September Arctic Minimum Arctic Sea Ice 2012

These images show the Arctic sea ice in September 2012 when it reached the smallest extent ever recorded in more than three decades of satellite measurements, according to scientists from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center(NSIDC). Scientists at the NSIDC who calculate the sea ice minimum based on a 5-day trailing average identified September 16 as the lowest day. NASA scientists who calculate area on each individual day identified September 13th, although there is little difference between the two days. The data is from the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program's Special Sensor Microwave/Imager. The line on the image shows the average minimum extent from the period covering 1979-2010, as measured by satellites. 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, according to NASA scientists, the area covered 3.439 million square kilometers, 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 minimum remains in a long-term decline.

The sea ice has a slightly different coloration in the last three groups of images below. In the first four groups, the color of the sea ice has a pale blue tint. In the final three groups, the sea ice is shown in white.

Visualization Credits

Cindy Starr (GST): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Lori Perkins (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Jefferson Beck (USRA): Producer
Patrick Lynch (Wyle Information Systems): Producer
Josefino Comiso (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Robert Gersten (RSIS): Scientist
Rob Gersten (Wyle Information Systems): Scientist
Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Project Support
Ian Jones (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Project Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
The Blue Marble data is courtesy of Reto Stockli (NASA/GSFC).

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Data Used:
DMSP/SSMI/Comiso's Average Sea Ice Minimum from 1979 through 2010 1979 - 2012
Comiso's September Minimum Sea Ice Concentration 1979 - 2012
DMSP/SSM/I 1979 - 2012

DLESE >> Cryology
DLESE >> Physical oceanography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Concentration
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Concentration
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD 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