ESA satellite images record lowest Arctic ice cover

September 14, 2007 at 9:22 am | Posted in Arctic, Arctic sea ice, Climate change, ESA, European Space Agency, Images, Maps, Northern Passages, Observations, Records, Satellites, Sea routes, Visual aids | 4 Comments

Envisat ASAR mosaic of the Arctic Ocean September 2007 with open sea routesEnvisat ASAR mosaic animations for 1-11 September 2005, 2006, 2007

Envisat ASAR mosaic of the Arctic Ocean September 2007 with open sea routes

Envisat ASAR mosaic of the Arctic Ocean for early September 2007, clearly showing the most direct route of the Northwest Passage open (orange line) and the Northeast Passage aka Northern Sea Route only partially blocked (blue line). The dark grey colour represents the ice-free areas, while green represents areas with sea ice.

Credits: ESA

Envisat ASAR mosaic animations for 1-11 September 2005, 2006, 2007

This animation is comprised of Envisat ASAR mosaics of the Arctic Ocean for 2005, 2006 and 2007 and highlights the changes in sea ice. The ice-free areas appear as dark grey and the sea ice areas as light grey.

The data in each yearly mosaic were acquired between 1 and 11 September by ASAR working in Global Monitoring Mode with a spatial resolution of 1 km.

Note the exceptionally large ice-free area extending from the Siberia coast up to the vicinity of the North Pole in the 2007 mosaic.

Each mosaic contains approximately 200 Envisat images processed by the Earth Observation G-POD (Grid Processing On Demand) operated at ESA/ESRIN. G-POD is a powerful GRID-based environment coupled with large online archives of Earth Observation data products.

Credits: ESA

More details and high resolution images at Satellites witness lowest Arctic ice coverage in history on the European Space Agency (ESA) Observing the Earth website.


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  1. I am interested to see more recent pictures taken on or about New Years day 2008 and the dramatic increase in ice cover due to the slightly below normal temperature conditions. Over a month of minus 30 to minus 40 deg C.

  2. Hello Lewis,

    There is a graph, the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly, in a time series from January 1978 through December 2007 that shows the increase in ice cover you mention. Another graph indicating the same in shorter time frame, i.e. for this past year, is at Current Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Area, and this is plotted for the most recent 365 days.

    This is a big !ALERT! on the Cryosphere Today website today, 1 January 2008, stating in full:

    NOTE: The timeseries graphs on this site are currently incorrect. We had a hardware problem corrupt the data and are currently recreating the timeseries from original data sources. Expect the correct data in 5-7 days. We apologize for the inconvenience.

    So, do not use those timeseries graphs yet: I have deliberately broken the links to them until I hear they have been corrected!
    Any satellite image for today, New Year’s Day 2008, by ESA at least, would not appear immediately. When I find one, perhaps from NSIDC or NatIce by NOAA, I shall post it.
    The key point of this post was to register the fact that this year’s summer melt of sea ice in the Arctic was shocking by any standards: even scientists who study the cryosphere day-in-day-out were taken aback by the rate of melt and extent of ice-free regions.
    I do not know what the situation is with regard to the winter ice freeze now, other than it is happening, as it does every year at this time, and I am looking up a few satellite images as I type đŸ˜‰

  3. Hi I was just wondering why you don’t have the 2008-2009 images up. I would really like to see them.. Thanks

  4. Hello Daniel,

    The only reason I am way behind on climate change topics here is that I am stretched in all directions with other projects and burning the midnight oil on those, so my blog has had to take a back seat for several months, but next week I hope I can begin to catch up …

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