On Thursday, scientists representing the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) came up with a surprising announcement.

Every year, during the winter months, sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean expands. The thickness of the ice reaches the maximum level between February and March. However, according to the scientists at the NSIDC, this year’s winter has seen the lowest ever expansion of the sea ice; at least the records are suggesting so

NISDC, when explaining the matter, said that it’s quite difficult to pinpoint the exact winter maximum. This is because at times sea ice tend to surge late i.e. around the final days of the winter.

However, the agency has also pointed out that it’s unlikely that this year will witness any further growth in the level of frozen water. Here, it must be mentioned that the ice level on Arctic Ocean was last measured on February 25.

A recently released NASA video has also showcased the difference between growth of the ice layer in 2014-2015 and that of the previous years.

The moment the frozen seawater hits the winter maximum, it starts melting. As expected, the speed of melting remains pretty low during the spring months and increases during the winter months.

For those who don’t know: the ice layer on the Arctic Ocean has been getting slimmer almost with every passing year. This is probably because of the changing climatic conditions of our planet.

Must Read: Arctic Sea Ice at LOWEST EVER recorded level, says NSIDC (+video)

Scientists say that the primary reason behind melting of Arctic ice is global warming. The other significant factor is triggering the melt, according to them, is the series of pollutants formed due to human activities.

What’s extremely alarming is that the vanishing of sea ice may have some far-reaching consequences. It can end up unlocking different frozen areas resulting in gas and oil explosions. Above all, melting of ice might change the European and North American weather patterns completely.