Antarctic sea ice thickness is a difficult parameter to measure over large areas because there is still no satellite instrument that accurately measures it. A new research paper, Thickness distribution of Antarctic sea ice, reports on a compilation of ship-based observations of sea ice (and snow cover) thickness, collected on 83 Antarctic voyages between 1980 and 2005.

The data have been compiled to give this circumpolar map of the mean annual sea ice thickness around Antarctica. They have also been analysed to give statistics on regional and seasonal changes.

This is the first published climatology of Antarctic sea ice and snow cover thickness for the Antarctic is valuable for:

  • developing and checking climate models, and for
  • long-term assessment of changes in sea ice cover around Antarctica.

The data are not weighted to include open water. The grid is 2.5º latitude x 5º longitude.


Worby, A. P., C. A. Geiger, M. J. Paget, et al (2008). Thickness distribution of Antarctic sea ice. J. Geophys. Res. Vol 113, Issue C5.