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Advancing knowledge of Earth's frozen regions

NSIDC manages and distributes scientific data, creates tools for data access, supports data users, performs scientific research, and educates the public about the cryosphere.

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Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis

Scientific analysis of Arctic sea ice conditions plus daily images
ELOKA

ELOKA

Working together to understand the changing Arctic system
Snow Today

Snow Today

Scientific analysis of snow conditions in the Western United States plus daily images
The NASA DAAC at NSIDC

The NASA DAAC at NSIDC

NASA Earth science data on snow, ice, cryosphere, and climate
Visit the Cryosphere

Visit the Cryosphere

Facts, photos and educational resources about Earth's frozen regions
Greenland Today

Greenland Today

Daily surface melt images from NASA data, and scientific analysis

News

13 January 2021

Red and green algae that grow on snow in the Antarctic Peninsula (AP) cause significant extra snowmelt on par with melt from dust on snow in the Rocky Mountains, according to a first-of-its-kind scientific research study led by Alia Khan, affiliate research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and assistant professor at Western Washington University. Algal blooms are likely to increase in Antarctica as the planet continues to warm, which will further exacerbate seasonal snowmelt and contribute to the expansion of ice-free areas in the AP region. This could have serious impacts on regional climate, snow and ice melt, freshwater availability and ecosystems, yet is not accounted for in current global climate models. Results of the research were published on January 13, 2021, in the European Geosciences Union’s The Cryosphere.

11 January 2021

In September 2018, NASA launched the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) to help scientists investigate why and how much the frozen parts of our world are changing as a result of global warming. This week, nearly two years after data initially became available to the public, downloads of data files from the satellite hit 10 million. All ICESat-2 data are housed and managed at the NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center (NSIDC DAAC).

27 October 2020

Ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet has accelerated significantly over the past two decades, transforming the shape of the ice sheet edge and therefore coastal Greenland, according to scientific research led by Twila Moon, deputy lead scientist of the National Snow and Ice Data Center. These changes to the ice sheet could have far-reaching impacts on ecosystems and communities, as the flow of water under the ice sheet as well as nutrient and sediment flow are altered. Results of the research were published on October 27 in the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Earth Surface.

21 September 2020

Arctic sea ice has likely reached its minimum extent for the year, at 3.74 million square kilometers (1.44 million square miles) on September 15, 2020, according to scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. The 2020 minimum is the second lowest in the nearly 42-year satellite record. 

16 September 2020

The concentration of mercury in fish in Alaska’s Yukon River may exceed EPA mercury criterion by 2050 if greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming are not constrained, according to new scientific research led by the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s (NSIDC) Kevin Schaefer. This first of its kind research estimates potential releases of mercury from thawing permafrost in high and low emissions scenarios. The researchers predict that by 2200, the mercury emitted into the atmosphere annually by thawing permafrost could compare with current global anthropogenic emissions under a high emissions scenario. Their results were published on September 16 in Nature Communications. 

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The Latest on Snow and Ice

13 January 2021
December snow-covered area and snow cover days in the western United States were below average... read more
12 January 2021
Greenland Today expands to cover the Antarctic melt season... read more
5 January 2021

The Arctic climate was extraordinary in 2020, but the year ended with a less spectacular... read more

2 December 2020

Entering December, which is the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, sea ice extent... read more

10 November 2020

The 2020 melt season in Greenland is over, finishing thirteenth for cumulative melt-day extent... read more