Thursday, August 18, 2011

Northwest Passage Wide Open

The infamous Northwest Passage is wide open again and small boats are pushing through both from the east and the west. I have had reports of 11 documented vessels making the attempt currently with no doubt a few others that will pop up on the radar screen in the weeks to come.

The passage opened early this year year with unprecedented melting through July. The melting slowed briefly but now a large high pressure system is parked over the area and sunny days will no doubt thin any remaining ice. The ice has even disappeared north of Resolute and Lancaster Sound allowing exploring of regions north which have been inaccessible to now.

The only question remaining now is how far and wide will the melt continue this season? The melt season extends through September and there is a very real chance that this year could mark another epic year of ice loss comparable or exceeding the record year of 2007 when we on Cloud Nine made our east-west transit.

I will be watching ice charts and keeping close watch. If you are interested in further details, watch the posting here or contact me personally through the website.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Arctic Ice Loss Linked to Human Activity

ANCHORAGE, Alaska: About half of the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, a leading climate research centre has found.

The study, funded by the US National Science Foundation is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and pollution.

It used one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a scientist at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. The paper was published last week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

"There's no doubt about it - sea ice is going away," she said. "What we found was that about half of that trend is related to the increasing greenhouse gases."

The study said the melting of the ice pack was no short-term fluke but an actual change in climate.

Earlier research determined greenhouse gases were responsible for some loss of sea ice, but no one had been able to establish how big a part they played.

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