Related topics: satellite · climate change · sea ice · climate models · arctic

A relationship between severe winter weather and Arctic warmth?

A new review article published in Nature Climate Change evaluates whether severe winter weather in the United States, Europe and Asia is sensitive to Arctic temperatures. The lead author is NSF-funded scientist Judah Cohen, ...

Meet the narwhal, 'unicorn of the sea'

Narwhals are often called the unicorns of the sea. The long tusk of the male narwhal sets these whales apart, but it's not the only thing that makes Monodon monoceros among the most intriguing and mysterious marine mammals.

Cracks in Arctic sea ice turn low clouds on and off

The prevailing view has been that more leads are associated with more low-level clouds during winter. But University of Utah atmospheric scientists noticed something strange in their study of these leads: when lead occurrence ...

Sea-ice-free Arctic makes permafrost vulnerable to thawing

Permafrost is ground that remains frozen throughout the year; it covers nearly a quarter of Northern Hemisphere land. The frozen state of permafrost enables it to store large amounts of carbon; about twice as much as in the ...

Change of shifts at the north pole

After exchanging research teams and crewmembers, the greatest expedition to the Central Arctic of all time is now entering the next phase, during which urgently needed research into the Arctic climate system will be conducted. ...

Shedding light in the dark: radar satellites lead the way

Spare a thought this Christmas for researchers hunkered down on their Polarstern icebreaker, adrift in the frozen Arctic Ocean. Subjected to temperatures as low as –45°C and the perpetual darkness of the polar winter, ...

Could we cool the Earth with an ice-free Arctic?

The Arctic region is heating up faster than any other place on Earth, and as more and more sea ice is lost every year, we are already feeling the impacts. IIASA researchers explored strategies for cooling down the oceans ...

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Polar ice packs

Polar ice packs are large areas of pack ice formed from seawater in the Earth's polar regions, known as polar ice caps: the Arctic ice pack (or Arctic ice cap) of the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic ice pack of the Southern Ocean, fringing the Antarctic ice sheet. Polar packs significantly change their size during seasonal changes of the year. However, underlying this seasonal variation, there is an underlying trend of melting as part of a more general process of Arctic shrinkage.

In spring and summer, when melting occurs, the margins of the sea ice retreat. The vast bulk of the world's sea ice forms in the Arctic ocean and the Southern Ocean, around Antarctica. The Antarctic ice cover is highly seasonal, with very little ice in the austral summer, expanding to an area roughly equal to that of Antarctica in winter. Consequently, most Antarctic sea ice is first year ice, up to 1 meter thick. The situation in the Arctic is very different (a polar sea surrounded by land, as opposed to a polar continent surrounded by sea) and the seasonal variation much less[citation needed], currently 28% of Arctic basin sea ice is multi-year ice, thicker than seasonal: up to 3–4 meters thick over large areas, with ridges up to 20 meters thick.

The amount of sea ice around the poles in winter varies from the Antarctic with 18,000,000 km² to the Arctic with 15,000,000 km².[citation needed] The amount melted each summer is affected by the different environments: the cold Antarctic pole is over land, which is bordered by sea ice in the freely-circulating Southern Ocean.

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