The extent of sea ice in the Arctic region plunged to record lows in July 2020. The extent of ice in the Arctic recorded in August was the third lowest for any August in more than four decades. On the other end, the extent of sea ice in the Antarctic recorded higher than average levels in September 2020.
Harsh Arctic summer
In the last 15 days of July 2020, the extent of Arctic sea ice declined to the lowest level recorded since 1979.
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The average monthly extent of sea ice for August has consistently fallen in the last 41 years. In 2020, it was 5.08 million sq. km., the third-lowest since 1979.
Greenland, a mixed bag
The extent of surface ice that melted in Greenland in August 2020 (18.6 million sq. km ) was well above the 1981-2010 average (14.4 million sq. km.).
However, the August 2020 level was significantly lower than the level in 2012, the year which saw record levels of melting on almost all the days.
Better winter in Antarctica
The extent of sea ice in the Antarctic increased above the 1981-2010 average for the first time in four years. It came dangerously close to the 2017 levels (a standout year with record minimums) in July and August, but recovered rapidly to go beyond the 1981-2010 average in September.