In this animation, the Earth rotates slowly as the Arctic sea ice advances over time from March 24, 2016 to September 10, 2016, when the sea ice reached its annual minimum extent. The 2016 Arctic minimum sea ice extent is the second lowest minimum extent on the satellite record.
Satellite-based passive microwave images of the sea ice have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice since 1979. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. The first six months of 2016 have been the warmest first half of any year in our recorded history of surface temperature (which go back to 1880). Data shows that the Arctic temperature increases are much bigger, relatively, than the rest of the globe.
The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) provides many water-related products derived from data acquired by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) instrument aboard the Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water "SHIZUKU" (GCOM-W1) satellite. Two JAXA datasets used in this animation are the 10-km daily sea ice concentration and the 10 km daily 89 GHz Brightness Temperature.
In this animation, the daily Arctic sea ice and seasonal land cover change progress through time, from the prior sea ice maximum on March 24, 2016, through September 10, 2016 when the sea ice reached its annual minimum extent. Over the water, Arctic sea ice changes from day to day showing a running 3-day minimum sea ice concentration in the region where the concentration is greater than 15%. The blueish white color of the sea ice is derived from a 3-day running minimum of the AMSR2 89 GHz brightness temperature. Over the terrain, monthly data from the seasonal Blue Marble Next Generation fades slowly from month to month.
A print-resolution image of the Arctic sea ice on September 10, 2016, when the ice reached its annual minimum. In addition, a gold line marks the 30 year average minimum sea ice extent computed over the time period from 1981 through 2010.
A print-resolution image of the Arctic sea ice on September 10, 2016, when the ice reached its annual minimum. In addition, a gold line marks the 36 year average minimum sea ice extent computed over the time period from 1979 (when the satellite record began) through 2014.
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