Google Earth Activities

Google Earth Activities

The National Snow and Ice Data Center offers some of our data in the form of images. From these, we have created Google Earth files that enable you to view them 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.

Google Earth map of sea ice extent
Google Earth map of sea ice extent — Credit: NSIDC

September Sea Ice Minimum and March Maximum Extents, 1979 to 2023

View Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extents from 1979 through present for the months September (minimum sea ice extents) and March (maximum sea ice extents).
Download: Sea Ice: Minimum and Maximum Extents (KMZ)
Data Source: Sea Ice Index, Version 3
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.


Largest Glaciers Google Earth screenshot
Largest glaciers Google Earth screenshot — Credit: NSIDC

Largest Glaciers and Glacier Complexes in the World

Tour the globe to view outlines of the three largest glaciers and glacier complexes in each of the 19 glacial regions of the world as defined by the Global Terrestrial Network for Glaciers.
Download: Largest Glaciers and Glacier Complexes (KMZ)
Data Source: Largest Glaciers and Glacier Complexes in the World, Version 1


title slide for climate change tour of cold places
— Credit: NSIDC

A Climate Change Tour of Cold Places

A narrated tour of the snowy and icy regions of the world covering sea ice, glaciers, ice shelves, and permafrost.
Download: Climate Change Tour of Cold Places (KMZ)
About: A Climate Change Tour for a K-12 Audience
Note: This was a collaborative project between NSIDC and the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education in 2009. The tour was reviewed and some content was updated in 2022.
Also seeScientists Answer Student's Questions about the Cryosphere


Photographs of the Toboggan glacier, Alaska from 1909 and 2000
Photographs of the Toboggan glacier, Alaska, one taken in 1909 and one taken in 2000 — Credit: NSIDC

Glaciers and Climate Change

View Glacier photograph pairs showing how some glaciers have changed over time.

Download: Glaciers and Climate Change (KMZ)

Data Source: Glacier Photograph Collection