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Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks To New Low In Satellite Era | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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Arctic Sea Ice Shrinks To New Low In Satellite Era

This visualization shows the extent of Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26, 2012, the day the sea ice dipped to its smallest extent ever recorded in more than three decades of satellite measurements, according to scientists from NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center. The data is from the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Special Sensor Microwave/Imager. The line on the image shows the average minimum extent from the period covering 1979-2010, as measured by satellites. Every summer the Arctic ice cap melts down to what scientists call its “minimum” before colder weather builds the ice cover back up. The size of this minimum remains in a long-term decline. The extent on Aug. 26. 2012 broke the previous record set on Sept. 18, 2007. But the 2012 melt season could still continue for several weeks.

 

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Image credit: Scientific Visualization Studio, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

 

NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced on Aug. 27, 2012, that the ice cap covering the Arctic Ocean is now smaller than ever recorded since consistent satellite measurements of the ice began more than three decades ago. Each year, the ice cap goes through a shrink-and-swell cycle, melting throughout the summer months before expanding through fall and winter. In the past decade in particular the minimum summertime extent of the ice cap has shown a consistent decline in size – a trend closely linked with the Arctic's warming climate. NASA and NSIDC scientists said the extent of Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26 surpassed the previous record minimum extent set in the summer of 2007. The ice cap will continue to melt and get smaller in the coming weeks before temperatures get colder and ice begins to refreeze as fall approaches.

 

NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) announced on Aug. 27, 2012, that the ice cap covering the Arctic Ocean is now smaller than ever recorded since consistent satellite measurements of the ice began more than three decades ago. Each year, the ice cap goes through a shrink-and-swell cycle, melting throughout the summer months before expanding through fall and winter. In the past decade in particular the minimum summertime extent of the ice cap has shown a consistent decline in size – a trend closely linked with the Arctic's warming climate. NASA and NSIDC scientists said the extent of Arctic sea ice on Aug. 26 surpassed the previous record minimum extent set in the summer of 2007. The ice cap will continue to melt and get smaller in the coming weeks before temperatures get colder and ice begins to refreeze as fall approaches.

 

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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.

 

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Taken on August 27, 2012