Arctic Sea Ice Changes During the Satellite Era

This video shows the history of sea ice distributions in the Arctic since satellite monitoring of this region began.

The Arctic sea ice extent has been declining over the last several decades due to greenhouse gases and the effects of rapid warming in Arctic. Annual minimum extents have had larger relative declines than the annual maximum extents. Recently, sea ice declines have created brief periods of navigable open water each year.

Though global warming is ultimately responsible for the recent increases in Arctic Ocean temperatures, the Arctic is warming much faster than the global average. In part this is due to the amplifying effect of sea ice declines. Sea ice reductions allow more sunlight to be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean, in turn leading to greater warming than would otherwise be expected.

Data visualization ©Dr. Robert Rohde

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