Current sea ice maps for Arctic and Antartic

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Snow depth on Arctic sea ice

12 February 2019
Snow on Arctic sea ice plays an important role in the Arctic climate system. It reflects the majority of the incoming solar radiation and isolates the sea ice from warm air in summer and therefore slows down its melting. In addition, information about snow depth is needed for sea ice thickness retrievals based on satellite altimetry. Read more here...

Sea-ice extent in the Southern Ocean now approaching its summer minimum – what lessons we can learn from the latest RV Polarstern expeditions to the Weddell Sea

30 January 2019
If we review the sea-ice extent in the Antarctic over the past few weeks, we can see an exciting trend – and not just in our potential interpretations, but also when we compare the current situation to sea-ice conditions in previous years. Chief Scientist Dr Olaf Boebel from RV Polarstern expedition reports: “This year we’ve actually had difficulties finding suitable ice floes where we could conduct the planned marine biology experiments. But in terms of our plotted course and staying on the Polarstern’s schedule, the conditions are of course excellent.” Read more here…

The AWI’s Antarctic fast-ice research programme at the overwintering station Neumayer III in Atka Bay

11. January 2019
In order to arrive at a better understanding of the processes at work, as well as the seasonal and interannual changes in the fast ice of Atka Bay, sea-ice measurements have been taken there on a regular basis since 2010. The fast ice in Atka Bay is predominantly seasonal.
The routine measurements in Atka Bay are taken by the overwintering team at the Neumayer Station from early spring to the thawing of the bay in January / February. Essentially, they gather measurements of snow, fast-ice and platelet-ice thickness along a uniform 24-km transect that covers the entire bay from west to east. Read more here ...

New Evidence Regarding the Reliability of Sea-ice Predictions on Sub-seasonal Time Scales

19 November 2018
“The demand for reliable forecasts that describe the evolution of the sea ice from days to months in advance has substantially grown in the last decades,” explains Lorenzo Zampieri –a PhD student at the Alfred Wegener Institute’s Young Investigator Group Seamless Sea Ice Prediction (SSIP). The prediction of Arctic sea ice extent and sea ice edge is by now a major challenge but is increasingly in demand in traditional forecasting systems. Read more here...

Arctic sea-ice extent remains extremely low

6 November 2018
“This year, the autumnal rebound in the size of sea-ice cover has been a very slow process; as a result, we’re still at a very low level. Possible causes include the continued warm
atmospheric temperatures during the past several weeks, and the residual heat stored in the ocean,” explains Professor Christian Haas, head of the sea-ice physics section at the AWI. Read more here...

Summer sea-ice extent still retreating – minimum in sight

13 September 2018
“We are approaching this year’s minimum sea-ice extent in the Arctic, and this summer the ice concentration has descreased to its lowest value since observations started, in 1979,” according to Professor Christian Haas, Head of the Sea Ice Physics Section at the AWI. The absolute minimum will probably be 4,4 ± 0.1 million km2. “Due to uncertainties resulting from the different analysis methods, there can be slight discrepencies between the values from different data centres.” Read more here…

Real time course plot R.V. Polarstern
Where is Polarstern?