National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

What's New

March 03, 2015

The age of Arctic sea ice can be determined using satellite observations and drifting buoy records to track the movement of ice floes, and can be a rough indicator for ice thickness. 

This NOAA PMEL animation shows the age of the ice at the end of each winter since 1987. Paler colors indicate older ice, with light blue indicating 4-year ice to white indicating very old ice.

In the 1980’s, 26% of the Arctic winter ice pack consisted of thick ice built up over multiple years. After 2007, older ice diminishes rapidly and is replaced by younger ice. Starting in 2011, very old ice remains only along the Canadian coast.

At the end of winter 2014, only 10% of the ice pack was old ice, less than half the amount in the early 1980’s, and very old ice has become more rare. Learn more about Arctic Sea ice in 2014 in the Sea Ice article in the 2014 Arctic Report Card and visit PMEL's Arctic Research Page.

PMEL in the News

February 23, 2015

U.S. coastal communities better start preparing for ocean acidification now, especially if we want scallops, oysters and other shellfish to keep appearing on our dinnerplates. That’s the message of a new study that shows that shellfisheries across the U.S. are more vulnerable to climate change’s

February 15, 2015

In the wake of an epic Super Bowl, the 14 competing teams of the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, The XPRIZE Oceans Operations Staff, and I descended on Seattle--home of the Seahawks-- for phase 3 coastal trials. We had not anticipated the daily sea of purple-clad aquarium visitors streaming