Earth  ID: 4509

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


Alternate Versions


Visualization Credits

Cindy Starr (GST): Lead Visualizer
Walt Meier (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Nathan T. Kurtz (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Jefferson Beck (USRA): Producer
Joycelyn Thomson Jones (NASA/GSFC): Project Support
Leann Johnson (GST): Project Support
Laurence Schuler (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
Ian Jones (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Technical Support
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.

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Data Used:
Weekly Sea Ice Age 1984 - 2016
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
SVS >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Cryosphere >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Age
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Sea Ice >> Sea Ice Age
SVS >> Hyperwall
NASA Science >> Earth
SVS >> Presentation

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