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Thursday, August 2, 2012

neven: dabize creates animation of June-July Arctic sea ice loss -- gobsmacking

Peeking through the clouds 2: animation

This a follow-up to last week's blog post with the same title, in which I discussed the MODIS Composites that are made every week by Environment Canada. Their False-Colour Composite image which can be downloaded here is particularly interesting because it allows us to see through the clouds. This is useful, because low-pressure systems have been dominating the Arctic in the past weeks, and that means that clouds hide the situation below.
Now right after I posted this blog post commenter dabize sent me alternative versions of these composite images, in which he had removed the clouds even more. This image that he sent me yesterday clearly shows the ice loss (red) since June 5th up till now:
EC MODIS red 0605-0730
But even more visually stunning are the blue images he sent me that I have turned into an animation (each frame represents a week of averaged LANCE-MODIS satellite images):
Our attention gets drawn immediately to the spectacular changes in the ice pack from the East Siberian Sea to the Beaufort Sea, but also note in the right bottom of the animation how the ice in the Northwest Passage just vanishes overnight. It's not transported, it just melts in place (or in situ, as the Romans liked to say). An astonishing sight. No wonder the NWP is as good as open.
Not transport or compaction, but melting in situ is what keeps this melting season going strong, despite weather conditions that would normally cause a slowdown in ice decrease (see this blog post). It doesn't look like the weather is going to change soon either. In fact, 3-4 days from now a very big cyclone is projected to pass right over that part of the ice pack that looks so vulnerable. With these False Composite Images from Environment Canada, cleaned up by dabize, we will be able to see the effects.
The Stronghold I mentioned a month back will probably prevent a huge bite being taken out of the ice pack on the Pacific side of the Arctic (like we saw at the 2007 minimum), but I'm not so sure any longer that it is going to prevent new extent/area records. Even if things stay like they are.
Welcome to the new abnormal...

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