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This lack of data is indicated by a gray circle, or “pole hole,” in each image.

Created: June 2008 Related question: How will we know if ice at the North Pole melts?

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In the final data, the date of the minimum may also change for some years.

For more information on calculating daily sea ice extent values, see the Sea Ice Index documentation.

You can find more information on sea ice research on the State of the Cryosphere: Sea Ice and All About Sea Ice Web page. If warm Arctic conditions suggest continued global warming, then why doesn’t colder-than-usual weather in my region suggest global cooling? If we put white “styrofoam” in the ocean to replace sea ice, would it stop climate change?

For basic background information, see Quick Facts on Arctic Sea Ice. What is the standard deviation range on the daily image? Why don’t you publish a global sea ice extent number? In April 2012, NSIDC updated its method of calculating daily values for the Arctic sea ice extent minimum from a 5-day centered average to a 5-day trailing average.

Return to top Historically, lack of satellite data directly over the North Pole has not concerned scientists; they have always assumed that the area underneath is covered with sea ice.

However, in recent years, the possibility that there will be no sea ice over the North Pole in summer has become more likely.

Once Arctic sea ice is broken up, does it melt faster?

How do we know human activities cause climate change? Have undersea volcanoes caused the Arctic sea ice decline? Do hurricanes in the Atlantic break up Arctic sea ice?

Multiply the grid cell area by 100% sea ice and you would get a total extent of 1,250 square km (482 square miles).

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