Jump to content Jump to footer
Install App

Install this app on your device for a better experience.

Learn More

In this detail section, you’ll have the chance to comprehensively expand your basic grasp of sea ice.

In “Sea-ice Physics”, we’ll take a closer look at sea-ice formation and change processes and show you in more detail how tiny ice crystals in the briny polar seas can form metre-thick ice cover, and how this cover changes with time. In addition, we’ll address all aspects of sea ice’s central role in the Earth system and for our planet’s climate. In “Sea-ice Biology”, we’ll focus on the amazing biodiversity in and on the ice. From tiny ice algae to polar bears and blue whales, you’ll learn about all sea-ice organisms great and small, and their roles within the food web. In “Sea-ice Measuring Methods”, you’ll learn how researchers investigate sea ice and which tools they use to do so – including research vessels, remotely operated vehicles, and satellites. Lastly, in “Sea-ice Modelling” we’ll fill you in on one of the most important methods in modern Earth system and climate research. We’ll show you how researchers use computers to virtually “reconstruct” sea ice and project how it will change in response to climate change, and what grave consequences its loss could have for the entire planet.


Sea-ice Physics

What fundamental processes control the formation, growth and changes in sea ice? Sea-ice physics can offer answers. Here you’ll learn all about freezing processes, the desalination of sea ice, and interactions between the ice, ocean and atmosphere.

Sea-ice Biology

Sea ice is hardly lifeless: on top, down below and even inside, it’s veritably crawling with organisms that know every trick in the book when it comes to enduring the cold and dark. Here you’ll learn all about life in the ice – from tiny algae to massive blue whales.

Measuring Methods

Cutting-edge technologies help researchers to precisely measure the extent and status of the sea ice, and to monitor its long-term development. Here you’ll learn more about drifting buoys and remote sensing based on aircraft and satellites.


Similar to climate models, sea-ice models use computers to simulate reality. Here you’ll learn how mathematical methods can be used to simulate the extent and mass of sea ice, and to predict its future development in a changing climate.

Sea Ice for Beginners

You’re interested in sea ice and are looking for an overview? Then you’ve come to the right place! We’ll explain the most important basics. Where does sea ice come from? Where can it be found? And what part does it play in the Earth system?


Science invariably involves terminology. To help you find your way, we’ve linked key terms to an extensive glossary. Just click on the term within the text and you’ll find a brief definition – from A for albedo to Z for zooplankton.