The average extent of sea ice in the Arctic has begun shrinking and will probably reach its minimum extent sometime in mid-September. Arctic sea ice reached this year's maximum extent on March 15 at 15.13 million square kilometers (5.84 million square miles).
According to National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSDIC), the maximum extent was 733,000 square kilometers below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers, and occurred five days later than the 1979 to 2000 average date of March 10, 2013.
This year’s maximum extent was the sixth lowest in the satellite record. The lowest maximum extent occurred in 2011. The ten lowest maximums in the satellite record have occurred in the last ten years, 2004 to 2013.
(Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center)
NSIDC will release a full analysis of the winter season in early April, once monthly data are available for March.
Featured image: The satellite-based measurement of the sea ice extent on March 15, 2013. The orange line indicates the median extent for the period 1979-2000. (Credit: NSIDC)