Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mapping the Shrinking Arctic Ice Cap

A couple of months ago MasterMaps created a really impressive mapped visualization showing the extent of the Arctic ice cap over time. The Arctic Sea Ice map compares the monthly sea ice cover in the Arctic for any month since 2006.

Mapbox has now released a map which allows you to view monthly Arctic sea ice changes all the way back to 1976 (when consistent satellite measurements began). Mapping Arctic Sea Ice uses data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center to show the sea ice cover for any month.

If you select a month from the timeline you can not only view the extent of the sea ice coverage for that month but also a line graph showing the total ice area in km2 and the temperature anomaly above the norm over time. The graph shows a clear trend of rising temperatures in the Arctic and a fall in the area of sea ice coverage.

The polar projection in the Arctic Sea Ice map was created with D3.js. You can easily create your own polar projection in Leaflet using Arctic Web Map, an Arctic specific web mapping tool, consisting of an Arctic-focused tile server. If you want to know how Mapbox created their polar projection then read the explanation beneath the map on the Mapbox blog.
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