Weekly Animation of Arctic Sea Ice Age with Two Graphs: 1984 - 2016

  • Released Thursday, November 10, 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 the area in millions of square kilometers covered by each age category of perennial sea ice. This graph also includes a memory bar - the green line that here represents the current maximum value seen thus far in the animation for the particular week displayed. For example, when showing the first week in September, the memory bar will show the maximum value seen for all prior years' first week of September since the beginning of the animation (January 1, 1984).

A graph in the lower, left 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.

This visualization shows the age of the sea ice between 1984 and 2016. 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. The colorbar is displayed in the upper left corner along with the current month and year.

The overlay that includes both graphs, the date, colorbar and outline of the Arctic Ocean with transparency.

The overlay that includes both graphs, the date, colorbar and outline of the Arctic Ocean with transparency.



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 Thursday, November 10, 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.