In the mid-1980s, the winter sea ice pack in the Arctic was dominated by multi-year ice—ice that had survived at least one summer melt. Today, less than half of the sea ice at winter maximum has survived at least one summer.

The low ice extent recorded this September continued the downward trend seen over the last 30 years. Meanwhile, scientists are finding that the ice cover has grown thinner, making it more vulnerable to melting during the summer.

Arctic sea ice extent for the month of March was the second lowest in the satellite record. Ice cover at winter maximum continues to be dominated by young, thin ice.

Records from the last five decades show that on average, spring snow is disappearing earlier in the year than it did in the past. 

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