Compact Sea Ice on the North of Greenland

It is October and it is the Arctic sea ice growing season. The MODIS imagery yesterday shows this beautiful image of sea ice on the North East Greenland coast.

North West Greenland in a MODIS image 5 October 2016
North East Greenland in a MODIS image 5 October 2016 from the TERRA satellite

The image below shows roughly where we are looking:

Where the sea ice image is from
Greenland and Iceland. The yellow box shows the area of the enlargement above. This is a screengrab from NASA worldview.

The sea ice in the first image has exited the Arctic Ocean through Fram Strait in the transpolar drift.  This is the drift Nansen hypothesised in the 1890's before the drift of the Fram (1893-96)

Below is an animation of the Arctic sea ice cover for the first 5 days of October 2016.

Arctic sea ice for the first 5 days of October 2016. Data is from DMSP SSMIS Daily Polar Gridded Sea Ice Concentrations.
Arctic sea ice for the first 5 days of October 2016. Data is from DMSP SSMIS Daily Polar Gridded Sea Ice Concentrations.

The white circle in the centre of the image is the North Pole. In general, the freezing season following the warmest Arctic winter in the observational record has a low concentration of sea ice. Almost all of the Arctic sea ice is ~50-70% concentration. I would expect a decent icebreaker to be able to make way.

The exception is the north east tip of Greenland.

This is where we expect the thickest and most compacted Arctic sea ice - mainly due to the movement of the sea ice and the transpolar drift. Here the sea ice is above 90% concentration.

The movie below shows that this is the also region where the oldest Arctic sea ice resides.

This wonderful movie was made by The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration using historical satellite data.

As the Arctic sea ice continues its general trend to lower ice cover, we can expect this older ice to become rarer.

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