Ice Sheets Today

Data images and analyses of polar ice sheet melt conditions

Featured Antarctic Ice Sheet Melt Images

Total melt days for Antarctic Ice Sheet up to February 15, 2024
The left map shows the total melt days for the Antarctic Ice Sheet from November 1 to February 15, 2024, with an up-close map of the Antarctic Peninsula to its right. The graph shows daily melt extent as a percent of the ice sheet for the 2023 to 2024 melt season through February 15, 2024, with the average values and ranges for the 1990 to 2020 reference period. — Credit: National Snow and Ice Data Center

About these images: These images of the Antarctic Ice Sheet are static and do not update daily, but rather near the timeline of melt analyses posts. Learn more about how to interpret the data and any known issues.


Featured Ice Sheet Analysis

Ice Sheet Analysis
February 22, 2024
Ice sheet surface melt on the Antarctic Peninsula abruptly dropped in mid-January and remained low through February 15. By contrast, melt day totals for the season were above average for the northern Larsen C and George VI Ice Shelves.

About Ice Sheets Today

meltwater cuts into Greenland ice sheet, exposing dirt
Water carves into the Greenland Ice Sheet, exposing layers of dust. At the edge of the ice sheet, surface melt releases old layers of dirt, dust, pollen, or ash that have traveled thousands of years into the ice. Under sunny weather, the darker areas heat up with radiation, melt the ice underneath, and thus accumulate in tiny potholes and meltwater creeks. — Credit: Julien Seguinot/Flickr

Together, the Antarctic and Greenland Ice Sheets contain more than 99 percent of freshwater ice on Earth. If they both completely melted, they would raise sea level by an estimated 67.4 meters (223 feet). Long-term satellite data indicate that through most of the twentieth century, the ice sheets made very little contribution to sea level, and were nearly in balance in annual snowfall gain and ice or meltwater loss. However, the stability of the ice sheets has changed considerably in the twenty-first century.

Ice Sheets Today offers the latest satellite data and scientific analyses on surface melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the Northern Hemisphere and Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Southern Hemisphere. Surface melt on each ice sheet results from a combination of daily weather conditions and the amount of solar energy absorbed by its snow and ice. Air temperatures, pressures, and winds drive weather conditions. The quality of snow, its grain size and color, also influence melt. Soot, wildfire ash, and other surface dust darken the snow’s surface and increase solar energy absorption. The extent and duration of this surface melting is an indicator of changing climate and other conditions. It is a major component of the waning of Earth's ice sheets. 

The Greenland Ice Sheet melt season typically lasts from April 1 to November 1. The Antarctic Ice Sheet melt season typically lasts from November 1 to April 1. 

Ice Sheets Today is produced by NSIDC and funded by NASA as part of the ASINA program.

Other NSIDC Data Analysis Sites

ASINA: Daily images of sea ice and seasonal analyses

Snow Today: Daily images of snow data and seasonal analyses