On April 6, 2016, the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) has indicated “… Low Arctic sea ice extent for March caps a highly unusual winter in the Arctic, characterized by persistent warmth in the atmosphere that helped to limit ice growth…”.
A recently published study in the journal Arctic Science pointed out: “… Sea ice is declining over much of the Arctic. In Hudson Bay the ice melts completely each summer, and advances in break-up have resulted in longer ice-free seasons. Consequently, earlier break-up is implicated in declines in body condition, survival, and abundance of polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) in the Western Hudson Bay (WH) subpopulation…”.
This short animation shows the Arctic sea ice freeze cycle from the last summertime minimum extent to March 24 2016, when it reached its wintertime maximum extent: at 5.607 million square miles, it is the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record.