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Espen Olsen

Lancaster Sound;

All the Sea Ice in Lancaster Sound is now in same cracking mode as seen further north in the Arctic Sea, another indicator of an unusual season:



I noticed this too, Espen, just 2 minutes ago. 2011 was also bad and early. In 2012, if I remember correctly, there was an ice arch there for quite a long time, leading me to think that the NWP might open up a bit later than usual, when all of a sudden BAM, all the ice melted in-situ, instead of being transported out towards Baffin Bay.

With things cracking up already there, it will be interesting to see what happens. Remember, temps have been anomalously warm there all freezing season. Could the NWP open up sooner than ever?

It seems (judging the Uni Bremen AMSR2 SIC map, which I love BTW) that Okhotsk has also started to melt, earlier than last year. And I think I'm also seeing patches of open water in Hudson Bay.

Espen Olsen


Yes Hudson seems to have quite a bit o "open" water, too. And yes we will not see the same in-situ melting as last year, at least not in Lancaster, and the "blue" sea ice will probably not be so dominating as seen last season?

Espen Olsen

Jakobshavn Isbræ/Sermeq Kujalleq;

The whole coast north and south of Ilulissat Icefjord, is almost without snowcover and the "ice"fjord is nearly free of ice debris from the glacier, the blue ice color up the "hills" from the coastline, indicating start of melting:


Paul Beckwith

@ A-Team

Agree completely with you about the NASA video, but I wanted to get the public up to speed on what is happening. Could you put together a video yourself that blows theirs away (without those annoying clouds) and put on some classical music sound track and I can make that go viral...or at least try...


Thanks to Chris's earlier detective work locating older QuiKsat archives, we have some prospects for longer time series to provide context for 2013.

While these are "crummy" images by today's standards, all of 145 indexed grayscale pixels wide for the whole Arctic Ocean, jerking them around sufficiently does seem to bring out the case for Beaufort cracks -- as well as the goat's head -- in day 326 of 2009. So I will see if these are worth adding to our previous 2010-13 synchronized animation series.

Login for that ftp site is anonymous anonyomous


 photo quikSat09_zpsf8e72bf6.png

Espen Olsen


How about Beethoven's 5th?

Paul Beckwith

@ A-Team

If you add the dude looking at cracked ice at the beginning and end of your video that would be even better...


Paul, sure. I made a nice one quite a while back with quite an astonishing walrus soundtrack, I'll see if I can locate it (graphics files have proliferated beyond belief).

There is nice visibility today ... may get both Beaufort and Ellesmere avhrr cloud-free ... I can then composite them for a nice high res view of the current cracking situation.

I think the interest is really more in the old/thick multi-year CAA cracking and mobility earlier in the season, not so much in Beaufort Gyre.

Note the very different reticulate cracking pattern that has developed in the very oldest ice, east of the Prince Patrick lever point.

wide image:
 photo niceVis_zps8056e4d6.jpg

Espen Olsen


A very useful article you produced at Climateprogress:



This Nares ice arch might or might not make a good timer of spring melt onset -- much studied, so plenty of comparative historical data there for the taking.

Below I mistook the series below for calving, having misloaded it last to first. It runs from Ellesmere.13.0322.1805 to 0323.1253 (last frame held 500ms). It is really another of these Arctic exhalation events (or just a progressive freezeup from the south).

Their CAA land profile jiggles because the images were never quite aligned right to begin with, I re-registered the ice but the land lines are embeded and cannot be removed.

 photo naresIceBridge_zpsd44efc8c.gif


Thanks, Espen, I will post it here tomorrow, so that it can serve as a new post for comments on the cracks.

Espen Olsen


You are right, Nares is not a good melt indicator, we saw that last season, it was blocked till "very" late in the season, compared to previous seasons and what happened? Record low together with calvings Petermann, Steensby and Newman Bugt?


It is all too easy to forget just how fast these events are occurring in geologic time.

It was only a handful of years ago that the MYI near Ellesmere failed and drained a surface pond that had a unique ecosystem extending back over 3,000 years.

About 2007, the MYI pulled away from Ellesmere. It was stunning. Fast forward to today, and the MYI is disintegrating.

Fast forward yet again into our very near future, and there will be no multi year ice at all. Shortly after there will be no first year ice.

We sit perched on the knife edge of a change of ages. On the one hand it is an amazing opportunity. On the other it is scary as hell. Everything man has known in all his time since we parted from our brothers the apes, we have never experienced anything like this.

In the very short time we have had language and culture, and the shorter time yet that we have had agriculture, nothing has prepared us for this rate or extent of change.

It is little wonder that we aren't dealing well with it, and that so many of our brothers reject the idea entirely.

But that changes nothing. The melt is full on. The sixth great extinction event is in the early stages and vying for a top spot on the list.

Paul Beckwith

@ Sam

Your words are brilliant! Can I quote you elsewhere as Sam on Neven's blog?

All you ice guys will have a lot of downtime soon, at first just in summers. Sooner than you think. So you may as well start gearing up for snow cover analysis but much more importantly for methane detection/analysis.

1672 Gt C stored in terrestrial permafrost in Arctic region. About 1000 in top 3 meters, of which 500 is in top meter, of which 200 is in top 30 cm (O'Conner and Al, 2010 Reviews of Geophysics, "Possible role of wetlands..."). Not to mention the stuff on the sea floor, read all about it here thanks to Yurganov... docs.google.com/folder/d/0Bx24zrfdcxuGMUJFWlp1TWJPUWs/edit

Robert Fanney

@ A-Team

My designer buddy is still AWOL. Will give it a few more attempts and chalk it up to 'he doesn't want to do a project for posterity' if it doesn't work out. I know another guy who might do it. But it's more of a long shot. He doesn't seem to get climate change.

@ Neven

Congrats on the fantastic Think Progress piece. I think it's spot on. Will link it from my blog tonight or tomorrow.

@ All

Seems like the negative AO is fading a bit. That insane high has diffused at least and temps are again falling. Wonder if this week will be a bit quieter? One can hope.

@ Paul

It's likely conditions in the Arctic are going to be such that Neven, A-Team and everyone else will have quite a lot to write about.


Melt season is underway. I hope Jim Pettit has time to start updating his graphs. BTW is NSIDC ready to call maximum? I agree with you Neven, SO is definitely starting to melt. However, I wonder if offshore winds are driving ice into Hudson Bay and opening temp leads as opposed to open water from melting ice. Given the extent of fracturing, would anyone like to make a guess when the Laptev Bite will occur this melt season?

Robert Fanney

@ Neven, Llosmith, Espen

Yeah, sorry to say I agree on the NWP/CAA/Lancaster. Not looking too great in these NASA shots.

Any word why Jim has been silent? He provided some amazing info.



Some of us are regularly following methane and do report on it.

See: https://sites.google.com/site/apocalypse4real/home/2011-airs-ch4-359-hpa-vs-iasi-ch4-970-600-mb


If some images appear x'd out, they aren't. the website is about full, and I'll be starting a new site for April to June.

Steve Bloom

Robert, Jim just posted some new ones a few days ago, although I can't recall which thread.


Ladies and gentlemen, please continue at the cracking new thread.

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