Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 15.05 million square kilometers — or, 5.81 million square miles — on March 5, according to scientists at Boulder’s National Snow and Ice Data Center. The 2020 maximum is the eleventh lowest in the 42-year satellite record.
The Arctic sea ice extent number is preliminary — continued winter conditions could still push the ice extent higher, according to a news release. The center will issue a formal announcement at the beginning of April with full analysis of the possible causes behind this year’s ice conditions.
The center is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder