(February sea ice extent from 1979 to present. Source National Snow and Ice Data Center.)

February 2011 tied February 2005 for the lowest [Arctic] ice extent for the month in the satellite record [since 1979]. Including 2011, the February trend is now at -3.0 percent per decade.

Other statements from NSIDC:

* February ice extent remained below normal in both the Atlantic and Pacific sectors, particularly in the Labrador Sea and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

* While ice extent has declined less in winter months than in summer, the downward winter trend is clear.

* Air temperatures over most of the Arctic Ocean in February were between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius (4 and 7 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal.