Earth  ID: 11104

Wild Arctic Summer

In the spring and summer of 2012, land and sea ice thinned in some regions within the Arctic Circle and completely disappeared in others. NASA satellites watched as a hurricane-force storm broke up ice near the North Pole, as open water flowed through the Northwest Passage and as a city-sized iceberg dropped into the sea from the edge of Greenland's Petermann Glacier. Sea ice covered less of the Arctic Ocean than at any time since satellite records began in 1979, and nearly the entire surface of Greenland's ice sheet was melting simultaneously for a weekend in July. Some of these events lined up with scientists' ideas about how warmer ocean and air temperatures are changing the Arctic's weather and climate. Other phenomena were familiar and natural, if a bit more extreme. Watch the time-lapse video to see an up-close view of a massive iceberg breaking off from Petermann Glacier.

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NASA Earth Observatory

Story Credits

Lead Visualizer/Animator:
Robert Simmon (Sigma Space Corporation)

Video Editor:
Matthew R. Radcliff (USRA)

Lead Writer:
Mike Carlowicz (Sigma Space Corporation)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA Earth Observatory
Closeup of the Ice Island image from Terra-ASTER
Northwest Passage images from Terra-MODIS
Flooding in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland image from NASA EO-1 team
Arctic Cyclone image from Aqua-MODIS

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