Project Details


Polar sea ice is both an indicator and a driver of global climate change. We now have over 40 years of satellite data to directly monitor its evolution in concentration, area, and extent (since the late 1970s) and almost 30 years for its thickness (since the early 1990s).

In the Arctic, sea-ice extent and volume have decayed in all seasons, with strongest reduction in late summer. This leads to a younger and more mobile sea-ice cover in the Arctic Ocean. In the Southern Hemisphere, sea-ice extent increased rather steadily until 2015, with much smaller coverage since 2016. The Special Report for a 1.5C Global Warming (IPCC SR15) documents that to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels could “substantially” reduce the risk of sea ice-free summers in the Arctic with respect to a 2C warming.

Although satellite observations are the foundation for most of our knowledge about the evolution of the global sea-ice cover, progress is still acutely needed to improve the observations of the Sea Ice Essential Climate Variable, in particular to achieve better spatial resolution, better consistency across satellite missions, and longer time-series. These are some of our research focii in the Sea_ice_cci project.

Key findings
Short titleSICCI+
StatusNot started