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A penguin sits on a block of ice in front of Brazil's Comandante Ferraz base, in Antarctica, on March 10, 2014. / VANDERLEI ALMEIDA AFP/Getty Images

While the globe last month endured its warmest April in 135 years of records (tied with 2010), Antarctic sea ice reached its largest April extent on record, according to a report released Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Antarctic sea ice last month measured 3.47 million square miles, 21.6% above the long-term average and the most in April since records began in 1979.

The news comes after a report last week said the vast glaciers of western Antarctica are rapidly melting and losing ice to the sea and almost certainly have "passed the point of no return."

Although they are related, there's a difference between Antarctica's sea ice (which freezes and melts with the seasons) and the Antarctic glacial ice that's melting because of climate change, according to scientist Ted Scambos of the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

It's the steady melting of the glacial ice in Antarctica that's expected to contribute to global sea-level rise of four feet or more in coming centuries.

The amount and volume of ice in Antarctica depend on a complex relationship among air, water, wind and ozone depletion, with both natural and man-made influences involved. Two studies in recent years concluded that changing wind patterns were responsible for the expanding sea ice, Scambos said.

April's global air temperature marked the 38th consecutive April -- and 350th straight month -- with temperatures above the 20th-century average, NOAA reported. Temperatures were especially warm in Alaska, Europe, northern Africa, and much of Asia.



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Record warm April ... and most Antarctic ice

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