2017 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

The 2017 sea ice minimum extent was reached on 2017-09-05. Sea ice extent is now increasing again.


Time Series

Minimum & Maximum

Diagram: Arctic sea ice extent during previous 7 years
September is the month when in the Arctic the sea ice area reaches its minimum. The map and time series show a comparison of current ice conditions to previous years.

Arctic Sea Ice Minima

2016 Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

2012 Sea Ice Minimum (SSMIS data)

2007 Sea Ice Minimum (AMSR-E data)

Sea Ice Minimum 2016 Sea Ice Minimum 2012 Sea Ice Minimum 2007
2016 minimum sea-ice area from AMSR2 compared to historic summer ice extents: In orange the 30 year September mean for 1981-2010, in cyan the lowest minimum in 2012 and in red the 2007 minimum. The 2016 minimum is the second lowest on record. 2012 minimum sea ice extent in comparison to September 2007 and September 1979-1983 sea ice extents. 2007 minimum sea ice extent in comparison to mean September 2002-2006 and September 1979-1983 sea ice extents.

Sea Ice Minimum and Maximum in the Arctic

Credits: Sea ice concentration calculated at the University of Bremen from 89 GHz data of the AMSR2 sensor on the GCOM-W1 satellite; background: "Blue Marbleā€ MODIS data from the NASA Earth Observatory; 1981-2010 sea ice contour from NSIDC: National Snow and Ice Data Center.

The extent of sea ice in the Arctic shows a strong seasonal cycle: in March the sea ice area reaches its largest and in September its smalles extent. During recent years the sea ice extent has reduced significantly compared to the long-term median of the 20 years 1981 to 2010.

Data Archive

All data can be found in the Data Archive. To quickly browse the dataset, please have a look at the Data Browser.

How to cite

Please help maintaining this service by properly citing and acknowledging if you use the data for publications:
Spreen, G., L. Kaleschke, and G.Heygster(2008), Sea ice remote sensing using AMSR-E 89 GHz channels J. Geophys. Res.,vol. 113, C02S03, doi:10.1029/2005JC003384.


For questions regarding the data please contact Gunnar SpreenChristian Melsheimer, or Georg Heygster.
For questions related to the website and data-browser please contact Malte Gerken.

Institute of Environmental Physics, University of Bremen, Germany.