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How Do We Know: Shrinking Arctic Sea Ice

Climate Central

This short video from Climate Central explains the technology used to monitor changes in Arctic sea ice. Long-term tracking (since the late 1970's) shows Arctic sea ice has been on a steady decline and this could have significant implications for global temperatures.

Video length is 2:01 min.

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Ocean as climate control, oceanic conveyor belt; abrupt changes in thermohaline circulation
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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators may wish to use the video to introduce a discussion about Arctic sea ice. It could also act as an effective summary for such a discussion. Students can compare the data as shown up to 2009 with current information on ice extent.

About the Science

  • The points in this video are well-illustrated by satellite images and animations. Shows seasonal as well as annual fluctuations in ice coverage. Good explanation of the ice albedo effect in general terms.
  • Comments from expert scientist: It raises concern about the shrinking cryosphere more specifically the northern polar region which is experiencing drastic changes. The data shown here covers time period from 1979 - 2009. The Arctic cryosphere however depicts the similar decreasing trend till now, i.e. 2013.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video does a good job of explaining how the extent of Arctic sea ice is changing and what its implications are. While there is no teacher's guide, the video should stimulate a good discussion.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • High-quality video. No closed captioning.

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