The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, for its acronym in English) reported on its Climate Change portal that said extension is slightly less than the previous year when it reached 14.54 million kilometers.
According to information obtained by the Ice Data Center, the new all-time low is the result of record high temperatures recorded in December, January and February around the world.
Salt Meier, a sea ice researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, explained that atmospheric heat likely contributed to this lower maximum, with temperatures up to 10 degrees Celsius above average in the edges of the ice pack in the sea.
He recalled that each year, the plug of frozen seawater that floats on the surface of the Arctic Ocean and its neighboring seas melts during the spring and summer, and grows back in the fall and winter months, reaching its annual peak. between February and April.
However, the wind patterns in the Arctic during January and February were unfavorable for ice growth because they brought in warm air from the south, limiting the expansion of the ice cover.
Meier cautioned that what is likely to play a bigger role in the future evolution of the Arctic's maximum extent is warming ocean waters, so it is likely that in the future "we will continue to see smaller winter highs."
"Although the maximum extent of sea ice can vary greatly each year depending on winter weather conditions, we are seeing a significant downward trend, which is ultimately related to the warming of the atmosphere and oceans," he reiterated.
The expert explained that since 1979, this trend has resulted in a loss of 620,000 square miles of sea ice in winter, an area more than twice the size of Texas, the United States.
However, he clarified that this lower maximum extension of sea ice in winter will not necessarily translate into a subsequent record of low minimum degree in summer.
In any case, the climatic conditions of summer have a greater impact than the maximum extension of winter in the result of the melting season of each year since the accumulation of heat is what slows down the generation of a new ice sheet.