nasaThis summer's sea ice minimum in the Arctic is still the sixth lowest extent of the satellite record and is 432,000 square miles (1.12 million square kilometers) lower than the 1981-2010 average, roughly the size of Texas and California combined.
The ice cap covering the Arctic Ocean shrinks and expands with the passing of the seasons, melting in the summer and refreezing during the long, frigid Arctic winter. This year, cooler weather in the spring and summer led to a late start of the melt season and overall less melt.
This animation shows the daily Arctic sea ice extent and seasonal land cover change through Sept. 12, 2013, the day before NSIDC estimated that sea ice reached its minimum area of extent. The data was provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency from their AMSR2 instrument aboard the GCOM-W1 satellite.
This year, Arctic temperatures were 1.8 to 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 2.5 degrees Celsius) lower than average, according to NASA's Modern Era Retrospective analysis for Research and Applications, a merging of observations and a modeled forecast. The colder temperatures were in part due to a series of summer cyclones. In August 2012, a big storm caused havoc on the Arctic Ocean’s icy cover, but this summer’s cyclones have had the opposite effect: under cloudier conditions, surface winds spread the ice over a larger area.
Image Credit: NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio/Cindy Starr
#seaice #arctic #polarcap #nasa #ice #earth #earthscience #viz #nasaviz
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