Arctic Sea Ice Area

Unlike sea ice extent, sea ice area doesn't count holes in the ice pack as sea ice. This makes area numbers smaller than extent numbers and a better physical representation of the ice pack.

More details about sea ice area can be found under: Documentation

lowest minimum = 2.241 (2012)
2nd lowest minimum = 2.477 (2016)

lowest maximum = 12.668 (2016)
2nd lowest maximum = 12.761 (2017) 

Note: The anomaly is calculated against the 2007-2016 average.

During the melting season the AWP model is updated daily as well. It estimates the solar energy absorbed by the ocean.

The current year is calculated from Near Real-Time Data and previous years from Final Data.

Data Download


Full year graph 
A lower compaction ratio during the melting season indicates a higher melt rate. During the freezing season a  low compaction ratio indicates lots of new thin ice.

A more detailed description with images is available under Documentation

Cavalieri, D., C. Parkinson, P. Gloersen, and H. J. Zwally. 1996, updated yearly. Sea Ice Concentrations from Nimbus-7 SMMR and DMSP SSM/I-SSMIS Passive Microwave Data, Version 1. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: NASA DAAC at the National Snow and Ice Data Center.