Arctic Sea Ice Hits 2023 Maximum

  • Released Wednesday, March 15th, 2023
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 11:43AM

On March 6, 2023, the Arctic sea ice pack appeared to reach its maximum extent for this winter, at 14.62 million square kilometers, or 5.64 million square miles, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.

Fieldwork and satellites like NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite are monitoring the changing ice pack, and helping to predict how the ice will change in the future.

Sea ice is frozen seawater that floats on the ocean surface. It forms in both the Arctic and the Antarctic in each hemisphere’s winter; it retreats in the summer, but does not completely disappear. This floating ice has a profound influence on the polar environment, influencing ocean circulation, weather, and regional climate.

Since 1979, satellites have provided a consistent continuous record of sea ice. Through 2015, the average monthly September extent of Arctic sea ice has declined by 13.4 percent per decade relative to the average from 1981 to 2010. Declines are occurring in every geographic area, in every month, and every season. Natural variability and rising temperatures linked to global warming appear to have played a role in this decline. The Arctic may be ice-free in summer before the end of this century.

For more from the NSIDC: https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2023/03/arctic-sea-ice-maximum-at-fifth-lowest-on-satellite-record/



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


Series

This visualization can be found in the following series: