Arctic sea ice hit a record low level for the second straight year this month amid high winter temperatures over the Arctic Ocean, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and Nasa.
On March 24, sea ice extent over the Arctic Ocean averaged 14.52 million square kilometers, beating last year's record low of 14.54 million square kilometers (5.612 million square miles) on Feb. 25.
"I've never seen such a warm, crazy winter in the Arctic. The heat was relentless," said NSIDC director Mark Serreze.
The scientists said air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean for the months of December, January and February were 2 to 6 degrees Celsius (4 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit) above average throughout the Arctic's regions.
Average global temperatures in February were 1.35 degree Celsius (2.4 Fahrenheit) above normal for that time of year, the biggest temperature excess recorded for any month against a baseline of 1951-80, according to Nasa data released earlier this month.