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Sea-ice extent drops below long-term seasonal average in both polar regions

23 June 2022
While we in Germany are easing into the summer, in the Arctic the days are also growing longer, intensifying the incoming sunlight, which is what primarily determines the melting of sea ice. In contrast, the pack ice is now steadily growing in the Antarctic. This year, observations of the sea-ice extent development in both hemispheres reveal a trend clearly below the long-term average. The sea-ice extent’s further development in both hemispheres depends on a number of factors and can’t yet be predicted for the remainder of the year. Read more here ...

“Sea-ice biology”: new section offered at

31 March 2022
The sea ice of the Arctic and Antarctic is a unique habitat for a host of organisms, which can be found on its surface, in the brine channels that permeate it, or on its underside, in the boundary layer between the ice and water. The plants and animals that live here have to be specially adapted to the harsh climate.
The denizens of the Arctic and Antarctic include broad variety of tiny organisms like bacteria or microalgae up to penguins and polar bears. Some live on the ice, others at the edge of sea-ice-covered areas, and some below the ice. In addition, the sea ice offers an important habitat for countless marine bird species. By expanding the available information products on “sea-ice knowledge” at, we can finally respond to a request that has long-since and repeatedly been expressed to the team: to complement information on the physical world and climatic aspects of sea ice with the important field of sea-ice biology. After all, both fields are vital to addressing questions on climate change in this unique and highly specialised ecosystem. Read more here …


Record Low Antarctic Sea-ice Extent Reached in February 2022

8 March 2022
Satellite readings taken on 21 February 2022 showed, at 2.27 million km2, the absolute record low Antarctic sea-ice extent since the beginning of continuous satellite monitoring in 1979. This was a few thousand km2 below the previous record low from 1997. The mean sea-ice extent for February, at 2.4 million km², was another historical low. This minimum is the result of very low ice cover in all sub-regions of the Antarctic, particularly in the Weddell and Ross Seas. What do these observations tell us about the general climatological trend? Read more here...


DriftStories from the MOSAiC expedition through the Central Arctic

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Real time course plot R.V. Polarstern
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