Polar Climate Change: Shrinking Arctic Ice in a Temporal Context
Track: Defense and Intelligence
Author(s): Sherief Guirguis
Analysis of meteorological satellite imagery confirms a progressive annual decline in the extent of Arctic sea ice over the course of several decades. The summer of 2007 was historic in that record levels of ice retreat and increased ocean temperatures were measured which exceeded all previous records. NGA developed an analytical method that performs a pixel average of Arctic sea ice extents from 1980 through 2007, and the primary tool used within ArcGIS was Spatial Analyst. The results show that permanent ice cover is contracting at a rate of over 7% each decade. Arctic sovereignty issues play heavily into this phenomenon as many littoral nations are vying for exclusive economic rights to the vast amount of natural resources contained within the region. Furthermore, northern sea routes are becoming increasingly navigable and for longer periods of time. This presentation will expand NGA's role in this issue and describe the analytical method.
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