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2019 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Tied for Second Lowest On Record

23 September 2019

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The extent of Arctic sea ice at the end of this summer was effectively tied with 2007 and 2016 for second lowest since modern record keeping began in the late 1970s. An analysis of satellite data by NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder shows that the 2019 minimum extent, which was likely reached on 18 September, measured 1.60 million square miles (4.15 million square kilometres).

The Arctic sea ice cap is an expanse of frozen seawater floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas. Every year, it expands and thickens during the fall and winter and grows smaller and thinner during the spring and summer. But in the past decades, increasing temperatures have caused marked decreases in the Arctic sea ice extents in all seasons, with particularly rapid reductions in the minimum end-of-summer ice extent.

Source: NASA

Image credit: NASA/Linette Boisvert - An opening in the sea ice cover north of Greenland is partially filled in by much smaller sea ice rubble and floes.