NSIDC Data on Google Earth

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.

Featured Data

September Sea Ice Minimum and March Maximum Extents, 1979 to 2021

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, 481 KB)
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.

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 (KML, 182 KB, Updated 2018))
Data Source: 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.
Also seeScientists Answer Student's Questions about the Cryosphere

Glaciers and Climate Change

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

Download: Glaciers and climate change file for Google Earth (KML, 48 KB)

Data Source: Glacier Photograph Collection

Download Google Earth

See Also

Movie of sea ice extents, 1979-2008, on Google Earth
2008 sea ice extent side-by-side with 1979-2008 climatology (QuickTime, 1.6 MB)

Citing these Google Earth Files

These data and Google Earth files are available free of charge with the proper citation. Please use the following as a guide when citing these files:

National Snow and Ice Data Center. [Title of Google Earth file.] NSIDC data on Google Earth. Digital media. http://nsidc.org/data/google_earth. Accessed [date of access].