Yearly Arctic Sea Ice Age with Graph of Ice Age by Area: 1984 - 2016
One significant change in the Arctic region in recent years has been the rapid decline in perennial sea ice. Perennial sea ice, also known as multi-year ice, is the portion of the sea ice that survives the summer melt season. Perennial ice may have a life-span of nine years or more and represents the thickest component of the sea ice; perennial ice can grow up to four meters thick. By contrast, first year ice that grows during a single winter is generally at most two meters thick.
This animation shows the Arctic sea ice age for the week of the minimum ice extent for each year, depicting the age in different colors. Younger sea ice, or first-year ice, is shown in a dark shade of blue while the ice that is four years old or older is shown as white. A color scale identifies the age of the intermediary years.
Correction: The original release on 10/28/2016 incorrectly labeled the oldest category on the graph as "5+". This was corrected to read "4+" on 10/30/2016.
This animation shows the annual change in sea ice age at each year's minimum extent. Younger sea ice, or first-year ice, is shown in a dark shade of blue while the ice that is four years old or older is shown as white. A bar graph displayed in the lower right corner quantifies the area covered by the ice in each age category on the day of the annual minimum. In addition, memory bars shown in green portray the maximum annual value for each age range seen since January 1, 1984 on the day of the annual minimum.
This video is also available on our YouTube channel.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio
Special thanks to:
Mark Tschudi, Univ. of Colorado, for providing the data. For more information, click here.
Datasets used in this visualization
Weekly Sea Ice AgeID: 940Data Compilation Weekly Sea Ice Age 1984 - 2016
SSMI-SSMIS passive microwave data, augmented with buoys, AVHRR, AMSR-E, and windsSee all pages that use this dataset
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.