View NSIDC Data on Virtual Globes: Google
The National Snow and Ice Data Center offers some of our
data in the form of images. We have created Google Earth™ files
that enable you to overlay the following data-based images on a virtual
globe. Our goal is to help people better understand the cryosphere—where
the world is frozen—by making our data more visible and interactive.
Featured Data highlights some of our
most requested data, as well as our newest Google Earth files.
You can view more snow, ice, ice shelves, glaciers, permafrost,
and sea ice on the globe.
Or, you can use Google Earth to locate cryospheric
field data sets on the globe.
Note: Each of our Google Earth files may reference multiple
subjects and data sets. A particular file may be listed under more than
one subject in the table that follows.
Sea Ice Extent, 1979-2012
Compare satellite images of September
sea ice minimum extents for the last thirty years for both the Arctic and the Antarctic.
sea ice extent, 1979-2013 file for Google Earth (KMZ,
343 KB, Updated October 2013)
Data Source: Sea Ice Index
Sea Ice: Minimum and Maximum Extents
View Arctic and Antarctic sea
ice extents from 1979 through present for the months March (maximum sea ice extents) and September (minimum sea ice extents). Note: September is the default month when the file is opened. To see March, click on the March layer in the Google Earth side panel.
Sea ice extents
file for Google Earth (KMZ, 1.8 MB, Updated July 2013).
Data Source: Sea Ice Index
A Climate Change Tour of Cold Places
View a narrated tour of the snowy and icy regions of the world covering sea ice, glaciers, ice shelves, and permafrost.
Climate Change Tour of Cold Places (KML, 32 KB)
Data Sources and Acknowledgements
Note: This was a collaborative project between NSIDC and the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education.
Also see: Scientists Answer Student's Questions about the Cryosphere
Ice Bridge Collapse, February-April 2009
View a time series of satellite
images showing the break up of an ice bridge that was shoring up
the Wilkins ice shelf.
ice bridge collapse file for Google Earth (KMZ, 547 KB)
Data Source: Moderate Resolution Imaging
Snow (MODIS Sensor)
View global, monthly average
snow cover each month for one year:
NOTE: Currently, this time series ends with 2009, and the following months are also missing from this time series: June 2001, March 2002, and December 2003.
2009 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2008 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2007 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2006 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2005 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2004 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2003 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2002 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2001 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
2000 snow cover (KML, 670 KB)
Data Source: MODIS/Terra Snow Cover Monthly L3 Global 0.05Deg CMG, Version 5
View More Snow, Ice, Glaciers, Permafrost,
and Sea Ice on the Globe
View glacier photograph pairs
showing how some glaciers have changed over time
and climate change file
for Google Earth (KML,
Data Source: Glacier Photograph Collection
in Glaciers, the Larsen B Ice Shelf, and Arctic Sea Ice Extent
View photographs showing long-term
changes in glaciers; watch the disintegration of the Larsen B ice
shelf; and view Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents from 1979
ice shelves, and sea ice file for Google Earth (KML,
Data Sources: Glacier Photograph
Collection; Sea Ice Index; Animation
of Larsen B breakup
View photographs of more than
10,000 glaciers, 1880s to present
Glaciers and permafrost file for Google Earth (KML,
Data Source: Glacier Photograph Collection; Circum-Arctic
Map of Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions
Note:.On October 1, 2007 we added more than 1,200
Greenland glaciers and several Franz Josef, New Zealand glaciers.
Prior users may download the new file to get the updates.
GLIMS ASTER Glacier Footprints
View approximately 150,000
ASTER browse images over regions of the world where glaciers exist
ASTER glacier footprints file (KMZ, 4 KB)
Data Source: GLIMS Glacier Database; Terra
ASTER Metadata Inventory, EROS
Annual Surface Melt, 1979 - 2007
View the extent and frequency
of surface melt for the Greenland ice sheet
melt file for Google Earth (KMZ,
Data Source: Greenland Ice Sheet
Melt Characteristics Derived from Passive Microwave Data
IceTrek Iceberg Tracks
Explore the lifecycle of drifting
Antarctic icebergs, and view photos from instruments riding on
iceberg tracks file (KMZ, 6.7 MB)
Data Source: IceTrek Web site
Shelves: Breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf
Watch the disintegration of
the Larsen B ice shelf in 2002, as captured in MODIS satellite
B ice shelf file for Google Earth (KMZ, 3 MB)
Data Source: Animation
of Larsen B breakup
Permafrost, Ground Ice
View permafrost and ground ice types
and extents in the Northern Hemisphere
Glaciers and permafrost file for Google Earth (KML, 8 KB)
Data Source: Circum-Arctic Map of
Permafrost and Ground-Ice Conditions
Ice: Nordic Seas Ice Edge
View changes in the sea ice
edge in the Nordic Seas, from 1967 to 2002, for the months March
Seas ice edge (KML, 892 KB)
Data Source: March through August
Ice Edge Positions in the Nordic Seas, 1750-2002
Locate Cryospheric Field Data
Sets on the Globe