MET sea ice data used in the IPCC AR6 WGI report

We are proud that our sea ice data are featured and cited in the 6th International Panel on Climate Change Assessment Report (IPCC AR6) whose Working Group 1 (WGI) report was released early this August. They are used as the basis for the assessment of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent alongside the US NSIDC data in Chapter 2 (Changing state of the climate system) and Chapter 9 (Ocean, cryosphere, and sea level change).

For the global sea ice condition, the report states that: Human influence is very likely the main driver of [...] the decrease in Arctic sea ice area between 1979–1988 and 2010–2019 (about 40% in September and about 10% in March). There has been no significant trend in Antarctic sea ice area from 1979 to 2020 due to regionally opposing trends and large internal variability.

FIGURE: Arctic (left) and Antarctic (right) trends in sea ice area as in the 6th IPCC Assessment Report (adapted from Chapter 2, Figure 2-20). The OSI SAF data (produced at MET) is plotted in light blue together with two datasets from the US NSIDC.

FIGURE:  September Arctic sea ice area in millions of square kilometres based on satellite-based observations (in black) and CMIP6 model simulations for five Green House Gas (GHG) emission pathways. The Arctic is projected to be practically ice free near mid-century under mid and high GHG emissions scenarios. The figure is adapted from Figure SPM.8 in IPCC AR6 (2021) (


IPCC, 2021: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [MassonDelmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J. B. R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.