Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 1979-2015 with Area Graph

  • Released Thursday, March 10th, 2016
  • Updated Tuesday, November 14th, 2023 at 12:07AM
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Satellite-based passive microwave images of the sea ice have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice since 1979. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. The ice parameters derived from satellite ice concentration data that are most relevant to climate change studies are sea ice extent and sea ice area. This graph displays the area of the minimum sea ice coverage each year from 1979 through 2015. In 2015, the Arctic minimum sea ice covered an area of 3.885 million square kilometers.

This visualization shows the expanse of the annual minimum Arctic sea ice for each year from 1979 through 2015 as derived from SSMI data. A semi-transparent graph overlay shows the area in million square kilometers for each year's minimum day. The date shown in the upper right corner indicates the current year being displayed.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 7, 2015  when it covered an area of 3.884  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 7, 2015 when it covered an area of 3.884 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 14, 2014  when it covered an area of 4.527  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 14, 2014 when it covered an area of 4.527 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 9, 2013  when it covered an area of 4.645  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 9, 2013 when it covered an area of 4.645 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 12, 2012  when it covered an area of 2.91  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 12, 2012 when it covered an area of 2.91 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 6, 2011  when it covered an area of 3.734  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 6, 2011 when it covered an area of 3.734 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 17, 2010  when it covered an area of 4.106  million square kilometers

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 17, 2010 when it covered an area of 4.106 million square kilometers

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 12, 2009  when it covered an area of 4.587  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 12, 2009 when it covered an area of 4.587 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 17, 2008  when it covered an area of 4.033  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 17, 2008 when it covered an area of 4.033 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 14, 2007  when it covered an area of 3.712  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 14, 2007 when it covered an area of 3.712 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 14, 2006  when it covered an area of 5.16 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 14, 2006 when it covered an area of 5.16 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 21, 2005  when it covered an area of 4.951  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 21, 2005 when it covered an area of 4.951 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 2004  when it covered an area of 5.399  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 2004 when it covered an area of 5.399 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 5, 2003  when it covered an area of 5.393  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 5, 2003 when it covered an area of 5.393 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 2002  when it covered an area of 5.126  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 2002 when it covered an area of 5.126 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 16, 2001  when it covered an area of 5.879 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 16, 2001 when it covered an area of 5.879 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 10, 2000  when it covered an area of 5.512 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 10, 2000 when it covered an area of 5.512 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 11,1999 when it covered an area of 5.2  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 11,1999 when it covered an area of 5.2 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 11, 1998 when it covered an area of 5.607 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 11, 1998 when it covered an area of 5.607 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 2,1997 when it covered an area of 6.133 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 2,1997 when it covered an area of 6.133 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 1996 when it covered an area of 6.752 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 1996 when it covered an area of 6.752 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 1995 when it covered an area of 5.544 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 1995 when it covered an area of 5.544 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 5, 1994 when it covered an area of 6.273 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 5, 1994 when it covered an area of 6.273 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 4,1993 when it covered an area of 5.469 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 4,1993 when it covered an area of 5.469 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 31, 1992 when it covered an area of 6.499 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 31, 1992 when it covered an area of 6.499 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 16, 1991 when it covered an area of 5.733 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 16, 1991 when it covered an area of 5.733 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 3, 1990 when it covered an area of 5.635  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 3, 1990 when it covered an area of 5.635 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 9, 1989 when it covered an area of 6.265 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 9, 1989 when it covered an area of 6.265 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 30, 1988 when it covered an area of 6.492 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 30, 1988 when it covered an area of 6.492 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 23, 1987 when it covered an area of 6.248 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 23, 1987 when it covered an area of 6.248 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 1986 when it covered an area of 6.663 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 8, 1986 when it covered an area of 6.663 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 7, 1985 when it covered an area of 6.14 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 7, 1985 when it covered an area of 6.14 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 10, 1984 when it covered an area of 6.206  million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 10, 1984 when it covered an area of 6.206 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 6, 1983 when it covered an area of 6.785 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 6, 1983 when it covered an area of 6.785 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 9, 1982 when it covered an area of 6.662 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 9, 1982 when it covered an area of 6.662 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 6, 1981 when it covered an area of 6.438 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 6, 1981 when it covered an area of 6.438 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 26, 1980 when it covered an area of 7.01 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on August 26, 1980 when it covered an area of 7.01 million square kilometers.

 An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 21, 1979 when it covered an area of 6.455 million square kilometers.

An image of the Arctic minimum sea ice on September 21, 1979 when it covered an area of 6.455 million square kilometers.



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).


Series

This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.