Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Northwest Passage Opens For A Second Time

According to this Nsidc image, the McClure straits Northwest passage in the Arctic has opened for the second time in two years, the second time since records began. It's worth pointing out that because we are fairly late in the season, there will be more variability in ice-extent, so I wouldn't be surprised if it closed briefly over the next few days. Nevertheless, I would expect it to become open for a significant period of time this year since we have another month of melting to go.

The Cryosphere Today image from 18/08/08 doesn't yet show the McClure strait being completely open - the top and bottom still have some 50%-ish concentrations of ice present. Their calculations are calculated differently and show lower-figures.

As an overall picture then, the Arctic in 2008 is turning out to be fairly similar to 2007, with ice-extent well below the 2005 record and with a few 100 000Km2 still to lose, meaning that the Arctic ice extent could get as low as 4.8mKm2 this year (it's currently on 5.69).