• Arctic MEaSUREs
• Polar Year 07-08
• Landfast Sea Ice, ASF News & Notes
• Ice Thickness in Polynyas, ASF News & Notes
Sea ice has profound impacts on the rest of the planet and is a telling indicator of climate change. Though the extent of sea ice fluctuates, overall it is shrinking and substantially thinner than in past decades, and in spring and summer it is retreating earlier and faster. The melting, along with the absorption of sunlight by newly exposed, darker water, alters the circulations of oceans and the atmosphere, affecting weather globally.
Sea ice also plays a substantial role in feeding the world. Seasonal sea ice in the Bering Sea plays a critical role in an international fishery that provides an astonishing half of the U.S. seafood catch. The ice serves as a farm for tiny organisms that drive the entire ecosystem. In addition, sea ice provides wildlife nurseries, molting sites, dens, hiding places, feeding grounds, resting platforms, and even transportation for walruses that migrate by drifting.
Sea Ice Through Remote Sensing
Remote sensing has been central to observing and researching changes in sea ice. Synthetic aperture radar (SAR), used to create the majority of the imagery available in the ASF archive, is among the power tools of remote sensing and has been used extensively in the science of sea ice. SAR bounces a microwave radar signal off the Earth's surface, including water and ice, to detect physical properties. Unlike optical technology, SAR can "see" through darkness, clouds, and rain.
Arctic MEaSUREs See Arctic MEaSUREs
Arctic Ocean imagery and data analysis based on satellite remote sensing.
Images of Polar Regions See Polar Year 07-08
- High-definition satellite snapshots of the polar regions during 2007-2008 for gauging past and future environmental changes in the polar ice, ocean, and land. Collected as part of the Global Inter-agency International Polar-Snapshot Year (GIIPSY).