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Over the past several months, the Arctic Sea ice extent has been running at satellite-era record lows (for that given time of year); however, the rate of decline during the month of May was slow, especially in the Atlantic sector of the Arctic. For that reason, May 2017 ended up as just the fourth lowest extent on record for that particular month going back to 1979.
The most recent plot of Arctic sea ice extent.
Plot of May Arctic sea ice extents going back to 1979.
Some key points that were made in the NSIDC sea ice report......
--Sea ice retreated in the Chukchi Sea earlier than seen at any other time in the satellite data record.
--NOAA reports that the amount of open water north of 68 degrees north at this time of year is unprecedented.
Antarctic sea ice extent
The NSIDC map below shows the most recent Antarctic sea ice extent compared to the past several years.
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