Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum Area 1979-2022
Satellite-based passive microwave images of the sea ice have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice since 1979. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. This graph displays the area of the minimum sea ice coverage each year from 1979 through 2021. In 2021, the Arctic minimum sea ice covered an area of 4.13 million square kilometers (1.6 million square miles).
This visualization shows the expanse of the annual minimum Arctic sea ice for each year from 1979 through 2021 as derived from passive microwave data. A graph overlay shows the area in million square kilometers for each year's minimum day.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).
SeriesThis visualization can be found in the following series:
Datasets used in this visualization
DMSP Sea Ice ConcentrationID: 290Collected with SSM/I
Comiso's September Minimum Sea Ice ConcentrationID: 540Data Compilation NASA/GSFC 1979-2021
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details, nor the data sets themselves on our site.