Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

New Version of Sea Ice Data Released

Image of Arctic sea ice by NOAA/NSIDC by Pablo Clemente-Colon
Courtesy of NOAA and NSIDC, Pablo Clemente-Colon

A new version of the Sea Ice Concentration Climate Data Record is now available from our Climate Data Record (CDR) program. The addition of preliminary near-real-time data expands the record to include the most current preliminary data available.

The Sea Ice Concentration CDR provides consistent daily and monthly time series of sea ice concentrations from July 1987 through the most recent processing for both the north and south polar regions. Other variables included in the CDR date back to October 1978. The data are obtained and made available in cooperation with the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

The new version provides users with the most current preliminary data in near-real time. Prior to this upgrade, the Sea Ice Concentration CDR was only updated on an annual basis. The availability of the preliminary data in near-real time responds to a need in the scientific community to see the most current data as changes in sea ice happen, often rapidly. Located in both the Arctic and Antarctic, sea ice covers about 15 percent of the world’s oceans during at least some part of the year.

Assessments of change in sea ice are reported by NOAA and many other organizations, for instance, through NCEI in the Annual Global Climate Report. Loss of sea ice is affecting coastline erosion rates, animal habitat, and the release of greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, and researchers are actively investigating how reductions in Arctic sea ice may affect global weather patterns.

CDR Program

Our CDR Program maintains consistent, reliable, and scientifically robust and transparent data and products. All operational CDRs made available by NCEI must meet data-sharing and transparency requirements as well as rigorous quality standards recommended by the National Academy of Sciences and other expert organizations.

CDRs must be of sufficient length, consistency, and continuity for researchers and observers to gain a valid measure of each variable and how it may change over time. CDRs are available for global precipitation, cloud climatology, ocean heat, solar irradiances, and other parameters.

Interest in CDR data comes from many sectors: energy, water resources, agriculture, human health, national security, coastal communities, and numerous other public and private interest groups. NOAA develops CDRs with the goal that their applicability can improve resiliency to climate events, assist national security, and provide insights to economic outlooks due to climate.