NASA: 2021 Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Extent Ranks Seventh-Lowest on Record

Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Extent 2021

After growing through the fall and winter, sea ice in the Arctic appears to have reached its annual maximum extent. The data visualization shows the ice extent – defined as the total area in which the ice concentration is at least 15% – at its 2021 maximum, which occurred on March 21. On this day the extent of the Arctic sea ice cover peaked at 14.77 million square kilometers (5.70 million square miles), making it the seventh-lowest on record, tied with 2007. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Sea ice in the Arctic appears to have hit its annual maximum extent after growing through the fall and winter. The 2021 wintertime extent reached on March 21 ties with 2007’s as the seventh-smallest extent of winter sea ice in the satellite record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

This year’s maximum extent peaked at 5.70 million square miles (14.77 million square kilometers) and is 340,000 square miles (880,000 square kilometers) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum – equivalent to missing an area of ice larger than the state of Texas and Florida combined.    

This image, created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, was created using data provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument aboard the Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water “SHIZUKU” (GCOM-W1) satellite.

On March 21, 2021, Arctic sea ice reached its maximum extent for winter 2020-2021, tying with 2007 for the seventh-lowest maximum on record.

Roberto Molar Candanosa, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Recent Posts

Cancer Scientists Develop Powerful AI Algorithm To Help Tackle Deadly Glioblastoma

Findings could introduce new and accurate AI-based opportunities in the clinical setting, potentially leading to…

February 2, 2023

Heart Disease Breakthrough: New Immune Target Discovered

Research has identified suPAR as a protein that contributes to the development of atherosclerosis and…

February 2, 2023

How an Artificial Chemical Clock Imitates a Mysterious Property of Circadian Rhythms

Circadian rhythms are natural, internal oscillations that synchronize an organism’s behaviors and physiological processes with…

February 2, 2023

A Revolutionary New Physics Hypothesis: Three Time Dimensions, One Space Dimension

How would our world be perceived by observers moving faster than light in a vacuum?…

February 2, 2023

Cosmic Breakthrough: Accurate New Map of All the Matter in the Universe Released

Analysis combines Dark Energy Survey and South Pole Telescope data to understand evolution of universe.…

February 2, 2023

International Space Station Is GO for Thursday Spacewalk

Mission managers have given the “go” for two astronauts to exit the International Space Station…

February 2, 2023