Earth  ID: 3167

September Minimum Sea Ice Concentration, 1979-2004 (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. Each year, the minimum sea ice extent in the northern hemisphere occurs at the end of summer, in September. By comparing the extent of the sea ice in September over many successive years, long term trends in the polar climate can be assessed. This animation shows the minimum sea ice concentration in the northern hemisphere in September between 1979 and 2004. Since 1999, this minimum has shown an ice extent that is consistently 10% to 15% smaller than the average extent over the past 20 years.

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 - 09/2004
NSIDC SSMI-derived September Minimum Sea Ice Concentration
Data Compilation - NSIDC - 06/1987 - 09/2004
Date: 2004
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:

NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Hyperwall
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Concentration
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Concentration
DLESE >> Cryology

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