Arctic Sea Ice Resources

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Visualizations

  • Summer Arctic Sea Ice Retreat: May - August 2013
    2013.08.22
    The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) provides many water-related products derived from data acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument aboard the Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1) satellite. Two JAXA datasets used in this animation are the 10-km daily sea ice concentration and the 10 km daily 89 GHz Brightness Temperature.

    In this animation, the daily Arctic sea ice and seasonal land cover change progress through time, from May 16, 2013 through August 15, 2013. Over the water, Arctic sea ice changes from day to day showing a running 3-day minimum sea ice concentration in the region where the concentration is greater than 15%. The blueish white color of the sea ice is derived from a 3-day running minimum of the AMSR2 89 GHz brightness temperature. Over the terrain, monthly data from the seasonal Blue Marble Next Generation fades slowly from month to month.

  • Daily Sea Ice during Aug & Sept 2012 with Winds
    2012.09.19
    Early in the month of August, 2012, storms in the Arctic affected the motion of the sea ice north of Siberia and Alaska. This animation shows the motion of the winds over the Arctic in conjunction with seasonal melting of the Arctic sea ice from August 1 through September 13, 2012, when the NASA scientists determined that the sea ice reached its annual minimum extent. The surface winds, shown my moving arrows, are colored by the velocity. Slower winds are shown in blue, medium in green and the fast winds are shown in red.

    Note: Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who calculate the sea ice minimum based on a 5-day trailing average, identified September 16 as the date when the lowest minimum extent occurred. NASA scientists who calculate area on each individual day identified September 13th as the date of the minimum sea ice, although there is little difference in size between the two days.

  • Daily Arctic Sea Ice during Aug & Sept 2012
    2012.09.19
    This animation shows the Arctic sea ice melt from August 1 through September 13, 2012, the date on which the ice reached its smallest extent ever recorded in more than three decades of satellite measurements, according to scientists from NASA. The data is from the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Special Sensor Microwave/Imager. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather builds the ice cover back up. This year the area covered 3.439 million square kilometers, that is down by more than 3.571 million square kilometers from the high of 7.011 million square kilometers measured in 1980. The size of this annual minimum remains in a long-term decline.

    Note: Scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, who calculate the sea ice minimum based on a 5-day trailing average, identified September 16 as the date when the lowest minimum extent occurred. NASA scientists who calculate area on each individual day identified September 13th as the date of the minimum sea ice, although there is little difference in size between the two days.

  • Sea Ice Yearly Minimum 1979-2012 (SSMI data) with Graph
    2012.09.19
    The continued significant reduction in the area covered by the summer sea ice is a dramatic illustration of the pronounced impact increased global temperatures are having on the Arctic regions. There has also been a significant reduction in the relative amount of older, thicker ice. Satellite-based passive microwave images of the sea ice cover have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice cover since 1979. The ice parameters derived from satellite ice concentration data that are most relevant to climate change studies are sea ice extent and ice area. This visualization shows the annual September minimum sea ice area in the background and a graph of the ice area values foreground. The ice area provides the total area actually covered by sea ice which is useful for estimating the total volume and therefore mass, given the average ice thickness. For more information about these ice datasets, see The Journal of Geophysical Research VOL. 113, C02S07, doi:10.1029/2007JC004257, 2008

    This visualization shows the annual Arctic sea ice minimum from 1979 to 2012. A semi-transparent graph is overlaid that shows the area in million square kilometers for each year's minimum day. The '1979','2007', and '2012' data points are highlighted on the graph.

    For high resolution still images of the 1979 and 2012 September sea ice minimum, see animation ID #3998 here.

  • Multi-year Arctic Sea Ice
    2012.02.23
    A comparison of the perennial Arctic sea ice and the first-year sea ice in 1980, 2008 and 2012.
  • Arctic Sea Ice on Aug. 26, 2012
    2012.08.27
    The sea ice concentration from August 26, 2012 compared to the average sea ice minimum from 1979 through 2010 shown in orange.
  • AMSR-E Arctic Sea Ice Sept. 2010 to March 2011
    2011.03.29
    Arctic sea ice and seasonal land cover change progress through time, from the 2010 minimum which occurred on September 17 through March 16, 2011.
  • AMRS-E Arctic Sea Ice 2009-2011
    2011.10.24
    Arctic sea ice and seasonal land cover change progress through time, from September 4, 2009 through January 30, 2011.
  • Fall and Winter Arctic Sea Ice Thickness Declining Rapidly
    2009.03.05
    Using five years of data from NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat), a team of NASA and university scientists made the first basin-wide estimate of the thickness and volume of the Arctic Ocean ice cover between 2003 and 2008.
  • Arctic Sea Ice Conceptual Animation
    2009.10.05
    This conceptual animation shows a cut-away view of the seasonal advance and retreat of Arctic sea ice, demonstrating the current trend toward a thinning ice pack, with less of the thicker multi-year ice surviving each summer's melt.

2013 live shots interviews and broll

  • Arctic sea ice live shots 2013
    2013.08.23
    On Friday August 23, 2013, scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center talked to television stations from around the country about the Arctic and the changes taking place to sea ice in this region. See below for interviews in English with Tom Wagner and Walt Meier, an interview in Spanish with Carlos del Castillo, and footage and data visualizations of sea ice.

    For more information please click here.

Raw video and photos

Short videos and iPad stories

Interview with NASA Goddard research scientist Josefino Comiso