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A Tour of the Cryosphere 2009

The cryosphere consists of those parts of the Earth's surface where water is found in solid form, including areas of snow, sea ice, glaciers, permafrost, ice sheets, and icebergs. In these regions, surface temperatures remain below freezing for a portion of each year. Since ice and snow exist relatively close to their melting point, they frequently change from solid to liquid and back again due to fluctuations in surface temperature. Although direct measurements of the cryosphere can be difficult to obtain due to the remote locations of many of these areas, using satellite observations scientists monitor changes in the global and regional climate by observing how regions of the Earth's cryosphere shrink and expand.

This animation portrays fluctuations in the cryosphere through observations collected from a variety of satellite-based sensors. The animation begins in Antarctica, showing some unique features of the Antarctic landscape found nowhere else on earth. Ice shelves, ice streams, glaciers, and the formation of massive icebergs can be seen clearly in the flyover of the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica. A time series shows the movement of iceberg B15A, an iceberg 295 kilometers in length which broke off of the Ross Ice Shelf in 2000. Moving farther along the coastline, a time series of the Larsen ice shelf shows the collapse of over 3,200 square kilometers ice since January 2002. As we depart from the Antarctic, we see the seasonal change of sea ice and how it nearly doubles the apparent area of the continent during the winter.

From Antarctica, the animation travels over South America showing glacier locations on this mostly tropical continent. We then move further north to observe daily changes in snow cover over the North American continent. The clouds show winter storms moving across the United States and Canada, leaving trails of snow cover behind. In a close-up view of the western US, we compare the difference in land cover between two years: 2003 when the region received a normal amount of snow and 2002 when little snow was accumulated. The difference in the surrounding vegetation due to the lack of spring melt water from the mountain snow pack is evident.

As the animation moves from the western US to the Arctic region, the areas affected by permafrost are visible. As time marches forward from March to September, the daily snow and sea ice recede and reveal the vast areas of permafrost surrounding the Arctic Ocean.

The animation shows a one-year cycle of Arctic sea ice followed by the mean September minimum sea ice for each year from 1979 through 2008. The superimposed graph of the area of Arctic sea ice at this minimum clearly shows the dramatic decrease in Artic sea ice over the last few years.

While moving from the Arctic to Greenland, the animation shows the constant motion of the Arctic polar ice using daily measures of sea ice activity. Sea ice flows from the Arctic into Baffin Bay as the seasonal ice expands southward. As we draw close to the Greenland coast, the animation shows the recent changes in the Jakobshavn glacier. Although Jakobshavn receded only slightly from 1964 to 2001, the animation shows significant recession from 2001 through 2009. As the animation pulls out from Jakobshavn, the effect of the increased flow rate of Greenland costal glaciers is shown by the thinning ice shelf regions near the Greenland coast.

This animation shows a wealth of data collected from satellite observations of the cryosphere and the impact that recent cryospheric changes are making on our planet.

For more information on the data sets used in this visualization, visit NASA's EOS DAAC website.

Note: This animation is an update of the animation 'A Short Tour of the Cryosphere', which is itself an abridged version of the animation 'A Tour of the Cryosphere'. The popularity of the earlier animations and their continuing relevance prompted us to update the datasets in parts of the animation and to remake it in high definition. In certain cases, our experiences in using the earlier work have led us to tweak the presentation of some of the material to make it clearer. Our thanks to Dr. Robert Bindschadler for suggesting and supporting this remake.

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The complete narrated visualization    The complete narrated visualization
Duration: 5.2 minutes
Available formats:
  1280x720 (60 fps) MPEG-4   216 MB
  1280x720 (30 fps) MPEG-4   182 MB
  960x540 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   173 MB
  852x480 (30 fps) MPEG-4   50 MB
  640x360 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   60 MB
  320x180 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   24 MB
  512x288 (29.97 fps) MPEG-1   48 MB
  346x260 (30 fps) WMV         47 MB
  1920x1080 (60 fps) Frames (Combined)
  1920x1080 PNG           900 KB
  1280x720 (30 fps) QT         182 MB
  1280x720 (59.94 fps) QT         87 MB
  960x540 (29.97 fps) MPEG-4   173 MB
  320x180     PNG           38 KB
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The complete narrated visualization with annotations removed    The complete narrated visualization with annotations removed
Duration: 5.2 minutes
Available formats:
  1280x720   MPEG-4   215 MB
  1920x1080 PNG           1 MB
  1920x1080 Frames (Bare)
How to play our movies


Print resolution still of the earth using MODIS imagery on March 2, 2009.    Print resolution still of the earth using MODIS imagery on March 2, 2009.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF       7 MB


Print resolution still of Antarctica as we pass over Pine Island glacier (left of center in the picture).  The Pine Island image data is taken from the MISR instrument onboard the Terra satellite on November 9, 2001.  The surrounding areas are from LIMA.    Print resolution still of Antarctica as we pass over Pine Island glacier (left of center in the picture). The Pine Island image data is taken from the MISR instrument onboard the Terra satellite on November 9, 2001. The surrounding areas are from LIMA.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     15 MB


Print resolution still of the Larsen-B ice shelf collapse on December 8, 2002, as shown by Landsat-7.    Print resolution still of the Larsen-B ice shelf collapse on December 8, 2002, as shown by Landsat-7.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     20 MB


Print resolution still of Antarctica surrounded by sea ice.  The land data is LIMA and the sea ice data is QuickSCAT/SeaWinds taken on October 10, 2004.    Print resolution still of Antarctica surrounded by sea ice. The land data is LIMA and the sea ice data is QuickSCAT/SeaWinds taken on October 10, 2004.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     12 MB


Print resolution still showing the locations of high altitude glaciers in the mountainous regions of South America.    Print resolution still showing the locations of high altitude glaciers in the mountainous regions of South America.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     19 MB


Print resolution still shows the 2008 minimum sea ice concentration in the background.  A chart  overlay shows historical annual minumum sea ice area in the foreground.    Print resolution still shows the 2008 minimum sea ice concentration in the background. A chart overlay shows historical annual minumum sea ice area in the foreground.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     23 MB


Print resolution still shows a broad view of Greenland and the Baffin Sea on an approach to the Jakobshavn glacier, visible in the center of the image.    Print resolution still shows a broad view of Greenland and the Baffin Sea on an approach to the Jakobshavn glacier, visible in the center of the image.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     20 MB


Print resolution still of the Jakobshavn glacier on 7/29/2009 overlain with a series of calving front lines from prior years.  Lines in grey are from historical data while colored lines are obtained from satellite imagery.    Print resolution still of the Jakobshavn glacier on 7/29/2009 overlain with a series of calving front lines from prior years. Lines in grey are from historical data while colored lines are obtained from satellite imagery.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     23 MB


In this print resolution still, shades of blue  portray a reduction in the elevation of the Greenland ice sheet as measured by the ICESat satellite between 2003 and 2006.    In this print resolution still, shades of blue portray a reduction in the elevation of the Greenland ice sheet as measured by the ICESat satellite between 2003 and 2006.

Available formats:
  6400 x 3600     TIFF     22 MB

Short URL to This Page:http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?3619
Animation Number:3619
Completed:2009-08-27
Animators:Alex Kekesi (GST) (Lead)
 Cindy Starr (GST) (Lead)
 Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
 Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC)
 Ryan Boller (NASA/GSFC)
 Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC)
 Tom Bridgman (GST)
 Marte Newcombe (GST)
 Helen-Nicole Kostis (UMBC)
 Eric Sokolowsky (GST)
 Randall Jones (GST)
Video Editor:Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
Narrator:Michael Starobin (HTSI)
Scientists:Waleed Abdalati (NASA/GSFC)
 Bob Bindschadler (NASA/GSFC)
 Dorothy Hall (NASA/GSFC)
 Walt Meier (NSIDC)
 Richard Armstrong (University of Colorado)
 Ronald Weaver (University of Colorado)
 Mary Jo Brodzik (University of Colorado)
Project Support:James W. Williams (GST)
 Stuart A. Snodgrass (GST)
Writers:Jarrett Cohen (GST)
 Michael Starobin (HTSI)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:Landsat/TM/Calving Front Line (7/7/2001, 9/3/2002, 8/23/2003, 10/3/2004, 7/29/2009)
 Terra/ASTER/Calving Front Lines (7/2/2005, 8/8/2006)
 SRTM/SIR-C/DEM
 Radarsat Antarctic Mapping Project (RAMP) Digital Elevation Model (DEM)
 GTOPO30 Topography and Bathymetry
 Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Band Combination 1, 4, 3 (1/31/2002, 2/17/2002, 2/23/2002, 3/5/2002, 3/7/2002, 12/18/2002, 11/9/2004, 11/15/2004, 11/19/2004, 11/21/2004, 11/26/2004, 12/2/2004, 12/4/2004, 12/7/2004, 12/10/2004, 12/13/2004, 12/20/2004, 12/23/2004, 1/2/2005, 1/11/2005, 1/12/2005, 1/14/2005, 1/17/2005, 1/18/2005, 1/21/2005, 1/26/2005, 1/29/2005, 1/30/2005, 3/2/2009, 7/10/2009)
 Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) (5/19/2002, 2/15/2003-5/19/2003)
 Terra/MODIS/Snow Cover Daily L3 Global 0.05Deg CMG (MOD10C1) (5/19/2002, 12/21/2002-5/19/2003,3/22/2007-9/10/2007,1/10/2009-4/6/2009)
 Terra/MISR (9/16/2000, 11/28/2000, 12/12/2000, 1/1/2001, 1/22/2001, 2/25/2001, 9/8/2001, 10/10/2001, 10/26/2001, 11/4/2001, 11/9/2001, 11/11/2001, 11/12/2001)
 Terra and Aqua/MODIS/Blue Marble: Next Generation (1/1/2004 - 12/31/2004)
 Gridded Population of the World (Version 3 Beta)
 World Glacier Inventory
 ICESat/GLAS/L1B Global Elevation Data (GLA06) (2003-2006)
 RADARSAT-1/SAR/Derived Velocities (2000)
 Terra/ASTER/Band Combination 3, 2, 1 (8/8/2006)
 GOES-8/Imager (12/22/2002-1/2/2003)
 QuikSCAT/SeaWinds (3/1/2004-2/10/2004)
 Aqua/AMSR-E/Level 3 12.5 km Sea Ice Concentration (3/22/2007-6/23/2009)
 NSIDC SSMI-derived September Minimum Sea Ice Concentration (1979-2008)
 Landsat-7/ETM+/Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (1999-2003)
 Circum-Arctic Map of Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions
Series:Narrated Movies
 Goddard Shorts
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The Blue Marble Next Generation data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC) and NASA's Earth Observatory.
Historic calving front locations courtesy of Anker Weidick and Ole Bennike, Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland
 
Keywords:
DLESE >> Cryology
SVS >> HDTV
SVS >> Sea Ice
SVS >> Snow
SVS >> Snow and Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Frozen Ground >> Permafrost
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Motion/Ice Sheet Motion
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Thickness/Ice Sheet Thickness
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glaciers
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Ice Sheets
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Ice Growth/Melt
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Concentration
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Motion
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Extent
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Growth/Melt
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Motion
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Velocity
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Permafrost
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Snow Cover
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Motion/Ice Sheet Motion
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glacier Topography/Ice Sheet Topography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Glaciers
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Glaciers/Ice Sheets >> Ice Sheets
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Growth/Melt
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Motion
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Velocity
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Permafrost
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Hydrosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Snow Cover
SVS >> Edited Feature
SVS >> GOES
SVS >> Copenhagen
DLESE >> Narrated
SVS >> Voice Over Talent
 
 


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Many of our multimedia items use the GCMD keywords. These keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation:
Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version 8.0.0.0.0

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