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Arctic Sea Ice Reaches Annual Minimum

22 Sep 2017, 10:59 am
Arctic sea ice extent on September 13th, 2017. SOURCE: NOAA, NSIDC

A preliminary report from NOAA’s National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says the Arctic sea ice has reached its minimum extent for the year on September 13th, 2017, measuring 4.64 million square kilometers.  This is the eighth-lowest Arctic minimum extent in the 38-year satellite record.

To put this year’s minimum extent into perspective, it occurred two days ahead of the original minimum forecast date, and is a little more than 51 percent of the total land area of the United States. This measure of ice extent is 1.79 million square kilometers below of the 1980-2010 average for the same day.

From the September 1st until the minimum was reached, the average sea ice retreat measured 25,000 square kilometers. This is equivalent to losing a land mass the size of Belgium every day due to ice melting.

The lowest Arctic sea ice extent occurred in 2012, with sea ice extent dipping down to 4.09 million square kilometers, close to 45 percent of the total land area of the United States.

You can read more about the sea ice extent here.

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