Cracks in Sea Ice Visible At North Pole Camera 1


(Image source: APL)

Small leads (cracks) in the sea ice became visible at the North Pole Observatory’s Camera 1 today.

This camera is part of a North Pole environmental observatory supported by a National Science Foundation Grant and managed by the Applied Physics Lab at the University of Washington. Camera 1 is one  of two cameras placed on ice at or near the North Pole to visually observe conditions there.

The cracks began to appear at around 20:15 this evening when two areas of ice — one to the left of the camera and one to the right — began to break up.

Ice near the North Pole is generally very stable. But melt over the past few years has begun to threaten melt in this region. Over the past two weeks, a persistent storm has churned up the ocean, breaking large sections of fragile ice. Unless conditions remain colder than average for much of the summer this year, large sections of ice, previously protected from melt, are at risk of loss during this summer.

Some scientists, noting rapid trends in sea ice area and volume loss, have recently warned that Arctic sea ice could completely melt by end of summer as early as 2015 and possibly before 2020. An indication that this end stage melt was beginning would be cracking and break-up of ice in the area of the North Pole and in other protected regions close to Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.

Summer 2013 is not expected to see all or most sea ice lost by end of summer. However, an extraordinarily strong melt year with losses akin to 2007 or 2010 (volume) would be enough to render the Arctic mostly ice free.


North Pole Observatory

Persistent Arctic Storm

Leave a comment


  1. uknowispeaksense

     /  June 9, 2013

    Reblogged this on uknowispeaksense.


  2. Glenn Tamblyn

     /  June 9, 2013

    If you want to foll what is happening in the Arctic, Neven’s Arctic Blog is a must see.

    Some of the regulars are very knowledgeable about the subject. Also have a look at his graphs pages – heaps of stuff.

    For the last couple of weeks or more there has been a major low sitting over the central Arctic basin and seems to be smashing the ice up. Overall melt rates have been lower but the ice is in really poor condition now. They are talking about the ‘cliff’ over the next month when the state of the ice really starts to impact during the peak of the melt season.


    • Hello Glenn. Couldn’t agree more. I’ve been a poster over at Neven’s excellent blog for about a year now. I also began posting warnings that this year’s Persistent Arctic Storm (PAS) could severely thin the central sea ice back on May 30th (The Big Thin Begins). So it’s something we’ve been monitoring for going on two weeks. Surprised I haven’t run into you there. Hope to in the future! Best!


  3. Glenn Tamblyn

     /  June 10, 2013

    I comment there occasionally, more of a lurker generally – A bit out of my depth. Also more involved (behind the scenes) at Skeptical Science.


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