Arctic sea ice varied

Sea ice can take many forms, as seen in this image of Arctic sea ice from the DMS instrument from a recent Operation IceBridge aerial survey. Varying thicknesses of sea ice are shown here, from thin, nearly transparent layers to thicker, older sea ice covered with snow.

 

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Credit: NASA

 

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 March 28, 2011