Petermann Ice Island 2012

  • Released Thursday, October 18, 2012
  • Updated Wednesday, September 30, 2015 at 7:58AM
  • ID: 11114

In the spring and summer of 2012, land- and sea ice thinned in some regions within the Arctic Circle and completely disappeared in others. Satellites watched as a hurricane-force storm hovered over the North Pole, the Northwest Passage was full of open water, and Greenland's Petermann Glacier dropped another city-sized ice cube into the sea. The Arctic Ocean witnessed its lowest area of sea ice since satellite records began in 1979, and nearly the entire surface of Greenland was melting simultaneously for a weekend in July. Some of the phenomena were familiar and natural, if a bit more extreme. Other events lined up with scientists' ideas about how Arctic weather and climate are changing because of warmer ocean and air temperatures and lower albedo (sunlight reflectance).


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center and NASA Earth Observatory


This visualization can be found in the following series:


This visualization originally appeared on the following tapes:
  • None

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