Maps, Graphs, and Data

Video: Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum 1979-2018 with Area Graph

Annual Arctic Sea Ice Minimum

Arctic sea ice is the cap of frozen seawater blanketing most of the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas in wintertime. It follows seasonal patterns of thickening and melting. See how the quantity has changed from 1979 through 2018. 

Mini Lesson

Watch the video and answer the questions.


  1. What does ICE-SAT2 measure? (Sea ice thickness.)
  2. Why is this measurement important? (It will help scientists understand the changes in the Arctic. Seasonal ice is thinner, more saline and weaker while older ice is fresher, stronger and more resilient.)
  3. How does this relate to the annual Arctic sea ice minimum extent? (If the minimum extent is decreasing, it means that not only seasonal ice is melting. Older sea ice is also melting. If the overall thickness of the ice is decreasing, it suggests the minimum extent is also likely decreasing.)