But the amount of ice found throughout most of the Arctic was even lower than in recent years, except for the region around Japan.
Severely warm temperatures drove Arctic sea ice to a high of 5.6 million square miles this winter—one of its lowest on record, according to an annual evaluation released Friday by NASA.
Yet even though there was slightly more ice overall across the northern latitudes this winter than during last year's record-breaking low, scientists saw several troubling trends during the winter of 2017-2018.
During February, temperatures skyrocketed to a wild winter high more than 45 degrees above normal in some areas, sending the North Pole—in the dead of winter, when the region is shrouded in darkness—above freezing for several days. Massive sections of Greenland, normally blanketed by thick, old ice, experienced open water for the first time on record. Much of the Bering Sea off Alaska, and, for a while, the whole of the Bering Strait, was also ice-free, "which is pretty remarkable," says NASA sea ice expert Alek Petty.