|The Arctic Oscillation Index from the NOAA.|
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 6/27/11|
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 6/29/11|
As we will see, the breakup continues along those lines.
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 6/30/11|
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 7/01/11|
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 7/02/11|
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 7/03/11|
|Western end of the Northwest Passage 7/04/11|
We have to look at the other end of the passage, also. The first image below is the eastern end of the NWP on 6/30. The ice had been stable in that general area for weeks. There are several islands in the channel at this point, and it is where the channel opens up from the narrower passage between here and the open sea further east. I believe the islands played a role in keeping this ice locked in place, but once the ice disintegrates beyond the islands the pace may increase. Note the areas of grayish ice. Those are areas where the ice has already begun to break free and where future breakup can be expected.
|Eastern end of the NWP 6/30.|
|Eastern end of the NWP 7/2.|
|Eastern end of the NWP 7/3.|
|Eastern end of the NWP 7/4.|
The following two images show the full length of the channel. (NOTE: the channel is only part of the NWP.)
|NWP along the Canadian Archipelago 6/26.|
|NWP along the Canadian Archipelago 7/2.|
|This image shows ice is not static. Any ice that survives the summer becomes multi-year, thicker ice. The key to rebuilding Arctic Sea Ice is for that to happen year after year. At this point, we are losing too much ice each summer, and because we are losing so much, it moves about more than it used to allowing more old ice to find its way out of the Arctic Ocean or adrift where it will more easily melt. Hat tip to Neven via Tenney.|
Consistent with this, we have seen new lows in ice volume nearly every year, and 2007 - 2010 have been the four or five lowest years on record for volume and extent since tracking began with satellites in the late '70's. With the continued thinning year after year, the huge loss of old, thick ice, the late freeze last fall/winter, the record ice extent lows over the entire cold season and up to today, and the nearly open NW and NE Passages now, I have a very hard time not seeing a new record low for both extent and volume.