Arctic sea ice reaches its maximum thickness
and extent in March, at the end of winter. On the map, the white color represents the
older, stronger, thicker ice. The bars show the amount of ice in each age
group, with white being the oldest ice. This animation shows the age of Arctic sea
ice in March for every year from 1984 to 2016. The Arctic sea ice cover has transformed from
a strong, thick pack in the 1980s to a thinner, younger ice pack that is more
vulnerable to melting out in the summer, contributing to lower minimum ice extents. Thick, old ice comprised 45% of the total
ice area at the end of winter in the mid 1980s, but comprised only 22% of the total ice area
at the end of winter 2016.

Age of Arctic sea ice in March from 1984-2016
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