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Compare Images of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Side-by-side

The images below show sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere. Select images from the popup menus to compare two images side-by-side.

Try this:

  • compare the sea ice in February and September for the same year
  • compare the sea ice in February for two different years
  • compare the sea ice in September for two different years
  • click here if you want to look at sea ice in the northern hemisphere

Select a month:
... and a year:

Select a month:
... and a year:

The images are courtesy of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

In the Southern Hemisphere (around the South Pole and Antarctica) the sea ice reaches its maximum extent in early spring, at the end of the long, cold winter. September is usually the month with the most sea ice.

The ice pack melts and breaks up over the summer. February is usually the month with the least sea ice (in the Southern Hemisphere).

The pink line in the images shows the average (from 1979 to 2000) edge of the ice pack for a particular month.

Click here to view an animation of the annual changes in sea ice extent in the Southern Hemisphere for a seven-year period (2002 through 2008). Click here to see the predictions that global climate models make about future changes in sea ice extent.

Go to the NSIDC web site to:

Last modified October 8, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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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.

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