Weekly Animation of Arctic Sea Ice Age with Graph of Ice Age by Percent of Total: 1984 - 2016

  • Released Friday, October 28, 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.

Below is an animation of the weekly sea ice age between 1984 and 2016. The animation shows the seasonal variability of the ice, growing in the Arctic winter and melting in the summer. In addition, this also shows the changes from year to year, depicting the age of the sea ice 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.

A graph in the lower, right corner the quantifies the change over time by showing each age category of sea ice as a percent of total ice cover in the Arctic Ocean. The lavender outline on the map indicates the spatial region covered by the Arctic Ocean and thus included in the graph.

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.

A still image of the sea ice age for week 37 of 2016 with a graph overlay showing the remaining percent ice by age.

A still image of the sea ice age for week 37 of 2016 with a graph overlay showing the remaining percent ice by age.

A still image of the sea ice age for week 37 of 1984 with a graph overlay showing the remaining percent ice by age.

A still image of the sea ice age for week 37 of 1984 with a graph overlay showing the remaining percent ice by age.

The overlay of the graph showing the percent of sea ice by age with transparency. The lavender outline identifies the expanse covered by the Arctic Ocean.

The overlay of the graph showing the percent of sea ice by age with transparency. The lavender outline identifies the expanse covered by the Arctic Ocean.



Credits

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.

Release date

This page was originally published on Friday, October 28, 2016.
This page was last updated on Tuesday, November 14, 2023 at 12:08 AM EST.


Datasets used in this visualization

  • Weekly Sea Ice Age

    ID: 940
    Type: Data CompilationDates used: 1984 - 2016

    SSMI-SSMIS passive microwave data, augmented with buoys, AVHRR, AMSR-E, and winds

    See 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.