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Posts Tagged ‘NSIDC’

Arctic Sea Ice for February at Record Low for Second Consecutive Month

Posted by feww on March 5, 2016

Arctic Sea ice reformed or refroze up to 60 days later than average in 2015

Arctic sea ice extent for February was the lowest extent in the satellite record for the month.  Averaging 14.22 million km², it was 1.16 million km² below the 1981 to 2010 long-term average of 15.4 million km², breaking the previous record low (February 2005) by 200,000 km², reported the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).

arctic ice

arctic ice curve

Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

Antarctic sea ice extent

Antarctic sea ice extent reached its annual minimum on February 19, averaging 2.6 million km²,  the ninth lowest Antarctic sea ice minimum extent in the satellite record.

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Coldest Place on Earth Identified by Satellite

Posted by feww on December 10, 2013

Satellites measure super chilled temp of 93.2ºC (-135.8F) in East Antarctica

Researchers using satellite data have recorded the lowest temperatures on Earth at a remote ice plateau in East Antarctica, icing over a previous record set in 1983.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) found temperatures from −92 to −94ºC  (−134 to −137 degrees Fahrenheit) in a 1,000-kilometer stretch on the highest section of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

[Editor’s Note: According to several reports, the satellite sensors recorded a peak temperature of -94.7C (-135.8F) in August 2010.]

  • By comparison, The lowest recorded temperature in the United States measured at −62ºC (−79.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in Alaska, in northern Asia at -68ºC (−90.4 degrees Fahrenheit), at the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet at -75ºC (−103 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • The coldest temperature recorded in the U.S. so far this year was -41ºC (minus 42 degrees Fahrenheit) set in Jordan, Montana on December 7, as Arctic weather gripped much of the United States.
  • The coldest temperature detected on Earth’s Moon was -238ºC.
  • CO2 turns into dry ice at −78.5ºC (−109.3ºF) at standard temperature and pressure.

The measurements were made between 2003 and 2013 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) sensor on board the Aqua satellite and during the 2013 Southern Hemisphere winter by Landsat 8, a new satellite launched early this year by NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey, said NSIDC.

“I’ve never been in conditions that cold and I hope I never am,” said lead scientist Ted Scambos. “I am told that every breath is painful and you have to be extremely careful not to freeze part of your throat or lungs when inhaling.”

The previous record of −89.2ºC (−128.6 degrees Fahrenheit) was measured on July 21, 1983 at the Vostok Research Station in East Antarctica.

This image shows the location of record low temperature measurements for Antarctica. The red dots show where the record satellite-measured surface temperatures and the earlier record low air temperature  ccurred. Shades of gray are a compilation of the lowest MODIS-sensor land surface temperature readings made by NASA’s Aqua satellite during 2003-2013, with darker grays representing the coldest areas. Landsat 8 thermal images acquired in July and August of 2013 provided more detail on the coldest areas (purple squares). Elevation of the Antarctic surface is shown in green lines, and a blue lines provide an outline of the Antarctic continent, its islands, and the edge of its floating ice sheet. —Credit: Ted Scambos, National Snow and Ice Data Center — High Resolution Image

Scambos and his team found record low temperatures in several 5 by 10 kilometer pockets where the topography forms small hollows of a few meters deep. These hollows are present near the ice ridge that runs between Dome Argus and Dome Fuji—the ice dome summits of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet.

Under clear winter skies in these areas, cold air forms near the snow surface. Because the cold air is denser than the air above it, it begins to move downhill. The air collects in the nearby hollows and chills still further, if conditions are favorable.

“The record-breaking conditions seem to happen when a wind pattern or an atmospheric pressure gradient tries to move the air back uphill, pushing against the air that was sliding down,” Scambos said. “This allows the air in the low hollows to remain there longer and cool even further under the clear, extremely dry sky conditions,” Scambos said. “When the cold air lingers in these pockets it reaches ultra-low temperatures.”

“Any gardener knows that clear skies and dry air in spring or winter lead to the coldest temperatures at night,” Scambos said. “The thing is, here in the United States and most of Canada, we don’t get a night that lasts three or four or six months long for things to really chill down under extended clear sky conditions.”

Scambos suspected they would find one area that got extremely cold. Instead they found a large strip at high altitude where several spots regularly reach record low temperatures. Furthermore, dozens of these extremely cold areas reached about the same minimum temperatures of −92 to −94 degrees Celsius (−134 to −137 degrees Fahrenheit) on most years.

“This is like saying that on the coldest day of the year a whole strip of land from International Falls, Minnesota to Duluth, Minnesota to Great Falls, Montana reached the exact same temperature, and more than once,” Scambos said. “And that’s a little odd.”

Temperature inside Super Typhoon LEKIMA

Measuring at an estimated 150ºK, the temperature of the round patch located next to the eye of Super Typhoon LEKIMA made it the coldest place on or near planet Earth on October 24, 2013.

lekima temp
Super Typhoon LEKIMA. SW-IR satellite image recorded at 14:30UTC on October 24, 2013. Temperature of the patch located to the right of the typhoon’s eye measures about 150ºK (minus 123ºC) making it the coldest place on or near planet Earth. Image sourced from: CIMSS/SSEC/WISC.

The Hottest Place on Earth?

Satellite sensors detected a blazing high of 70.7ºC in the Dasht-e Lut desert in southeastern Iran in 2005.

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Arctic Sea Ice: Likely Record-Low Volume

Posted by feww on October 4, 2008

Arctic Sea Ice Down to Second-Lowest Extent; Likely Record-Low Volume – NSIDC

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) says despite cooler temperatures and ice-favoring conditions, long-term decline of Arctic ice cover is continuing.

As previously reported, Arctic sea ice extent for 2008 melt season as measured by satellite was the second-lowest level since 1979, reaching the lowest point on September 14, 2008. Average sea ice extent over the month of September, a standard measure in the scientific study of Arctic sea ice, was 4.67 million square kilometers. The record monthly low was 4.28 million square kilometers set in September 2007.

The 2008 observation strongly reinforces the thirty-year downward trend in Arctic ice extent, NSIDC said. The 2008 low was 34% below the long-term September average for the 1979 to 2000 period and only 9% greater than the 2007 record low. The 2008 low was so far below the average, it forced the negative trend in September extent downward to –11.7 % per decade (from 10.7 %).

A comparison of ice age in September 2007 (left) and September 2008 (right) shows the increase in thin first-year ice (red) and the decline in thick multi-year ice (orange and yellow). White indicates areas of ice below ~50 percent, for which ice age cannot be determined. AVHRR, SMMR SSM/I, and IABP buoy data.
From National Snow and Ice Data Center courtesy C. Fowler, J. Maslanik, and S. Drobot, University of Colorado at Boulder High-resolution image

“The trend of decline in the Arctic continues, despite this year’s slightly greater extent of sea ice. The Arctic is more vulnerable than ever.” —NSIDC Lead Scientist Ted Scambos

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