Global Snow and Ice - August 2016


Sea Ice Extent

August 2016 Sea Ice Extent
1981-2010
Anomaly
Trend
(per decade)
Rank
(out of 38 years)
Records
million km2 million mi2 Year(s) million km2 million mi2
Northern Hemisphere 5.60 2.16 -23.08% -10.16% Largest 35ᵗʰ 1983 8.39 3.24
Smallest 4ᵗʰ 2012 4.71 1.82
Southern Hemisphere 18.19 7.02 +0.22% +0.77% Largest 18ᵗʰ 2014 19.27 7.44
Smallest 19ᵗʰ 2002 17.49 6.75
Ties: 1996,2011
Globe 23.79 9.19 -6.45% -2.36% Largest 34ᵗʰ 1996 26.47 10.22
Smallest 5ᵗʰ 2012 23.13 8.93

Data Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Period of record: 1979–2016 (38 years)

According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), the Northern Hemisphere (Arctic) sea ice extent — which is measured from passive microwave instruments onboard NOAA satellites — averaged for August 2016 was 5.60 million square km (2.16 million square miles), 1.68 million square km (650,000 square miles), or 23.08 percent, below the 1981-2010 average. This was the fourth smallest August Arctic sea ice extent on record, and 890,000 square km (340,000 square miles) larger than the smallest August Arctic sea ice extent that occurred in 2012. For the entire month, the rate of sea ice loss was 75,000 square km (29,000 square miles) per day, which was faster than the average of 57,300 square kilometers (22,100 square miles) per day. Regionally, below-average sea ice was observed for most of the Arctic with near-average sea ice in part of the Laptev Sea. August Arctic sea ice extent is decreasing at an average rate of 10.2 percent per decade.

The August Southern Hemisphere (Antarctic) sea ice extent was 18.19 million square km (7.02 million square miles), which was 40,000 square km (10,000 square miles), or 0.22 percent, above the 1981-2010 average. This was the 19th largest August Southern Hemisphere sea ice extent on record. Southern Hemisphere August sea ice extent is increasing at an average rate of 0.77 percent per decade, with substantial inter-annual variability.

For further information on the Northern and Southern Hemisphere snow and ice conditions, please visit the NSIDC News page.

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Citing This Report

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information, State of the Climate: Global Snow and Ice for August 2016, published online September 2016, retrieved on September 29, 2016 from http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global-snow/201608.