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  • Year in Review
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Climate chronicles

Sea ice in 2023

Antarctic sea ice extent was the lowest on record in 2023, with an annual mean of 9.81 million km2, beating the previous minimum of 2022. Arctic sea ice extent was also low, with an annual mean of 10.49 million km2, but did not break any records.

Key points

  • Global sea ice extent (Antarctic and Arctic combined) reached a satellite era record daily minimum of 15.86 million km2 on 31st January 2023.

  • Antarctic sea ice extent exhibited record lows in many months of the year, including the lowest monthly summer minimum (1.91 million km2 in February) and the lowest monthly winter maximum (16.80 million km2 in September).

  • Arctic sea ice anomalies were largest in boreal summer, including a September sea ice extent of 4.37 million km2, the 5th lowest on record.

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Fig. 1: Arctic and Antarctic sea ice change.


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L.R. was supported by the NASA Modeling Analysis and Prediction program. W.M. was supported by the NASA Earth Science Data and Information System project. We thank M. Raphael and G. Schmidt for providing feedback.

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Correspondence to Lettie A. Roach.

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Roach, L.A., Meier, W.N. Sea ice in 2023. Nat Rev Earth Environ 5, 235–237 (2024).

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