Press Release
24 March 2020

Arctic sea ice at maximum extent for 2020

Arctic sea ice has likely reached its maximum extent for the year at 15.05 million square kilometers (5.81 million square miles) on March 5, 2020, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The 2020 maximum is the eleventh lowest in the 42-year satellite record. 

This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice on March 5, 2020, when sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year.
This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice on March 5, 2020, when sea ice reached its maximum extent for the year. Sea ice extent for March 5 averaged 15.05 million square kilometers (5.81 million square miles), the eleventh-lowest in the satellite record. Credit: NSIDC / NASA Earth Observatory. High-resolution image

Please note that the Arctic sea ice extent number is preliminary—continued winter conditions could still push the ice extent higher. NSIDC will issue a formal announcement at the beginning of April with full analysis of the possible causes behind this year’s ice conditions, interesting aspects of the ice growth season and graphics comparing this year to the long-term record. 

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

For more details, please see the NSIDC Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis page.

For the NASA Earth Observatory Image of the Day, click here.