Earth  ID: 4206

Average September Arctic Sea Ice Comparison: 1979 vs 2013

This visualization compares the difference in the area, volume and depth of the average September Arctic sea ice between 1979, shown in blue, and 2013, shown in orange. The data from these two years has been projected onto a circle to provide for easy visual comparison without altering its area or volume. The depth is shown as a histogram that is uniform rotationally around the central axis. Each grid cell of the ground plane is 1,000 kilometers in width, or one million square kilometers per cell. The depth of the sea ice is measured in meters.

This data comes from the Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System (PIOMAS). This system combines real observations of the Arctic sea ice from 1979 through the present with data of the ocean and atmosphere to produce a complete picture of the changes in Arctic Sea ice area, thickness, and volume. The sharp spike at the center of the visualization represents the very real phenomenon of thick ice ridges formed by ice dynamics. PIOMAS is more completely described here.


Visualization Credits

Cindy Starr (GST): Lead Visualizer
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Helen-Nicole Kostis (USRA): Animator
Jefferson Beck (USRA): Producer
Laurence Schuler (ADNET): Project Support
Ian Jones (ADNET): Project Support
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio

Science Paper:
Schweiger, A., R. Lindsay, J. Zhang, M. Steele, H. Stern, Uncertainty in modeled arctic sea ice volume, J. Geophys. Res., doi:10.1029/2011JC007084, 2011

Zhang, J.L. and D.A. Rothrock, Modeling global sea ice with a thickness and enthalpy distribution model in generalized curvilinear coordinates, Mon. Weather Rev., 131, 845-861, 2003

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Data Used:
also referred to as: PIOMAS Monthly Average Arctic Sea Ice Volume
Model - APL/PSC
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.

DLESE >> Cryology
DLESE >> Physical oceanography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Elevation
NASA Science >> Earth
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Climate Indicators >> Cryospheric Indicators >> Sea Ice Elevation

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