I enjoy making animations of Nares Strait and the Northwest Passage as they break up, but perhaps the most interesting area for observing the developing ice break-up is the Canadian Archipelago. The reason is simple. As all Arctic aficionados know, most of the (remaining) multiyear ice is pressed up against the shores of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland. Of course, some of that ice gets exported to lower latitudes through Nares Strait and Fram Strait. Some of the multiyear ice gets swirled around by the Beaufort Gyre (during winter mainly) and does a tour of the Arctic if it doesn't melt out in the Beaufort Sea in summer, which it mostly does nowadays. The rest remains where it is and thickens some more during winter.
Up till now that multiyear ice that was pressed against the Canadian Archipelago had something to press up to. But as we saw in the first half of August last year (check the animation) all of the ice in those channels started breaking up and multiyear ice was transported from the Arctic Basin to lower latitudes where a lot of it melted out. Some of it froze up in the Northwest Passage, which could be a reason the passage is a bit slower in breaking up than it was last year.
So let's have a look at how things are progressing this year. As always I advise you to focus on a particular area of the animation instead of taking it all in. If you want to know the names of the channels, you can have a look at this wonderful map from Arcticio.
Update July 31st: I've added yesterdays's image (day 211). It looks like ice transport through Sverdrup and Peary Channel could start within a week or so. Some highs are forecasted for this region, so hopefully we get some clear images.
Yes, things are breaking up again. I'm also seeing some in situ melting. To compare with last year I've made this blink comparison:
I would call this a draw, with 2010 perhaps being just a bit ahead, but then again, the 2010 snapshot was made 1 day later (it's not easy finding relatively cloudless images).
As soon as ice transport gets underway, I'll make more detailed animations of Sverdrup Channel and Peary Channel, and Ballantyne Strait and the Prince Gustaf Adolf Sea, just like I did last year.