NASA has been examining how polar ice has changed over the last decade or so. Scientists with Operation IceBridge have flown a set of eight-hour research flights over ice sheets and the Arctic Ocean to monitor Arctic ice loss. They found on March 7 that sea ice in the Arctic has reached its lowest maximum wintertime levels ever recorded. Take a look at the ice from the sky.
A plan with NASA's Operation IceBridge flies over a glacier above Ellesmere Island, Canada, on March 29, 2017. The ice fields of Ellesmere Island are retreating due to warming temperatures.
Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum level of the year at 5.57 million square miles -- the lowest in the 38-year satellite record. This year’s maximum extent is 471,000 square miles below the average from 1981 to 2010.
An Operation IceBridge plane taxis after landing at Thule Air Base on March 24, 2017, in Pituffik, Greenland. Thule Air Base is the U.S. military's northernmost base located some 750 miles above the Arctic Circle.
The view from a NASA aircraft looking over a glacier on Ellesmere Island, Canada.
Sea ice is seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge research aircraft on March 29, 2017, above Ellesmere Island.
Project scientist Nathan Kurtz and senior support scientist Jeremy Harbeck walk on their way to survey an iceberg locked in sea ice near Thule Air Base on March 26, 2017, in Pituffik, Greenland.
Sea ice meets land along the Upper Baffin Bay coast above Greenland. The Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets combined contain more than 99 percent of the freshwater ice on the planet.
Houses near Thule Air Base on March 25, 2017, in Pituffik, Greenland. The Greenland Ice Sheet covers most of the island, spanning about 656,000 square miles.
Crevasses in a glacier are seen from NASA's Operation IceBridge plane along the Upper Baffin Bay coast above Greenland on March 27, 2017.
The Thule Air Base on March 29, 2017, in Pituffik, Greenland, features a chapel.
Snowshoe hares run near Thule Air Base on March 25, 2017, in Pituffik, Greenland.
The ice fields of Ellesmere Island are retreating because of warming temperatures.