Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
Average ice extent for May 2011 was 12.79 million square kilometers (4.94 million square miles). This is 210,000 square kilometers (81,000 square miles) above the previous record low for the month, set in May 2004
Arctic weather in the next few months will be a critical factor in how much ice remains at the end of the melt season. New research led by James Screen at the University of Melbourne shows that the storms that move northwards into the Arctic from the lower latitudes during summer strongly influence sea ice extent at the end of summer. Years with dramatic ice loss, such as 2007, have been associated with comparatively warm, calm, and clear conditions in summer that have encouraged ice melt. Summers with slow melt rates are opposite and tend to be stormier than average. The number of storms influences how warm, windy and cloudy the Arctic summer is.