.1 million square kilometers) in September 2013—18 percent below the 1981-2010 average, but larger than record low set in 2012.

While the Northern Hemisphere’s snow cover on land ranked as the 13th most extensive on record in 2013, snow cover extent at the end of the cold season has dropped by 19.9 percent per decade since 1979 relative to the 1981-2010 average.

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