Press Release
23 September 2019

Arctic sea ice at minimum extent for 2019

This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice on September 28, 2019, when sea ice reached its minimum extent for the year. Sea ice extent for September 18 averaged 4.15 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles)—the second lowest in the satellite record, tied with 2007 and 2016.
This NASA Blue Marble image shows Arctic sea ice on September 18, 2019, when sea ice reached its minimum extent for the year. Sea ice extent for September 18 averaged 4.15 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles)—the second lowest in the satellite record, tied with 2007 and 2016. Image credit: NSIDC / NASA Earth Observatory. High-resolution image

Arctic sea ice likely reached its minimum extent for the year, at 4.15 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles) on September 18, 2019, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The 2019 minimum is ranked at second lowest in the 41-year satellite record, effectively tied with 2007 and 2016.

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 a 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.

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.

To read the full analysis of this year's ice conditions, visit NSIDC's Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis page. 

Download the NASA visualization of the 2019 Arctic sea ice melt season. 

View the NASA announcement video