troubled watersTroubled waters

The concrete sea


Find out more about the Arctic Ocean.

Pancake and grease

Indigenous peoples, such as the Inuit and Cree have around 80 terms or words to describe the state of the sea ice.

80 words for ice - Download some examples

Here are images of early forming sea ice or pack ice, and 2 different descriptions. Can you match the descriptions to the images?

Grease ice: Ice crystals blown together on the surface of the water in a streaky soupy consistency similar to oil slicks

Pancake ice: Flat pieces of ice battered into rounds by waves and collisions - characteristic of turbulent waters

(Images: NOAA)

Download the NOAA's Observers' guide to sea ice


Useful links

image from NSIDCThe following graphs and maps illustrate sea ice over different periods, and at different stages.

National Snow and Ica Data Center (NSIDC):

This information is collected using satellites, which measure extent more accurately than thickness. The NSIDC sea ice index has more info about the satellites used to collect the data even in cloudy conditions and during the Arctic winter when darkness covers the region for six months.

The extent of sea ice in late winter is 14-16 million square kilomtres. The extent of sea ice in summer is 7 million square kilometres. In recent years the extent or area of sea ice in the summer is 4-6 million square kilometres.

Do you think you could drink a glass of melted sea ice water?

Polar expeditions use melted multiyear ice as a source of fresh water - why do you think multiyear ice is more potable than first year ice?


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