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See an animation showing over time, the receding of summer sea ice in the Arctic .
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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...
The National Ice Center’s work is focused on ensuring safe and efficient...

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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 melted ice travels through...
Harp seals are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal...
Standing at twice the height of the Adélie penguins, emperor penguins are...

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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.

The Ocean Blog

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...
The elegant Antarctic minke whale feeds on krill (tiny crustaceans) during the winter. Groups of minke whales often are found on the edges of pack ice feasting so that they can grow thick layers of...
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...
Harp seals are protected in the United States by the Marine Mammal Protection Act . Although they are not considered endangered, as sea ice melting earlier and earlier each year, available harp seal...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
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...
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...
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...
On average, Arctic sea ice has decreased by four percent per decade since the late 1970s. But at the same time, Antarctic ice has increased by 1 percent. Scientists are investigating why . More about...
Hidden beneath Arctic ice is a world few have ever seen. Take the icy plunge with a team of ice-loving scientists.
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...
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...
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 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...
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