Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
Arctic sea ice extent averaged for February 2010 was 14.58 million square kilometers (5.63 million square miles). This was 1.06 million square kilometers (409,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average for February, but 220,000 square kilometers (85,000 square miles) above the record low for the month, which occurred in February 2005.
While our analysis focuses on Arctic sea ice, we note that Antarctic sea ice has reached its summer minimum extent for the year, at 2.87 million square kilometers (1.11 million square miles). This was 88,500 square kilometers above the 1979 to 2000 average minimum. Through the austral summer, the total extent of sea ice surrounding the Antarctic continent has remained within two standard deviations of the 1979 to 2000 average.
Sea ice extent in the Antarctic has been unusually high in recent years, both in summer and winter. Overall, the Antarctic is showing small positive trends in total extent. For example, the trend in February extent is now +3.1% per decade.