Arctic Arts Project
Arctic Arts Project

Arctic Sea Ice Status

Arctic sea ice extent for December 2016 averaged 12.10 million square kilometers (4.67 million square miles) This after the wamest year on record in the Arctic. With some regions posting temperatures more than 5º C above average.

Arctic Arts Project

What Makes Ice Blue

Blue ice occurs when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed, and becomes part of a glacier that winds its way toward a body of water. During its travels, air bubbles that are trapped in the ice are squeezed out, and the size of the ice crystals increases, making it clear.

Arctic Arts Project

Dirty Glaciers

The ice in a glacier looks dirty because it is dirty. The accumulation of pollutants, sediment and volcanic ash create a dirty appearance but also create an accelerated melting process on the surface of the glacier.

Ice a Profile in Change

  • Iceberg Sunset
  • Castle at Kanjia Sunset
  • Kanji Fjord
  • Glacial Flow
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Cave Drama
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Vatnajokull Ice Cave 2015
  • Greenland Iceberg Sunset
  • Ice City Iceberg
  • Path to Gold
  • Ice at Red Island
  • Jakobshavn Greenland
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Diamond Sunset
  • Ice Cliffs at Scoresbysund
  • Calving at Scoresbysund
  • Inuit Fisher Coming Home
  • Inuit Hunter on the Bay

Arctic Sea Ice: Live chart of global sea ice shows 2016 falling way below any other year.

NSIDC- Arctic Sea Ice News

According to NSIDC data, the Global sea ice area record for lowest minimum has just been broken, as shown on this Wipneus graph (world famous now because of what happened after September last year; see the dark red line on the right side of the graph which should be fairly easily to spot.

Arctic sea ice extent for December 2016 averaged 12.10 million square kilometers (4.67 million square miles), the second lowest December extent in the satellite record. This is 20,000 square kilometers (7,700 square miles) above December 2010, the lowest December extent, and 1.03 million square kilometers (397,700 square miles) below the December 1981 to 2010 long-term average.

The rate of ice growth for December was 90,000 square kilometers (34,700 square miles) per day. This is faster than the long-term average of 64,100 square kilometers (24,700 square miles) per day. As a result, extent for December was not as far below average as was the case in November. Ice growth for December occurred primarily within the Chukchi Sea, Kara Sea, and Hudson Bay—areas that experienced a late seasonal freeze-up. Compared to the record low for the month set in 2010, sea ice for December 2016 was less extensive in the Kara, Barents, and East Greenland Seas, and more extensive in Baffin and Hudson Bays.

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

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VantnJökull Ice Cave Retreat 2014-2015

Over the last 3 years Iceland’s Vantajokull icecap has lost more than
12 percent of its total mass. This loss is dramatically showcased in the two photographs below, comparing what the cave in the ice looked like in 2014 and 2015. The photographs were taken from the same gps location, twelve months apart.

Vatnjokull Ice Cave 2014

The Vatnajokull Ice Cave photo from 2014 was taken more than 450 feet deep into the glacier. The entire cave at that time was more than 1000 feet in length, and the glacier’s surface was more than 100 feet over head.

Vatnajokull Ice Cave 2015

The Vantajokull Ice Cave photo from 2015 was taken in the same location.  In one year’s time, the entrance to the cave receded more than 400 feet, and the ice became much thinner with the glacier’s surface only 40 feet over head. Simply, we were now photographing at the entrance to the cave.

How Old Is This Ice?
The ice, air bubbles and organic material trapped in the glacier have been time dated by scientists at more than 1000 years old.
The black granular sections in the photos, are volcanic ash and sediment from eruptions over the past thousand years.

Jakobshavn Glacier- Kanjia Icefjord

The Kangia Icefjord and Jacobshavn Glacier is the world’s fastest moving glacier and was the location of a major calving event in January of 2016 and in May the remnants were still lodged at the mouth of the fjord at Disko Bay.

At the glacier front, the Greenland ice cap beaks off and drops into the sea as icebergs. Once or twice a year major calvings occur, like the one that took place in January. The annual iceberg production from the Kangia Icefjord would be enough to cover the USA’s annual domestic water consumption, 46km3/year.  As a photographer and storyteller I found that communicating the magnitude of this story to be a bit overwhelming, but in choosing to capture the Glacier and Icefjord from both the air and by boat I was able to gain visual perspective on the sheer breadth of the ice front.  The team at AirZafari was spectacular in getting me close-up and personal with the glacier, flying at times only 500 feet off the ice.  It got me close enough to capture the essence of the ice cap’s rapid melt, from the aqua blue lakes and rivers on the icecap surface, to the hundreds of seals basking in the warmth of the days sunlight.

 

History Exposed

Ernest Shackleton, an early Antarctic explorer, once said,
“What the ice gets, the ice keeps.” This means that once something is covered in ice, it and any associated information is preserved in the ice. Items can be large, such as animals that were on the glacier surface during a surprise snowstorm, or smaller, more common objects.
Insects, parts of plants, volcanic ash, wind-blown dust, bacteria, and the ice itself provide information on past temperatures, accumulation, aridity, and wind patterns.

The images of Arctic ice in this exhibit reveal a small glimpse of what history in the peri-arctic region looked like.  The black stripes within these ice are ash from past volcanic eruptions, some of which date back more than one thousand years.
 
Looking at ice cores, exposed ice, and other environmental records, scientists have found that the warming of the past 70 years is significantly different from any previous time preserved in the ice. Knowing what has happened in the past, we can better understand what is happening in the present.

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Why Some Scientists are Worried About a Surprisingly Cold "Blob" in the North Atlantic Ocean

By Chris Mooney The Washington Post

Ernest Shackleton, an early Antarctic explorer, once said,
“What the ice gets, the ice keeps.” This means that once something is covered in ice, it and any associated information is preserved in the ice. Items can be large, such as animals that were on the glacier surface during a surprise snowstorm, or smaller, more common objects.
Insects, parts of plants, volcanic ash, wind-blown dust, bacteria, and the ice itself provide information on past temperatures, accumulation, aridity, and wind patterns.

In March, several top climate scientists, including Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Michael Mann of Penn State, published a paper in Nature Climate Change suggesting that the gigantic ocean current known as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC, is weakening. It’s sometimes confused with the “Gulf Stream,” but, in fact, that’s just a southern branch of it. Global Warming is now slowing down the circulation of the Arctic oceans- with potentially dire consequences.
The current is driven by differences in the temperature and salinity of ocean water (for a more thorough explanation, see here). In essence, cold salty water in the North Atlantic sinks because it is more dense, and warmer water from farther south moves northward to take its place, carrying tremendous heat energy along the way. But a large injection of cold, fresh water can, theoretically, mess it all up — preventing the sinking that would otherwise occur and, thus, weakening the circulation.

Photo Credit: Kerry Koepping August 10, 2016/ Scoresby Sound, Greenland