ASCAT Satellite Images Show 2013 Arctic Sea Ice Break-up, Speed of Motion Unprecedented

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The above series of images is a composite of ASCAT radar sequences for 2010 to 2013. They were produced by anonymous Arctic Ice Blog comment poster A-Team. A-Team has recently gotten the attention of Climate Central and Discover News, among others, for his/her vivid images tracking an unprecedented sea ice break up starting in February of 2013.

This, most recent, series of images composed by A-Team compares this season’s Arctic sea ice with that of 2010 through 2012. These radar images both show cracks and the motion of sea ice. As can plainly be seen, sea ice motion and cracking is far greater for 2013.

Unprecedented cracking and rapid motion of late winter sea ice is yet one more sign of sea ice fragility. Though it is no guarantee that sea ice melt at end of summer 2013 will produce a new record low, as happened in 2012, it does appear to be yet one more factor emerging from an ongoing period of catastrophic melt that began in the 1950s and has accelerated since 1979. It is worth noting that, if the current rate of sea ice volume losses holds, there is risk of a complete Arctic melt as soon as 2013-2017.

Another series of images, these identified by Chris Reynolds from the archive at the Canadian Weather Office, vividly shows the progression of breakage in the Beaufort Sea which has continued to intensify over the past few days. You can view this image sequence here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B3pB-kdzoLU3NEFwVDJzZVNxQ1k/edit?pli=1

And last of all, a very large crack has appeared directly through the thickest ice. This one ending very close to the North Pole:

newCrackMar17_zpsb984a4c3

Learn more on Neven’s Arctic Ice Blog.

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