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At its maximum extent in February/March, sea ice covers about 10% of the total ocean surface in the Northern Hemisphere (Fig. 1). Except for some narrow bands along the North American and Siberian coasts, the Central Arctic Basin is ice covered throughout the year. Seasonal ice (winter only) occurs in the marginal seas: Okhotsk, Bering, Kara, Barents, Baltic, Southern Greenland, Baffin Bay-Davis Strait, Hudson’s Bay, and Canadian Archipelago (Plate 1).

The physical constitution of sea ice is that of an aggregate of pieces, ranging in size from small crystals (frazil) and fragments (brash) to solid plates many kilometers in...

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