Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis March 23, 2011 Annual maximum ice extent reached Arctic sea ice extent appeared to reach its maximum extent for the year on March 7, marking the beginning of the melt season. This year's maximum tied for the lowest in the satellite record. NSIDC will release a detailed analysis of the 2010 to 2011 winter sea ice conditions during the second week of April. Figure 1. Arctic sea ice extent on March 7 was 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles). The orange line shows the 1979 to 2000 median extent for that day. The black cross indicates the geographic North Pole. Sea Ice Index data. About the data. Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center High-resolution image Overview of conditions On March 7, 2011, Arctic sea ice likely reached its maximum extent for the year, at 14.64 million square kilometers (5.65 million square miles). The maximum extent was 1.2 million square kilometers (463,000 square miles) below the 1979 to 2000 average of 15.86 million square kilometers (6.12 million square miles), and equal (within 0.1%) to 2006 for the lowest maximum extent in the satellite record.