Press Information

Press Information

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 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:


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.

Analysis updates

For automatic notification of analysis updates, sign up for the RSS feed or get updates via Twitter (@nsidc).

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.


To be added to the NSIDC Press Release Notification list, please send an e-mail to with “Subscribe press release list” in the subject and full contact information in the body of the message.