Time series of minimum sea ice coverage in Northern Canadian Waters, for each summer since 1971. Note that the week of the actual minimum ice coverage varies from year to year. In the graph above, Percentage Ice Coverrefers to the percent of the red area in the inset map that is covered with sea ice. The actual area of the red region indicated in the inset map is 3,747,890 km2.
Arctic sea ice reached record-breaking low extents during summer 2012, weeks before the end of the melt season. The previous record for the pan-Arctic sea ice minimum extent was set in September 2007 (4.2 million km2). That record was nearly broken in September 2011, when the sea ice extent shrank to 4.6 million km2. In mid-September 2012, the minimum extent reached 3.41 million km2, a new pan-Arctic sea ice minimum extent (based on the NSIDC 1979-2012 satellite record - source: NSIDC). >> More