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Photos: 2011 Arctic Sea ice

These Arctic sea ice images represent real data captured by NASA’s Aqua satellite. The top image is from Mar. 7, when sea ice reached its maximum extent this year and the bottom image is from Sept. 9, around the time sea ice reached its minimum extent this year.
Image courtesy of NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, Goddard Space Flight Center
Arctic sea ice, as captured by the AMSR-E instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite on Mar. 7, 2011, when the maximum extent of sea ice this year was recorded.
Image courtesy of NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, Goddard Space Flight Center
Arctic sea ice is near its smallest extent of 2011, near the end of summer and the end of the Arctic ice melt season. This data visualization shows Arctic sea ice as recorded on Sept. 9, 2011 by the AMSR-E instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite.
Image courtesy of NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, Goddard Space Flight Center
On July 20, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy steamed south in the Arctic Ocean toward the edge of the sea ice.
Photo by Kathryn Hansen/NASA
On July 12, 2011, crew from the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy retrieved a canister dropped by parachute from a C-130, which brought supplies for some mid-mission fixes.
Photo by Kathryn Hansen/NASA
Alaska Dispatch

This set of visualizations from Goddard Space Flight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio captures the vast changes in Arctic sea ice from its annual maximum in late winter to its annual minimum in late summer this year. This year’s minimum extent measures as the second-lowest in the satellite record, which began in 1979.