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Kevin McKinney

Shame to do an OT comment at the very beginning of a new thread, so I'll remark that the NWP does seem to be melting out quite rapidly. It looks like another year in which circumnavigation of the Arctic Basin is a probability--as we know, the NEP has already seen a commercial transit this season.

Returning to the OT thought I had, I was struck by this story--linked today in the 'newsfeed' sidebar. We talked about the possibility of the tsunami affecting the Arctic sea ice. No evidence of that, AFAIK, but it's a different story for one *Antarctic* ice shelf:



Thanks for the tsunami-glacier link, Kevin.

It's amazing to think that last year was even further ahead than this year when it comes to the NWP and the CA. On the other hand, this year had a very late cold spell that strengthened the ice some more.

This year might overtake 2010 if that heat stays put for a while. I know air temperatures aren't a dominant factor, but still, 15-20 degrees above normal...

Noel Ward

I just pulled up NSIDC maps for August 5/6 for this year and last year. NWP was closer to open at this point in 2010, but other areas had more ice. But NWP today looks very loosely packed and appears passable with an icebreaker leading the way. With the weather and temps as they are, I don't think it will last much longer.

Anyone want to wager on when NWP is really open this year? I'm thinking about August 24.

michael sweet

For the southern route through the NWP the only remaining ice is in the Queen Maude channel. The Canadian Ice Service shows only a small amount of ice there now. For the channel to be open all the colored areas need to be gone. An adventurous vessel like the trimaran last year could transit today (or a few days ago), but the passage is not yet ice free. It will be clear in a few days or a week.

The main Perry channel still has a lot of ice and it has not melted that fast. Will these high temperatures finally clear the Perry channel?

dominik lenné

Could you post a link to where one can find this beautifully colored map above?


Dlen, it's on the Daily Graphs page (scroll down).


Solo sailer Matt Rutherford is entering Peel Sound:


Hi all,

The various islands along the top of the Canadian Archipelago have 6 channels between them:

Prince Patrick - 1 - Brock Island - 2 - Borden Island - 3 - Ellef Rignes - 4 - Meighen - 5 - Axel Heiberg - 6 - Ellesmere Island

Of the above potential escape routes:

1. Condition unknown - no clear satellite shots. Ice appears broken up, but probably immobile.

2. As above, and it doesn't really go very far.

3. This is probably the most important channel. The satellite images are a bit cloudy, but it seems the ice is now very broken, and may be mobile.

4. This is also wide-jawed. The ice certainly looks broken up enough to be mobile.

5. Not much of an escape route. The ice is broken up, but it is still blocked by one large wedge of ice.

6. Is completely open, but it is a very long, tortuous escape route.

With the right weather conditions, I would suggest that we could soon lose a lot of ice from the weak band running through the Central Arctic from the East Siberian Sea, particularly into channels 3 and 4, if they are fully open.

If ice export does begin down these routes, it is also likely to flush a considerable proportion of the remaining multi-year ice out of the Arctic Basin.

Seke Rob

Not long ago, 1-2 years ago, it what speculated that these channels would be the last resistance points for older MYI and here were are...

Looking at the maps of UB [Bremer Uni as the locals refer to their's at top of the Burger Park], past Nares [image from Students on Ice blog] there does not appear [to my untrained eye] to be much ice beyond that point... is transport stalling there?

Mike Constable

Re Nares, it is interesting that the image from 6 July 2009, http://studentsonice.com/blog/general/northern-nares-strait-ice-arch-breaks-up/ has ice fracturing in square-edged slabs, not the smaller rounded floes that are in the area this year

Kevin McKinney

HenkL, nice link. Thanks!

Kad Bristol

Hi guys,
This is my first comment although I consult this very instructive blog frequently.
I have observed that parts of the east of Ward Hunt Iceshelf have started to breakaway along the fractures discovered in 2008. This can be seen by comparing the 1st and the 6th August satellite images on


I can't fin more recent images however.


Hi Kad, and welcome. Unfortunately it's very cloudy at the moment in that region. I remember keeping half an eye on it last year, and believe Patrick Lockerby wrote quite a bit about it.


Here it is.

Russell McKane

You can get a brilliant image of the Ward Hunt Ice shelf on Polar view http://www.seaice.dk/test.N/
Drop down tab to envisat.n.WSMForbits17:04

Clouds not a problem using this system as it is mircowave. Looking at it I don't think there has been much change this year- but you can track the event back using this site to check.
A few hints to help. Use the right hand side tabs to select envisat.WSM coverage. This will display the satelite paths taken and times of passes - Also Forbits have more detail than Morbits so select these in preference.

Also very god for checking state of the ice - you don't always get the area you wan but it is better than Modis for detail.

Noel Ward

Truly enjoyable piece on the "Oldest Arctic Ice." Thanks for sharing that, Neven.

Noel Ward

Neven, thanks for sharing the Science 2.0 piece, "Oldest Arctic Ice." It's well done and good reading.

Kad Bristol

Many thanks for the link, very useful.

Comparing closely envisat.n.WSMForbits17:04 on the 10/08 and envisat.n.WSMForbits17:21 on the 04/08, it looks like there is a breakaway gooing on in the east part of the iceshelf.
The piece that has broke away is around 10-20 km2, on the south side it has left a canal of few kms wide with the remaining of the iceshelf, but it is slowed in its mouvement by the Ward Hunt island and the Ward Hunt Ice Rise.

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