Arctic Ice Melting Animation in Google Earth

Arctic Sea Ice melting in Google EarthYou may have heard in the news this summer about the ice in the arctic having melted to a much vaster extent than in previous years. But, a new update to a Google Earth time animation shows this melting was very dramatic. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has a time animation which shows the extent of ice melting in September of each year since 1979. Download the animation here (491 Kbytes). In Google Earth click on the “play” button on the right of the time slider to watch the animation (it will have to load images for each frame the first time through). You can see the melting gets worse in the last few years, but in 2007 the change was dramatic. They also have an animation showing the daily sea ice concentration summer of 2007 (612 KBytes).
The National Snow and Ice Data Center has some of the best scientific Google Earth content. They are using Google Earth to effectively show the condition of ice, glaciers, and snow around the world.
Related – other scientific visualizations:

About Frank Taylor

Frank Taylor started the Google Earth Blog in July, 2005 shortly after Google Earth was first released. He has worked with 3D computer graphics and VR for many years and was very impressed with this exciting product. Frank completed a 5.5 year circumnavigation of the earth by sailboat in June 2015 which you can read about at Tahina Expedition, and is a licensed pilot, backpacker, diver, and photographer.


  1. Why is the missing chunk on top of Alaska/Bering Street so much bigger than the missing parts over europe ?

  2. Perhaps Google should show pre-9/11 images of Manhattan, with the World Trade Center intact.

  3. Brandon says:

    Maybe they should throw in a little “real science” and explain that a KU environmental scientist found increased volcanic activity and a thinner mantle underneath the infamous arctic “ice river”.

  4. Dramatic? How? I have been playing that animation over and over but I can’t see anything dramatic. The summer of 2007 and 2008 has less ice but what meaning can you attach to a mere two very recent summer seasons?
    During those exact same times ice coverage appears larger than normal on the south pole.

  5. Why does Google Earth historical data show no sea ice in the artic? All December dates I select show open water and no sea ice.

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