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Decades ago, the majority of the Arctic’s winter ice pack was made up of thick, perennial ice. Today, very old ice is extremely rare. This animation tracks the relative amount of ice of different ages from 1990 through early November 2016. Seasonal ice is darkest blue. Ice that is 9 or more years old is white. More explanation and still image comparisons are available @ http://bit.ly/2016ArcticReportCard […]

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The age of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean at winter maximum in March 1985 (left) compared with March 2016 (right). The darker the blue, the younger the ice. The first age class on the scale (1, darkest blue) means “first-year ice,” which formed in the most recent winter. The oldest ice (7+, white) is ice that is more than seven years old. Historically, most of the ice pack was many years old. Today, only a fraction of that very old ice reamins. NOAA Climate.gov maps, based on NOAA/NASA data provided by Mark Tschudi.