Sep 20, 2017

Arctic sea ice summer minimum in 2017 is eighth lowest on record

Arctic
by
Carbon Brief
Aerial view of ice in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean, Alaska, 21/05/2011. Photo: Vicki Beaver, Alamy Stock Photo
Aerial view of ice in the Beaufort Sea, Arctic Ocean, Alaska, 21/05/2011. Photo: Vicki Beaver, Alamy Stock Photo

Arctic sea ice has dwindled to its summer minimum for 2017, with its smallest extent for the year clocking in at 4.64m square kilometres (sq km) on 13 September.

At 1.58m sq km below the 1981-2010 average, this puts 2017 as the eight lowest summer minimum in the satellite record, according to preliminary figures from the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC). The record low remains 3.39m sq km, which was set in 2012.

Even though it wasn’t a record low, an NSIDC scientist tells Carbon Brief that the long-term downwards trend has continued with sea ice extent falling below 5m sq km again this year. This had never happened in the satellite record before 2007.