Minimum Sea Ice Comparison: 2005, 2007 and the 1979-2007 Average
Released on October 25, 2007
Sea ice is frozen seawater floating on the surface of the ocean. Some sea ice is semi-permanent, persisting from year to year, and some is seasonal, melting and refreezing from season to season. The sea ice cover reaches its minimum extent at the end of each summer and the remaining ice is called the perennial ice cover. The 2007 Arctic summer sea ice reached the lowest extent of perennial ice cover on record - nearly 25% less than the previous low set in 2005. The area of the perennial ice has been steadily decreasing since the satellite record began in 1979, at a rate of about 10% per decade. But the 2007 minimum, reached on September 14, is far below the previous record made in 2005 and is about 38% lower than the climatological average. Such a dramatic loss has implications for ecology, climate and industry.
A full global version of this animation was initially developed for a Science On a Sphere exhibit. A smaller subset is shown here focusing on the Arctic region. The animation is shown on a plane with a geographic (lat/lon) projection, but has been rotated 90 degrees so that the Arctic is in the center of the image. The animation compares the difference between the perennial sea ice minimum extent on September 21, 2005 and September 14, 2007. Both years are compared with the 1979-2007 average minimum sea ice.
This animation compares the 2005 annual Arctic minimum sea ice from 09/21/2005 (shown in orange) with the 2007 minimum sea ice from 09/14/2007. The average minimum sea ice from 1979 through 2007 is shown in green.
This image compares the 2007 annual Arctic minimum sea ice from 09/14/2007 with the 2005 minimum sea ice from 09/21/2005 (shown in orage). The average minimum sea ice from 1979 through 2007 is shown in green.
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 22.214.171.124.0