The Sea Ice Index provides a quick look at Arctic- and Antarctic-wide changes in sea ice. It is a source for consistent, up-to-date sea ice extent and concentration images, in PNG format, and data values, in ASCII text files, from November 1978 to the present. Sea Ice Index images also depict trends and anomalies in ice cover calculated using a 30-year reference period of 1981 through 2010.
The images and data are produced in a consistent way that makes the Index time-series appropriate for use when looking at long-term trends in sea ice cover. Both monthly and daily products are available. However, monthly products are better to use for long-term trend analysis because errors in the daily product tend to be averaged out in the monthly product and because day-to-day variations are often the result of short-term weather.
Monthly extent products are also available as geographic information systems (GIS) compatible shapefiles. Data are available via FTP.