The Melting Arctic: In recent years scientists have predicted that, due to the combination of summer ice melting, annual decrease in ice extent, and ice pack drift driven by wind and current, there will soon be open water at the North Pole, and in due course the arctic will be nearly completely ice free in the summer. Latest models suggest it will be several decades before the first largely ice-free summer occurs, but if current trends are taken as a guide this could happen within a decade.
Record-Shattering Arctic Summer: As predicted the ice retreated way beyond the record set on the 18th of September 2007, and you will find a full record of the event here and on the App.
The record was broken towards the end of august when the ice extent was already below the 2007 record by an area the size of Wales. The ice continued to shrink much further until 16th September 2012, when the area of additional ice lost compared to 2007 reached 760,00 sq km – an area over 3 times the size of the UK! The ice edge did not quite reach the North Pole this time, but got within a few hundred kilometers, as recorded on the COSMO-SkyMed radar satellite images you will find in the image library.
Most satellites do not see the actual pole as their orbits do not go near enough, but the Italian Space Agencies COSMO-SkyMed radar satellite has a wider field of view and a larger constellation than other radar satellites, giving it an unrivalled ability to image the North Pole. Our sister Telespazio company e-Geos initiated an imaging campaign to monitor ice at the pole through the 2012 arctic summer and provided us with the radar images you will find there.
The ice is now re-growing, the Northern shipping passages are closed again, and we have stopped the radar imaging campaign for now. However, we will still you update the ice extent maps for a while, and have added some features to make the historic events of arctic summer 2012 easier to visualize. You can still download the app for free to see an animation of this year’s events at the pole, and get a push notification when we start adding new images and features.
*Images are uploaded daily Monday to Friday.
NOTE: You need to accept the Push Notification on the App as it will send you a message at 12noon GMT when new images are available for the App. If you download the App after 12noon GMT you will not receive a new image until the following day.
Recently changed in this version:
• New animation of the shrinking ice extent
• Updated COSMO-SkyMed satellite interpretation advice
• New Satellite ice movement image
• Updated Arctic Science information
• Latest info on the arctic ice extent