About Our Analyses
As the frozen parts of our planet face rapid and unprecedented change, NSIDC has been sharing how and why its key features are changing. These analyses are easy to read, published regularly, and describe current cryospheric conditions, along with local and global implications. NSIDC produces the Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis (ASINA), Greenland Ice Sheet Today, Antarctic Ice Sheet Today, and Snow Today, targeting a wide audience of educators, scientists, stakeholders, policymakers, journalists, and the general public.
Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis
The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on the planet, and as a result, sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is decreasing. Sea ice loss has far-reaching effects on the planet because the ice helps regulate Earth’s climate, influences global weather patterns, and affects ocean circulations. Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis (ASINA) is a NASA-funded website managed by NSIDC that provides daily near-real-time data and monthly insights on Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. NSIDC scientists report on changing sea ice conditions and what influences its behavior.
Visit ASINA to read monthly analyses in autumn, winter, and spring, and bimonthly analyses in summer. The ASINA team also tracks and announces the minimum and maximum extents for both polar regions. Analyses are based on NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data that are freely available to the public through the NASA NSIDC Distributed Active Archive Center. ASINA posts generally include information on air temperature, pressure, precipitation patterns, circulation patterns, ocean temperatures, and new scientific research from the Arctic science community.
Greenland Ice Sheet Today
Two-thirds of Greenland lies within the Arctic Circle, where temperatures are disproportionately increasing faster than the rest of the planet. Thick ice covers 80 percent of Greenland, and like Arctic sea ice, the Greenland Ice Sheet has been rapidly shrinking since the mid 1990s. It is the world’s largest contributor to sea level rise, with ice loss expected to accelerate in the coming decades.
The Greenland Ice Sheet Today website provides daily data imagery of melt conditions on the Greenland Ice Sheet during the melt season, roughly April through September. NSIDC scientists, in collaboration with an international team of scientists, report on how the ice sheet is changing over time. This website is an extension of the ASINA project and is funded under the same NASA grant.
The Antarctic Ice Sheet, the largest ice sheet on Earth, has been losing substantial ice mass since the early 1990s, adding to global sea level rise. During the Antarctic melt season, NSIDC publishes daily data images and periodic analyses of melt conditions on the same website as the Greenland Ice Sheet Today. NASA funds the site under the ASINA grant.
According to the United States Geological Survey, as much as 75 percent of the water in some western states are derived from snowmelt. Therefore, it is important to track where snow falls and accumulates, to know how much water is stored in snow, and how much solar energy is reflected off clean snow or absorbed by dirty snow, affecting meltwater timing.
Snow Today website provides daily data images of snow conditions in near real time across the western United States using a combination of satellite data and surface observations. The Snow Today project also provides data and analysis of snow trends across the current season and between seasons. Data and analysis include snow-covered area, snow cover days, how much water is stored in snow (snow water equivalent), snow albedo (the brightness of snow), snow radiative forcing (which measures how much the snow absorbs solar energy because of snow impurities such as dust, dirt, or soot), how recent storms or melt events affect these factors, and how the numbers compare to past years. NASA also funds Snow Today, which is operated in collaboration with the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. The data and analyses from Snow Today target the Earth Science community, water resource managers, hydrologists, and winter recreationists.