(Photo: National Snow and Ice Data Center)National Snow and Ice Data Center has issued an update to Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis describing a winter sea ice conditions in the Arctic Ocean.

The Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year on March 21st at 14, 91 million square kilometres (5,76 square miles), making it the fifth lowest maximum in the satellite record.

Arctic sea ice extent for May averaged 12.78 million square kilometers (4.93 million square miles). This is 610,000 square kilometers (235,500 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average for the month. May 2014 was now the third lowest May extent in the satellite record.

As the melt season is underway, the see ice extent becomes even lower during the month of June. Sea ice retreated most rapidly in the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas, and in the Barents Sea where a small area south of the Franz Josef Land archipelago opened early in the month.

Click here for more information about the recent Arctic sea ice extent news and analysis.