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Global Sea Ice Update

October 8, 2013; 3:11 PM ET

Antarctic Sea Ice extent reached another record high this year on September 22nd. (satellite measured records go back to 1979).

This year's September maximum was 3.6 percent higher than the 1981-2010 average maximum.

Antarctic Sea Ice extent is currently increasing at a rate of 1.1 percent per decade, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

Why is Antarctic Sea Ice increasing? According to the NSIDC report, the increase is likely due to a combination of winds and ocean circulation.

Arctic Sea Ice extent

Arctic Sea Ice extent officially reached its annual minimum on September 13 and was the sixth lowest in the satellite record going back to 1979.

The September minimum was 22 percent lower that the 1981-2010 average.

Arctic sea ice thickness

Arctic sea ice thickness for 2013 was similar to that of previous years, according to the European Space Agency CryoSat 2 radar altimeter.

Wind patterns during 2013 were much different compared to 2012, as the thicker, multi-year ice remained in a compact area instead of circulating into warmer waters.

The image below shows the September 2013 sea ice age in the Arctic. Image courtesy of the NSIDC.

Cooler temperatures this summer in the Arctic also helped preserve more of the thinner, first-year ice.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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