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It has been very cold over the Eastern part of Canada and Baffin bay in April right until the middle of May. So i am not surprised that we still have a lot of ice in HB.
The melting seem have slowed down considerably in the last week or so. This is somewhat surprising (to me !)considering that temperatures over the arctic are generally warm. Anyone who could suggest why that is ?


Yes, I came back from my vacation and jinxed it. ;-)

But seriously, I don't know what the reason could be, Phil. I expect it to be some shifting of weather patterns, but as PIPS is still down and I don't know what exactly happened the past two weeks, I can't be sure. What I do know, is that it isn't because the easy ice in the HB has melted out completely.


Nice to have you back Neven! Hope you enjoyed your holiday. I am trying to convince my wife that we should visit Alaska (in Summer!). No luck so far! :-)


@Neven: I don't know what the reason could be

Well, in part its spreading. IJIS Area has dropped less than IJIS Extent, indicating that some areas are fragmenting and spreading out. The breakup in Nares Strait is one such example.

While this preserves extent somewhat in this short term, it augurs badly in the long, since a more diffuse pack is more easily exported to warmer climes, and in any case has a greater surface area so will also more easily melt in situ.

Lord Soth

For the past week, a high presure system and light winds has been over Hudson Bay.

The ice has been getting thinner, but the extent has not changed much.

Ice normally melts from North to South over Hudson Bay, however most of the ice is towards the North this year, just like in 2007

Although we had a cold spring over Hudson Bay, Hudson Bay was 6 weeks behind in freezing over, so we are still at a ice deficit situation for volume.

I expect the 2011 map to be very similiar to 2007 by the first of July.

The high is now moving off, and if we get a good storm over Hudson Bay, there will be alot of ice destruction, but nothing major looks in the works.

Regardless, in the next few weeks, we have almost 500,000 of ice in Hudson Bay that will melt, and will eventually help pull the 2011 IJIS numbers below 2010.

Janne Tuukkanen

I've understood the collapse of 2007 was largely caused by warm water inflow from Bering during strong El Nino.

This year poor Arctic Ice got early hits from Siberian side. But now it seems Canadian Archipelago and an area from Beaufort Sea deep in the Central Basin itself is deteriorating fast. Temperatures haven't been so high there, but the pink SST anomaly makes you suspect, there's warm inflow despite La Nina/Neutral Pacific condition.

I did some browsing with ENVISAT data here:


But color coded velocity vectors are not so intuitive. Observation windows are also quite limited. And of course 30 day coverage period is far too long for a short tempered Real Timer.

Daniel Bailey

We've also had a chilly and very rainy spring here in da UP of Michigan (Monsoon, anyone?). Cool air descending out of Canada conspires with moist air rising from the Gulf of Mexico to give us a kind of standing trough over us.

Meanwhile, the eastern US Atlantic seaboard has been toasty warm compared to us. The usual zonal latitudinal flow from W-E has yet to form this year (tracking about 4 weeks behind normal with this year's seasons; exactly opposite of last year's patterns which also saw record spring melt in the Arctic).

As goes da UP weather, so goes da Arctic ice, eh?

Peter Ellis

You can't just focus on the SST anomalies when you're looking at the ice edge, you have to look at the absolute temperature too.

The area with shocking pink/red anomalies in the Chukchi Sea isn't particularly hotter than the water around it - it shows up as an anomaly because it's open water (above freezing point by definition) in a region that historically would be still ice covered at this point (below freezing point by definition).

If you think about it, the entire Arctic has liquid water (a shocking red anomaly) just a few metres below the surface.

ThE SnYpEr AzZ

Temperatures for April and May in Churchill, Manitoba and Iqualuit, Nunavit averaged significantly below normal. The ice on Hudson Bay was thin but started melting late.

Patrice Pustavrh

@Peter, I think that Chukchi and also, Laptev sea open water shows 5 deg c anomaly due to absorbtion of sunlight in the water - and this adds a little bit more energy to the water - and when winds reverse, ice starts to mix up with a little bit more warm water and cools it while melting itself. It is quite often seen that anomaly drops to even below 0 for a time being, and then extent drops a little bit more in following days.

Lord Soth

This may have already been posted, but I may have missed; but I have just found the greatest thing since slice bread for observing MODIS imagery.


Basically MODIS has been googlized and you can quickly pan, zoom from the various MODIS aqua, terra, and arctic mosiacs and quickly switch from day to day.

Neven, if you ever decide to have a tools sections, this is definitely a top one to add.


Truly an amazing tool - Thanks Lord Soth!!


Regarding the image on the site http://www.arctic.io/observations/,
first, thanks, that is a great site. Second, the ice around Greenland looks about as thick as the scum that collects in the corner of a lake when the wind blows. As an amateur I have no idea: is this normal?

It seems like with a wind from the west, ALL of that would disapear which would put the entire East coast of Greenland (give or take) exposed. Considering that the West coast is also melting (through the Nares straight), I wonder if this is the year that Greenland will be essentially icefree? If so, that seems a HUGE milestone. (If Greenland has been ice free before, please be kind in your response!)

Gas Glo

I am pretty sure Greenland has had ice to the North for the last 3000 years or so.

The ice down the East coast is generally moving Southward. The transpolar drift makes the Fram Straight an exit route for some of the Arctic ice. The general pattern is shown by:

With the Nares Straight open for more of 2010 than any other recent year, I doubt Greenland has has much less ice around it than shown in http://lance-modis.eosdis.nasa.gov/imagery/subsets/?mosaic=Arctic.2010260.terra.4km

Greenland essentially ice free is, I hope, going to take at least several hundred years. Though I expect you meant the coast rather than a 6m sea level rise.

Having had both passages sailed in a season, I would suggest next would be circumnavigation of Greenland without circumnavigating North pole. I would expect that to be possible well before a circumnavigation of Greenland without circumnavigating Ellesmere island could be done.

Artful Dodger

The Geographic North Pole will be open to ice-hardened sailing ships before Greenland is circumnavigated. For any crew willing to drift with the ice pack, the N. Pole was available in 2010.

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