Nearshore ice along the Bering Sea coast of Alaska

November 20th, 2021 |

GOES-17 “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images [click to play animated GIF | MP4]

GOES-17 (GOES-West) “Red” Visible (0.64 µm) images (above) showed the motion of pack ice away from the southwest coast of Alaska on 20 November 2021. Strong offshore winds (gusting in excess of 30 knots at times) were causing the ice motion away from the coast into the Bering Sea — although some landfast ice was also evident.

During the subsequent nighttime hours, a sequence of 3 Suomi-NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images (below) allowed sea ice motion to be monitored during the long night, when GOES-17 Visible imagery was not available — providing that there is ample illumination from the Moon, which there was in this case (since it was in the Waning Gibbous phase, at 99% of Full).

Suomi-NPP VIIRS Day/Night Band (0.7 µm) images [click to enlarge]

This ice growth was being promoted by colder than normal Sea Surface Temperatures in that portion of the Bering Sea — along with the offshore flow of very cold air that had been in place across much of Alaska during the previous days. In fact, Interior Alaska recorded its first -40ºF/-40ºC temperatures of the winter season on this day.

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