Antarctic sea ice hits lowest winter maximum on record: US data

Antarctic ice

The sea ice around Antarctica likely had a record low surface area when it was at its maximum size this winter, a preliminary US analysis of satellite data showed Monday.

As the southern hemisphere transitions into spring, the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said in a statement that Antarctic sea ice had only reached a maximum size of 16.96 million square kilometers (6.55 million square miles) this year, on 10 September.

The ice pack typically reaches its largest size during the colder winter months, so the September 10 reading will likely remain this year's maximum.

"This is the lowest sea ice maximum in the 1979 to 2023 sea ice record by a wide margin," said the NSIDC, a government-supported program at the University of Colorado at Boulder.