Arctic sea ice cover near average in April: snow and ice data center
But it's expected to melt quickly
Arctic sea ice cover held its own this past April, declining slowly through the first three weeks of April compared with recent years, said a recent Arctic ice update from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The slow decline through March and the first few weeks of April meant that by mid-April, sea ice extent was still at near-average levels.
Ir was the highest average sea ice extent for the month since 2001, averaging 14.73 million square kilometres, the NSIDC said.
Because of the “very slow rate of ice loss” through the last half of March and the first three weeks of April, sea ice cover for April ranked close to average out of 34 years of satellite data.
While ice conditions approached the 1979 to 2000 average levels for this time of year, that will still have little influence on how much ice melts this summer, the NSIDC said.
Much of the extensive ice cover is thin ice that will melt quickly once temperatures rise in the Arctic.
In April, sea ice cover remained slightly higher than average in Baffin Bay.
But over the past week, the sea ice cover has already started to fall sharply, the NSIDC said.