Many journalists closely follow the Arctic sea ice extent at the end of the melt season. In response to your needs, we have developed this site with frequent updates on the status of the ice, complete with running commentary from NSIDC scientists, as well as frequently updated graphics.
The ice cover on the Arctic Ocean grows and thaws in a seasonal cycle, reaching its highest extent sometime in March, and its lowest extent in September. Arctic sea ice is important because it reflects sunlight that would otherwise warm the Arctic Ocean. For background on this topic, please see the following resources:
- NSIDC Icelights: Arctic Sea Ice 101
- Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis: Frequently Asked Questions
- All About Sea Ice
Please note that we are happy to arrange interviews with our experts throughout the sea ice melt season. Please see Contacts, below.
Milestones to watch for
Each fall, NSIDC monitors the following milestones regarding the sea ice:
- Timing of the minimum: whether it happens earlier or later than usual
- Extent of the sea ice at the minimum: whether there is more or less ice than usual
- Monthly average extent for September: commonly used to compare the current year’s minimum against the long-term monthly average
- Underlying causes for the decline: weather, climate, and ocean contributions
Because this is a great deal of information to analyze, the official press release will be the ultimate source for final information on the state of the ice.
Timing of the minimum
The minimum Arctic sea ice extent may happen at any time between early September and early October; please watch the Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis site for the latest news.
Official press release
At the end of the melt season, NSIDC will publish a press release to summarize and present analysis on the data gathered during the Arctic sea ice melt. Please watch the site for announcements concerning the exact date of that release and ongoing updates.
- Press contact: +1 303.492.1497 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- General public contact: +1 303.492.6199 or Contact User Services
To be added to the NSIDC Press Release Notification list, please send an e-mail to email@example.com with “Subscribe press release list” in the subject and full contact information in the body of the message.