Category Archives: Extent

The 2019 Maximum Arctic Sea Ice Extent

March 2019 has arrived, which in recent years has proved to be by far the likeliest month to contain the maximum extent of Arctic sea ice for the year. To begin with, here’s our favourite high resolution extent graph calculated by “Wipneus” from University of Hamburg/JAXA AMSR2 data:

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The 2018 Maximum Arctic Sea Ice Extent

According to the latest edition of the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s “Arctic Sea Ice News”

On March 17, 2018, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.48 million square kilometers (5.59 million square miles), the second lowest in the 39-year satellite record, falling just behind 2017. This year’s maximum extent is 1.16 million square kilometers (448,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum of 15.64 million square kilometers (6.04 million square miles).

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Global Sea Ice Extent Reaches Lowest *Ever Level

Here once again is the up to date version of Wipneus’ graphic graphic, this time of global sea ice extent:

nsidc_global_extent_20170114

As you can see, global sea ice extent has just reached the lowest ever level in the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s satellite records going back to 1979. It was over a month later when the previous record was broken in February 2016, so there is plenty of time for the metric to fall further.

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Is the Northwest Passage Freezing or Melting?

A reader writes to ask us to explain the answer to the above question in more detail. Are you sitting comfortably once again? Then let us begin.

There has been a lot of unusual “weather” in the Arctic over the last twelve months. First of all there was an anomalously warm winter:

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