Encyclopedia of Remote Sensing

2014 Edition
| Editors: Eni G. Njoku

Sea Ice Concentration and Extent

  • Josefino C. Comiso
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-36699-9_162


Frozen sea water; Ice floe; Ice pack


Sea ice. Sea ice is any form of ice which originated from the freezing of seawater and is found in the sea.

Sea ice concentration. Sea ice concentration is the fraction of an observational area covered completely by sea ice.

Sea ice extent. Sea ice extent represents the total area covered partially or totally by sea ice. For remote sensing applications, a lower threshold of 15 % in the fraction of sea ice cover is usually applied.

Sea ice

Among the most seasonal and most dynamic parameters on the surface of the Earth is sea ice which at any one time covers about 3–6 % of the planet. In the Northern Hemisphere, sea ice grows in extent from about 6 × 106 km2 to 16 × 106 km2, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it grows from about 3 × 106 km2 to about 19 × 106 km2 (Comiso, 2010; Gloersen et al., 1992). Sea ice is up to about 2–3 m thick in the Northern Hemisphere and about 1 m thick in the Southern Hemisphere (Wadhams, 2002), and...

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Josefino C. Comiso
    • 1
  1. 1.Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory, Code 615Earth Sciences Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbeltUSA