Arctic Sea Ice Maximum 2020

  • Released Saturday, March 21st, 2020
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:45PM

After growing through the fall and winter, sea ice in the Arctic appears to have reached its annual maximum extent. The image above shows the ice extent—defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15 percent—at its 2020 maximum, which occurred on March 5. On this day the extent of the Arctic sea ice cover peaked at 15.05 million square kilometers (5.81 million square miles). While this maximum was the largest since 2013, it remained 590,000 square kilometers (230,000 square miles) below the average maximum for the 1981-2010 period.


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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

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