Track Earth's vital signs from space and fly along with NASA's Earth-observing satellites in an interactive 3D visualization. The plots and color-coded maps are chosen to provide information about the current state of the sea ice cover and how the most current daily data available compare with the record lows and record highs for the same date during the satellite era. Shown below are up-to-date satellite observations of the sea ice covers of both the Arctic and the Antarctic, along with comparisons with the historical satellite record of more than 37 years. Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September. Learn how you can explore Earth Now's many features, including real-time data visualizations of Earth's vital signs and 3D models of Earth-orbiting satellite missions. Ice caps are a type of glacier that cover less than 19,300 square miles (50,000 square kilometers) of land on Earth, according to the NSIDC. Combined, melting ice … Daniel Bailey. Figure 5: 10-year averages between 1979 and 2018 and yearly averages for 2012, 2014, and 2020 of the daily (a) ice extent and (b) ice area in the Southern Hemisphere and a listing of the extent and area of the current, historical mean, minimum, and maximum values in km2. In 2020, the Arctic minimum sea ice … The extents in km2 for the current and for the years of minimum and maximum extents are provided below the image. Scientists using radar data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) have found a record of the most recent Martian ice age recorded in the planet's north polar ice cap. When Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum in September 2020, it was one of the lowest extents of the satellite record—second only to the record low in September 2012. J. C. Comiso, C. L. Parkinson, T. Markus, D. J. Cavalieri and R. Gersten. Video: NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) and Operation IceBridge missions investigate Greenland's thinning ice sheets from above and below. Susan Callery Video: NASA's vantage point to view Earth. NASA's Landsat 8 satellite captured water mixing between Georgia's ick-colored Suwannee River and the deep blue Gulf of Mexico. The March 2020 Arctic sea ice extent was 14.78 million square kilometers (5.71 million square miles). Mars’ Polar Caps and Present-day Conditions (14.2 MB .pdf) Patricio Becerra Universität Bern: Polar Stratigraphy (64.2 MB .pdf) Melinda Kahre NASA Ames Research Center: Amazonian Climate Modeling: Christine Hvidberg Univ. On frosty Ellesmere Island, where Arctic Canada butts up against the northwestern edge of Greenland, two once-enormous ice caps have completely vanished, new NASA imagery shows. Figure 6: Color-coded map of the daily sea ice concentration in the Southern Hemisphere for the indicated recent date along with the contours of the 15% edge during the years with the least extent of ice (in red) and the greatest extent of ice (in yellow) during the period from November 1978 to the present. GREENBELT, Md. Just a century ago, this body of water was covered in ice. Icy areas absorb less solar energy and remain relatively cool. The different shades of gray over land indicate the land elevation with the lightest gray being the highest elevation. Sea Surface Temperature (SST) from January 2016 through March 2020. The left image was taken via a Nasa satellite in 2015, the right was taken in 2020 and shows the ice caps have vanished Credit: NSIDC Mark Serreze, director of NSIDC, researched Canada's St. Patrick Bay ice caps in the 1980s when he was a student. These images use data from the AMSR-E/AMSR2 Unified Level-3 12.5 km product. Holly Shaftel There are no requirements with respect to size or composition for a body of ice to be termed a polar ice cap, nor any geological requirement for it to be over land, but only that it must be a body of solid phase matter in the polar region. Keep track of Earth's vital signs, see the planet in a state of flux and slow the pace of global warming with NASA's free mobile apps. This image shows a spinning formation of ice, clouds and low-lying fog off the eastern coast of Greenland. Figure 8: Color-coded animation displaying the last 2 weeks of the daily sea ice concentrations in the Southern Hemisphere. NASA also estimates that since the beginning of the 20th century, total ice loss of the Earth’s polar ice caps is a whopping 49,000 gigatonnes. It has been a focus of attention in recent years, largely because of a strong decrease in the Arctic sea ice cover and modeling results that indicate that global warming could be amplified in the Arctic on account of ice-albedo feedback. Sea ice extent is the integral sum of the areas of all grid cells with at least 15% ice concentration, while sea ice area is the integral sum of the product of ice concentration and area of all grid cells with at least 15% ice concentration. The vertical line represents the last data point plotted. Salinity plays a major role in global ocean circulation and changes in salinity may impact regional and global climates. Every summer, the Arctic ice cap melts to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. Video: A high-resolution, three-dimensional view of global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations from September 1, 2014 to August 31, 2015. Randal Jackson This video discusses the impacts of the sun's energy, Earth's reflectance and greenhouse gasses on global warming. Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in … QuikScat: A Pioneer of Satellite Scatterometry (Video). This image was taken during summer at the pole. Every summer, the Arctic ice cap melts to what scientists call its "minimum" before colder weather begins to cause ice cover to increase. Video: Ocean circulation plays an important role in absorbing carbon from the atmosphere. A polar ice cap or polar cap is a high-latitude region of a planet, dwarf planet, or natural satellite that is covered in ice.. The layering of the cap is easy to see. Although they were abnormally large, the state of the polar ice caps in 1979 became the standard baseline in NASA’s study. This image was acquired by the Landsat 7 satellite on May 14, 2001. See how the quantity has changed from 1979 through 2018. Video: New study finds sea level rise accelerating, This animation shows the change in atmospheric nitrogen dioxide (NO, COVID-19 Mitigation Leads to Reduced Pollution Associated with Decreased Fossil Fuel Use, Warmer Earth, greener north - Climate 365 graphic. Video: The ocean's important role in absorbing heat and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The thicker ice, known as multi-year ice, survives through the cyclical summer melt season, when young ice that has formed over winter just as quickly melts again. Arctic sea ice extent in January 2020 is sitting ABOVE levels observed in the years 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012 (record low extent), 2011, AND 2010.. Can you imagine the likes of The Guardian, for example, ever running with this? In 2020, however, the annual freeze has been unusually slow. Figure 1: 10-year averages between 1979 and 2018 and yearly averages for 2007, 2012, and 2020 of the daily (a) ice extent and (b) ice area in the Northern Hemisphere and a listing of the extent and area of the current, historical mean, minimum, and maximum values in km2. Arctic sea ice is the cap of frozen seawater blanketing most of the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas in wintertime. J. C. Comiso, C. L. Parkinson, T. Markus, D. J. Cavalieri and R. Gersten. NASA's Aquarius mission is painting a global picture of our planet's salty waters. In contrast, in the Antarctic the sea ice coverage has been increasing although at a lesser rate than the decreases in the Arctic. Fly in 360 degrees over Greenland’s craggy glaciers and other ice formations from NASA’s P-3 aircraft. According to NASA, this rise is due to a combination of melting ice and water expanding due to increased temperatures. The vertical line represents the last data point plotted. Its bright surface reflects sunlight back into space. The south polar residual cap of Mars is composed of layered, frozen carbon dioxide. Although found only in the Arctic and the Antarctic, it influences Earth’s climate in big ways. The ice and exposed seawater absorb more solar energy and this causes more melting and more warming. This image acquired on August 20, 2018 by NASAs Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows remnants of a deposit, composed of dry ice layered together with dust and water ice, that form the south polar residual cap. Ice loss was also prominent in the Sea of Okho… This is a false-color composite image made using infrared, red and green wavelengths. Video: The NASA satellite fleet in 2017, from low Earth orbit to the DSCOVR satellite taking in the million-mile view. At that time, ice which had been aging for years encompassed 20% of the total ice in the Arctic. The dashed vertical line indicates the date of the latest plotted and mapped data. Seasonal cycle of Northern Hemisphere sea ice extents (a) and areas (b), given as daily averages, for the years 2010 through 2020. This visualization shows the expanse of the annual minimum Arctic sea ice for each year from 1979 through 2020, with a graph overlay. The urgent questions are by how much and how quickly. Video: Seasonal changes in carbon dioxide. Satellites have provided a reliable tool for continuously monitoring changes in the Arctic ice since 1979. It happened again in the mid-2000s. Nasa images show two Canadian ice caps have disappeared. This visualization shows sea surface temperature (SST) data from January 2016 through March 2020. This was the eleventh lowest in the satellite record, 650,000 square kilometers (251,000 square miles) below the 1981 to 2020 March average and 490,000 square kilometers (189,000 square miles) above the record low March extent in 2017. Figure 7. A satellite-based data record starting in late 1978 shows that indeed rapid changes have been occurring in the Arctic, where the ice coverage has been declining at a substantial rate. Figure 3. The ice caps were in the Arctic Circle on Canada's Ellesmere Island but satellite pictures from Nasa … In 1999, the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) showed that the carbon dioxide layers have been eroded to form a variety of circular pits, arcuate scarps (arc … Embed this resource by pasting the following code into your website: This website is produced by the Earth Science Communications Team at, Site Editor: The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is … Video: Images created from GRACE data showing changes in Greenland ice mass since 2002. The extents in km2 for the current and for the years of minimum and maximum extents are provided below the image. Video: For 15 years, GRACE tracked freshwater movements around the world. In 2020, the Arctic minimum sea ice covered an area of 3.36 million square kilometers. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio. 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