Earth  ID: 3166

Monthly Sea Ice Climatology, 1979-2002 (WMS)

Sea ice is frozen seawater floating on the surface of the ocean. Some sea ice is permanent, persisting from year to year, and some is seasonal, melting and refreezing from season to season. Because the extent of the sea ice is important both for the Arctic marine ecology and for the role it plays in the Earth's climate, understanding the variation of this extent during the year and from year-to-year is vital. The first step in understanding the behavior of the sea ice is to calculate the average behavior of the sea ice over a single year. This behavior, called the climatology, is calculated by averaging the sea ice concentration over each month of a long period, in this case from October 1978 through September 2002. This animation shows the 23-year average sea ice concentration in the northern hemisphere for each particular month of the year. Generally, the minimum extent of sea ice occurs in September, and the maximum occurs in March.

Visualization Credits

Cindy Starr (GST): Lead Visualizer
Eric Sokolowsky (GST): Animator
Walt Meier (NSIDC): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
DMSP/SSM/I/Sea Ice Concentration
06/1987 - 08/2002
09/1979 - 1992
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:

DLESE >> Cryology
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