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Animation of Annual Variation in Sea Ice Extent in the Northern Hemisphere - Windows to the Universe

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Movie of Yearly Changes in Sea Ice around the North Pole

Images courtesy the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Animation by Windows to the Universe staff (Randy Russell).

This movie shows how the sea ice around the North Pole changes from season to season throughout the year. During the winter the cold temperatures freeze more and more of the water in the Arctic Ocean. The sea ice pack gets bigger and bigger. When is there the most sea ice? There is usually a lot of sea ice in early spring, right after winter ends, around March.

In late spring the weather gets warmer. The sea ice starts to melt. All through the summer more and more of the 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 September, right after the end of summer.

The freezing and melting of the sea ice happens year after year. It is one of the cycles that come with the changing seasons.

This movie shows seven years of this cycle, from January 2002 through December 2008.

(Note: If you cannot see the movie you may need to download the latest QuickTime player.)

If you want to see more movies and pictures of sea ice, go to the NSIDC web site to:

Last modified February 23, 2009 by Randy Russell.

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