The two exercises below will investigate if the ice sheets in the North Atlantic are undergoing changes.
Changes in the Arctic Ice Sheet?
This exercise examines and compares the entension of the ice sheets in the North Atlantic during the winters of 1978-79 and 1993-94.
Can you see differences that may indicate climatic change?
The ice sheets in 1978-79
Extent of Arctic ice sheets in February 1979
Download the February 1979 image to open the Quicktime Movie showing monthly variation in ice coverage.
The movie can be operated to show one image at a time by using the control panel below the movie.
During which month was the ice sheet at its maximum, and when was it at its minimum? Explain why.
The ice sheets in 1993-94
Download the February 1994 image to open another window showing a movie from 1993-94. Arrange your windows side by side on the screen to be able to see both movies together. Navigate through the two movies one month at a time.
Compare the ice sheets of the two winters month by month. Do you find any major differences between the two years?
Extent of Arctic ice sheets in February 1994
Go to the month of February in both movies.
Note the ice sheets in the sea around Svalbard (Spitsbergen) and along the east coast of Greenland, and describe the differences between the two winters.
How can these differences affect deep water formation? Could it affect the Gulf Stream and the polar ice sheets in the future?
Study your basic textbook to learn how the weather in Northern Europe may be affected by changes in the ice sheets in the North Atlantic.