• albedo;
  • first year ice;
  • sea ice

During the summer melt season the white surface of Arctic sea ice turns to a mixture of grays and blues as meltwater ponds come to dot the landscape. Rising temperatures in late spring melt ice and snow, and the meltwater pools in depressions left by drifting snow. In just a week, these meltwater ponds can come to dominate the ice surface, increasing their areal extent by up to 35% per day. But just as quickly as they appear, the pools can recede, the water flowing into the ocean. Surface ponds drastically reduce the ice's albedo, increasing the amount of light available for Arctic ecosystems and accelerating ice melt.