Compare Images of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Side-by-side
The pictures below show sea ice around the South Pole. Click on the popup menus above the pictures to choose which pictures to look at. You can look at two pictures at once and compare them.
- compare the sea ice in February and September for the same year (like February 2000 and September 2000)
- compare the sea ice in February for two different years (like February 1979 and February 2010)
- compare the sea ice in September for two different years
- click here if you want to look at sea ice in the northern hemisphere
Sea ice builds up during the winter when it is cold. When is there the most sea ice? There is usually a lot of sea ice in early spring, right after winter ends, around September. Remember, in the southern hemisphere, summer and winter happen at the opposite times of year from the northern hemisphere!
Over the summer, when it is warm, the sea ice melts. When is there the least sea ice? Since a lot of ice melts in the summer, there is usually much less sea ice in early fall around February, right after the end of summer.
The pink line in the pictures shows where the edge of the sea ice is, on average, in that month. Compare the edge of the ice in 1979 to the pink line. Now compare the edge of the ice in 2010 to the pink line. Do you see any difference?
Click here to see a movie of changes in sea ice over seven years (2002 to 2008). Watch how the ice melts in the summer and freezes and grows in the winter.
If you want to see more pictures of sea ice, go to the NSIDC web site to:
Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!
The Summer 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist
, available in our online store
, includes articles on rivers and snow, classroom planetariums, satellites and oceanography, hands-on astronomy, and global warming.
You might also be interested in:
Sea ice is frozen seawater. It floats on the oceans that are in Earth's polar regions. The salt in the seawater does not freeze. Very salty water gets trapped in the sea ice when it forms. The pockets...more
What Will You Find There? If you travel to the South Pole, you will find the continent of Antarctica surrounded by the Southern Ocean. The geographic South Pole is marked by a large sign that scientists...more
NASA now makes images of the whole Earth every month. There are no clouds in the images. They combine many pictures taken at different times. The polar ice caps look bigger than they really are. The movie...more
The Earth's orbit is in the shape of an ellipse (a stretched out circle), so that sometimes the Earth is closer to the Sun than at other times. Is this the cause of the seasons? You can imagine that if...more
The Southern Ocean is sometimes known as the Antarctic Ocean or South Polar Ocean. It surrounds Antarctica in the South Polar Region. The Southern Ocean is a bit different from other oceans. Other oceans...more
The oceans that are in the polar regions are a bit different from other oceans on Earth. There is often sea ice at the surface, especially during the winter months. And those chilly waters are home to...more
Windows to the Universe and other educational programs of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research Office of Education and Outreach invite you to explore Earth's polar regions with your students...more