Arctic sea ice peaked at fifth lowest extent on record •

Arctic sea ice peaked at fifth lowest extent on record

Today’s Image of the Day from NASA Earth Observatory features Arctic sea ice when it reached its maximum extent for the year. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the winter of 2023 ended with the fifth lowest maximum ice extent on record. 

“After growing through the fall and winter, Arctic sea ice appeared to reach its annual maximum extent on March 6, 2023. This Arctic sea ice extent peaked at 14.62 million square kilometers (5.64 million square miles), a total area that is roughly 1.03 million square kilometers (398,000 square miles) below the 1981–2010 average maximum,” says NASA.

“Compared to the average maximum, the Arctic Ocean in winter 2023 was missing an area of ice equivalent to the states of Texas and Arizona combined.”

In the years after record-keeping began in 1979, the ten lowest maximums have all occurred since 2006. Angela Bliss, a sea ice scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said this is partly because the summer melting season has grown longer over the past few decades. 

Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory/ Lauren Dauphin

By Chrissy Sexton, Editor

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