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It’s confirmed: both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice —around 350 billion tons each year—and, as a result, sea level has risen 11.1 millimeters worldwide since 1992. This photo shows a summertime channel created...
See an animation showing over time, the receding of summer sea ice in the...
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Sea ice is typically viewed as the domain of physical and natural scientists,...
Drilling near the North Pole, Dr. Jan Backman reveals a brief moment in time...

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Looking through this iceberg's reflection in the Antarctic water, you can see the iceberg below the surface—some 90% of its total volume. Icebergs are pieces of freshwater ice broken off of glaciers or ice shelves, left to float...
How will changes in temperature affect glaciers and ice sheets? Dr. Sarah...
Harp seals are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal...

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Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
Small Adélie penguins live throughout the Antarctic, but are most abundant in the area of the Ross Sea. They lay eggs on the few rocky outcrops of land not covered in ice. Scientists have determined...
Weddell seals grind their teeth on holes in the ice to keep them open to their comings and goings between ocean and air. Their dives can last over an hour when they are looking for an opening in the...
New technology is making it possible for scientists to go where they’ve never gone before, the depths of the icy Arctic Ocean . By collecting organisms and mapping the seafloor, researchers can...
It’s confirmed: both Antarctica and Greenland are losing ice —around 350 billion tons each year—and, as a result, sea level has risen 11.1 millimeters worldwide since 1992. This photo shows a...
The Ross Sea, a 1.9 million square mile (3.6 million square km) stretch of ocean off the coast of Antarctica, has been nicknamed “ The Last Ocean .” And it’s not just a ploy to get your attention. In...
The threat that climate change poses to polar bears has received a lot of attention, but they are not the only Arctic species at risk. Ice-loving seals, such as harp, hooded and ringed seals, are...
Every year as the sun disappears for the winter, the surface waters around Antarctica freeze into a slab of ice 10-feet thick, which effectively doubles the size of the continent. In the summer, the...
How will changes in temperature affect glaciers and ice sheets? Dr. Sarah Das from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution explores this phenomenon first hand in Greenland, where she studies how the...
Travel to the ends of the earth—literally—and discover the polar ocean basins. Both the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean are defined by ice and dramatic shifts between endless day and endless...
The white body of the snow petrel blends in with the stark Antarctic landscape, accentuating the beautiful black eyes and beak of this seabird. They hunt in the sea ice, feeding on krill and fish...
Marine biologist Mette Kaufman measures the temperature of a recently-drilled ice core . Variations in temperature at different points of the ice core provide information about the living conditions...
Walruses use sea ice as platforms on which to nurse their young and launch their dives for clams and other bottom-dwellers. Each spring, walruses move northward to stay close to these perches as ice...
Drilling near the North Pole, Dr. Jan Backman reveals a brief moment in time when the Arctic was subtropical. More about world climate change can be found in our Climate Change featured story .
The National Ice Center’s work is focused on ensuring safe and efficient navigation, but it also supports scientific research and provides crucial information used by scientists to better monitor and...
See an animation showing over time, the receding of summer sea ice in the Arctic .
Looking through this iceberg's reflection in the Antarctic water, you can see the iceberg below the surface—some 90% of its total volume. Icebergs are pieces of freshwater ice broken off of glaciers...
This graph of the Arctic sea ice coverage shows how close the year 2011 is to reaching a record-low . The graph contains data through September 7, 2011. The National Snow and Ice Data Center , which...
At a recent staff meeting a Smithsonian colleague mentioned that one of his pastimes this summer has been keeping tabs on the Arctic sea ice. The question that's on many Arctic-watchers' minds is...
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