Find a
Select grade level(s) Select resource type(s) Select collection(s) Select standard(s) Skip navigation Digital Library for Earth System Education
Digital Library for Earth System Education
Search tips
Earth Exploration Toolbook Chapter: Whither Arctic Sea Ice? DLESE Reviewed Collection
In this chapter, users take the role of students from a small town in Colorado, who team up with students from the town of Churchill, Manitoba, to explore changing sea ice conditions in the Arctic. Together they examine an animation that shows 30 years of satellite images to see how the extent of sea ice in the Arctic has diminished over time. The chapter storyline is built around the real-life case study of Dr. Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist from Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Meier instructs the students in the use of ImageJ to measure sea ice extents near Churchill from remotely sensed images taken every November. Students import their measurements into Excel and build a graph that documents the changing sea ice conditions. Looking for potential causes of the changes they see, the students turn to the NCEP temperature reanalysis website to download and graph temperature data for the same time period. Using Churchill's situation as a jumping off point, students can employ their new image processing and analysis skills to research the changing sea ice extents in other regions of the Arctic.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Case study
    • Module / Unit
  • Visual:
    • Imagery - remotely sensed
    • Map
    • Photograph
  • Dataset:
    • In-situ
    • Remotely sensed
  • Atmospheric science
  • Climatology
  • Cryology
  • Environmental science
Technical requirements:
Excel spreadsheet
QuickTime plug-in
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
This product is freely available on the Web.
DLESE Catalog ID: NASA-ESERevProd-000-000-000-596
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Contact: Marian Grogan