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As climate change progresses, the seasonal ice covering the Arctic Ocean is becoming not only less extensive but also much younger and thinner. Watch recent, dramatic changes in sea ice in this data visualization.

Science Bulletins is a production of the National Center for Science Literacy, Education, and Technology (NCSLET), part of the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History. This visualization was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The datasets in this visualization have also been formatted for spherical display on systems such as NOAA's Science on a Sphere and Magic Planet. Download the materials at

Sea ice extent: NOAA/NSIDC
Sea ice age: C. Fowler/J. Maslanik/M. Tschudi, University of Colorado

Scientific advisors
Ned Gardiner, NOAA Climate Program Office
Mark Tschudi, University of Colorado

Footage provided by
Sea ice: Tartan Dragon Ltd. (open)/J. and J. Foster (close)/Image Bank Film/Getty Images
Storm: orbitrob/
Under-ice: Karen Frey/Clark University
Walruses: T3Media

This visualization was produced by the American Museum of Natural History under award NA10SEC0080014 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of NOAA or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Related Links

General resources

NSIDC: All About Sea Ice

NOAA Arctic Theme Page

NOAA ClimateWatch Magazine: Arctic Sea Ice Getting Thinner, Younger

NOAA ClimateWatch Magazine: Melt Pond “Skylights” Enable Massive Under-ice Bloom in Arctic

NASA Goddard Multimedia: NASA Discovers Massive Phytoplankton Bloom Under Arctic Sea


NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory

NOAA Climate Services

University of Colorado–Boulder: Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research

Clark University: Polar Science Research Laboratory

Arctic Sea Ice: The New Normal for spherical display


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