This scientific visualization of annual minimum sea ice area over the Arctic from 1979-2012 is one element of the NCA that highlights findings conveyed in the "Our Changing Climate", the "Alaska and the Arctic" and the "Impacts of Climate Change on Tribal, Indigenous, and Native Lands and Resources" chapters of the draft Third NCA report. This record shows a persistent decline in the minimum extent of Arctic sea ice cover. The satellite observations are from passive microwave sensors and processed using the NASA Team algorithm developed by scientists at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The sensors that collected the data are the Scanning Multichannel Microwave Radiometer (SMMR) on the NASA Nimbus-7 satellite and a series of Special Sensor Microwave Imagers (SSM/I) and Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounders (SSMIS) on U.S. Department of Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites. The data from the different sensors are carefully assembled to assure consistency throughout the 34 year record.
This visualization is similar to another developed by NASA, but is based on a slightly different algorithm to process the same sensor data. Both show similar downward trends in minimum sea ice area coverage over this time period.