Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

In Brief:

Arctic sea ice extent has declined significantly in all months since satellite measurements began in 1979, with Septembers showing the largest declines. The last 15 Septembers show the lowest values.

Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September. September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13% per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. This graph shows the average monthly Arctic sea ice extent each September since 1979, derived from satellite observations.

The animated time series below shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum since 1979, based on satellite observations. The 2012 sea ice extent is the lowest in the satellite record.

AVERAGE SEPTEMBER MINIMUM EXTENT

Data source: Satellite observations. Credit: NSIDC/NASA
Rate of Change
13.0
percent per decade
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Time Series: 1979-2020

Data source: Satellite observations.
Credit: NASA Scientific Visualization Studio
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