Global sea ice extent update
Global sea ice extent was near or at record lows for the month of January in the Arctic and Antarctic region, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
January sea ice extent in the Arctic was the third lowest on record. The satellite record goes back to 1979.
The lowest January sea ice extent in the Arctic occurred in 2018.
As of early February, Arctic sea ice extent continued to track well below the 1981-2010 median and also slightly below 2012, which ended up with the lowest Arctic sea ice extent on record in September. Keep in mind, this does not mean that 2023 is on pace to break the 2012 record. A lot can change, especially once the melt season is underway.
Image courtesy the NSIDC.
As of January and early February, sea ice extent in the Antarctic region was running at record lows. Stronger-than-usual westerly winds around Antarctica are likely keeping the pack closer to the coast and more intact instead of allowing the ice to disperse farther north into slightly warmer waters.
The end of the Antarctic melt season is fast approaching and usually occurs by the start of March.
The blue solid line shows the latest Antarctic sea ice extent for early 2023. The dashed red line is the sea ice extent for 2022, which was the lowest on record going back to 1979.