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New estimates of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent during September 1964 from recovered Nimbus I satellite imagery

DOI: 10.5194/tcd-7-35-2013

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Abstract:

Satellite imagery from the 1964 Nimbus I satellite has been recovered, digitized, and processed to estimate Arctic and Antarctic sea ice extent for September 1964. September is the month when the Arctic reaches its minimum annual extent and the Antarctic reaches its maximum. Images were manually analyzed over a three-week period to estimate the location of the ice edge and then composited to obtain a hemispheric average. Uncertainties were based on limitations in the image analysis and the variation of the ice cover over the three week period. The 1964 Antarctic extent is higher than estimates from the 1979–present passive microwave record, but is in accord with previous indications of higher extents during the 1960s. The Arctic 1964 extent was near the 1979–2000 average from the passive microwave record, suggesting relatively stable summer extents until the recent large decrease. This early satellite record puts the recently observed into a longer-term context.

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