(AGI) London, Mar 20 - Arctic ice, which last summer shrank tominimum levels with the opening of the once mythical Northwestand Northeast passages, has fared no better this winter. Themaximum area in the cold season just past was only 14.5 millionsquare kilometres, the smallest since 1979 when satellitesbegan to photograph the Arctic pack, reported the National Snowand Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado. According to American glaciologists the peak level reached onFeb. 25 (Mar. 21 marking the official start of spring) was130,000 square km down on the previous record low recorded in2011. This was due to an unusually "warm" February in Alaskaand Russia. The study confirms other research by the PolarScience Center of the University of Washington published onFeb. 10, according to which the Arctic ice thinned by as muchas 65% between 1975 and 2012. (AGI).