Media Advisory
27 September 2018

Arctic sea ice at minimum extent for 2018

Sea ice on September 23, 2018This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice on September 23, 2018, when sea ice reached its minimum extent for the year. Sea ice extent for September 23, as well as on September 19, averaged 4.59 million square kilometers (1.77 million square miles)—the sixth lowest in the satellite record, tied with 2008 and 2010. High-resolution image

Arctic sea ice has likely reached its minimum extent for the year, at 4.59 million square kilometers (1.77 million square miles) on September 19 and 23, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The 2018 minimum ties with 2008 and 2010 as the sixth lowest in the nearly 40-year satellite record. September 23 is the latest day in the year the Arctic sea minimum has occurred in the satellite record—observed this year and in 1997.

Please note that the Arctic sea ice extent number is preliminary—changing winds could still push the ice extent lower. NSIDC will issue a formal announcement at the beginning of October with full analysis of the possible causes behind this year’s ice conditions, interesting aspects of the melt season, the set up going into the winter growth season ahead, and graphics comparing this year to the long-term record.

For more details and images, please see the NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis page at http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/2018/09/arctic-sea-ice-extent-arrives-at-its-minimum.

See the NASA feature at https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2018/annual-arctic-sea-ice-minimum-announcement.
Download the NASA animation of the 2018 Arctic sea ice melt season at: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/13075.
See the NOAA Climate.gov feature at https://www.climate.gov/arctic-ice-2018.

NSIDC is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis is supported in part by NASA.

'Dirty' sea iceNSIDC scientist Julienne Stroeve took this photo of dirty sea ice during a research expedition to the Arctic in August 2018. Credit: Julienne Stroeve, NSIDC. High-resolution image

Ice remnantThis photo, taken by NSIDC scientist Julienne Stroeve in August 2018, shows a remnant of multiyear ice floating in the Arctic Ocean. Multiyear ice is sea ice that has survived at least one melt season; it is typically 2 to 4 meters (6.6 to 13.1 feet) thick and thickens as more ice grows on its underside. Credit: Julienne Stroeve, NSIDC. High-resolution image

Sea ice seen from icebreakerThis photo shows Arctic sea ice observed from the South Korean icebreaker Araon in August 2018. Credit: Julienne Stroeve, NSIDC. High-resolution image

Sea ice at sunsetThis photo shows Arctic sea ice at sunset, taken by NSIDC scientist Alia Khan during a research expedition on August 2018. Credit: Alia Khan, NSIDC. High-resolution image

IcebreakerIn this photo taken by a camera drone, the South Korean icebreaker Araon makes its way through Arctic sea ice during a research expedition in August 2018. Credit: Alia Khan, Julienne Stroeve, NSIDC. High-resolution image


Media Contact
Natasha Vizcarra
National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder
press@nsidc.org or +1 303.492.1497