Sea ice motion in the Arctic Ocean

January 15th, 2013 |
Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR images (click image to play animation)

Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR images (click image to play animation)

A sequence of AWIPS images of Suomi NPP VIIRS 11.45 µm IR data from 13 January to 15 January 2013 (above; click image to play animation) revealed a great deal of motion of the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean off the north coast of Alaska. Surface stations along the Alaskan coast were reporting strong easterly winds during this time period, with gusts in excess of 40-50 knots — these strong winds were helping to push the sea ice westward. Also evident in the images was the relatively warm signature (cyan to yellow color enhancement) exibited by numerous “cracks” in the sea ice — it is unclear whether these features are simply weaknesses in the thick ice pack, or actual leads of open water.

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