Earth  ID: 3371

Three-Year Average September Minimum Sea Ice Concentration 1979 - 2005

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 three-year moving average September mean sea ice concentration in the northern hemisphere from 1979-1981 through 2003-2005. 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.
 

Newer Version


Visualization Credits

Cindy Starr (GST): Lead Visualizer
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Stuart A. Snodgrass (GST): Animator
Waleed Abdalati (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Walt Meier (NSIDC): Scientist
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).

Short URL to share this page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/3371

Data Used:
NSIDC SSMI-derived September Minimum Sea Ice Concentration September each year from 1979 through 2005
DMSP/SSM/I September each year from 1979 through 2005
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:
NASM2006

Goddard TV Tape:
G2007-001HD -- NASA's HD Climate Change Resource Tape

Keywords:
DLESE >> Cryology
SVS >> HDTV
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice
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 Growth/Melt
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Snow/Ice >> Ice Motion
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice >> Ice Growth/Melt
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Concentration
GCMD >> Location >> Arctic
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 8.0.0.0.0