Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Extensive Arctic Ice Fractures in the Beaufort Sea

Thinking about going to the Arctic in your yacht?  How are you going to deal with mother nature's weather forcing and ice?  Do you know any ice strategies?

The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) on the Suomi NPP satellite captured this view of extensive sea-ice fracturing off the northern coast of Alaska. The event began in late-January and spread west toward Banks Island throughout February and March 2013. More details at

And that's what's happening on the left side of the video (below) in late January, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. A high-pressure weather system parked over the region produced warmer temperatures and winds flowing in a southwesterly direction. Those winds drove the Beaufort Gyre clockwise. And that gyre pulled pieces of sea ice west past Point Barrow, Alaska's northwestern-most point. 

Point Barrow and the Arctic Alaska Coast is a likely 'choke-point' for yachts attempting a Northwest Passage.

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