Feb. 26 (UPI) -- Despite glimpses of spring across much of the continental United States, winter remains. In the Arctic, that means snow and ice reigns.
In a newly shared NASA photo, the intersection of snow-covered land, sea, ice and cold water features prominently.
But while the visual of Canada's coast, captured by NASA's Terra satellite, may trigger spinal shivers, this year's winter has been worryingly mild. Though the ice in this Terra image is close to the mid-winter average for the region, the sea ice extent throughout the rest of Arctic remains much lower than normal.
Last year, sea ice extent on both poles hit record lows.
In the image, the sea ice can be seen buffering the land from the sea. The far edge of the sea ice has grown wispy, white fingers, as new ice forms but fails to coalesce into the sheet.
Partially hidden by wind-strewn clouds, the deep blues below belong to the Labrador Sea, which separates Arctic Canada from Greenland. Here, cold water sinks and begins to move southward, driving the large-scale circulation known as "the great ocean conveyor belt."
Because global warming has been most pronounced at the poles, scientists worry that as the Arctic continues to warm, the ocean's conveyor belt will slow, significantly altering global weather patterns.