The Arctic sea ice melt season lasts between mid-March, when sea ice in the Arctic reaches its maximum winter extent, and mid-September, when the sea ice reaches is minimum summer extent.
The report predicts a median sea ice extent of 4.28 million square kilometres for September 2016, while the range of sea ice extent predictions for September 2016 spans between 3.40 million square kilometres to 5.23 million square kilometres.
The lowest minimum Arctic sea ice extent in the satellite record since 1979 was recorded on 16 September 2012, when sea ice in the Arctic covered only 3.41 million square kilometres.
The sea ice predictions in the Outlook report are based on 30 different contributions, including pan-Arctic predictions and two additional contributions with a regional focus. The methods used were statistical, dynamical models, estimates based on trends, and two informal polls.
The report was developed by lead authors Julienne Stroeve from the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado (USA) and Ed Blanchard-Wrigglesworth from the University of Washington (USA), with contributions from other members of the SIPN Leadership Team.