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.

Mesolow over Lake Superior

January 15th, 2013 |
GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-13 0.63 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

A Mesolow developed over Lake Superior today and moved rapidly northeast towards Ontario. As the system moved near Pukaskwa, ON (48.6 N, 86.3 W), winds there shifted from northwest at 3 knots at 1800 UTC to northeast at 5 knots at 1900 UTC to west at 7 knots, gusting to 16 knots at 2000 UTC. (An animation of surface plots overlain on the satellite imagery is here). The mesolow seems to have developed as an interaction with the topography on Isle Royale. Lake Surface temperatures are in the mid-30s, as is typical this time of year, and 850-mb temperatures (as measured at International Falls at 1200 UTC) were around -18 C.

GOES-15 0.62 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-15 0.62 µm visible channel images (click image to play animation)

GOES-West provided an oblique view of the system development, shown above.

Hat tip to the National Weather Service in Marquette Michigan for first alerting us to this system’s presence!