About Our Analyses
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), Ice Sheets 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.
Ice Sheets Today
Together, the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets contain more than 99 percent of freshwater ice on Earth. If they both completely melted, they would raise sea level by an estimated 67.4 meters (223 feet). Long-term satellite data indicate that through most of the twentieth century, the ice sheets made very little contribution to sea level, and were nearly in balance in annual snowfall gain and ice or meltwater loss. However, the stability of the ice sheets has changed considerably in the twenty-first century.
Ice Sheets Today provides near-real time maps and graphs of melt conditions on the Greenland Ice Sheet during the melt season, roughly April 1 through November 1. NSIDC scientists, in collaboration with an international team of scientists, report on Greenland Ice Sheet conditions. During the Antarctic melt season, typically November 1 through April 1, the team publishes periodic maps, graphs, and analyses of Antarctic Ice Sheet melt conditions. Ice Sheets Today is funded by NASA under the ASINA grant. It was formerly known as Greenland Ice Sheet Today and Antarctic Ice Sheet Today before 2023.
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.