Compare Maps of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Side-by-Side

Compare Maps of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Side-by-Side

The maps below show the extent of sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere around Antarctica. Select a month and year from the popup menus to compare two maps side-by-side.

Try this:

  • compare the sea ice in February and September for the same year
  • compare the sea ice in February for two different years
  • compare the sea ice in September for two different years
  • click here if you want to look at sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere (around the North Pole)

Select a month:  and a year:

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent in February 2010

Select a month:   and a year:

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent in September 2010

Map images and sea ice data courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Interactive created by Randy Russell, UCAR Center for Science Education.

In the Southern Hemisphere (around the South Pole and Antarctica) the sea ice reaches its maximum extent in early spring, at the end of the long, cold winter. September is usually the month with the most sea ice.

The ice pack melts and breaks up over the summer. February is usually the month with the least sea ice (in the Southern Hemisphere).

The pink line in the images shows the average (from 1979 to 2000) edge of the ice pack for a particular month.

Click here to view an animation of the annual changes in sea ice extent in the Southern Hemisphere for a seven-year period (2002 through 2008).

Go to the NSIDC web site to:

© 2011 UCAR with portions adapted from Windows to the Universe (© 2006 NESTA)