3 08 2009

First let's get a look at the current NSIDC graph:

Courtesy National Snow and Ice Data Center

and now the JAXA graph:

There's an interesting news article from Canada that talks about what is being seen in the northwest passage areas.

Ice pockets choking Northern Passage: officials
By Randy Boswell, Canwest News ServiceAugust 1, 2009

excerpts:

Despite predictions from a top U.S. polar institute that the Arctic Ocean's overall ice cover is headed for another "extreme" meltdown by mid-September, the Environment Canada agency monitoring our northern waters says an unusual combination of factors is making navigation more difficult in the Northwest Passage this year after two straight summers of virtually clear sailing.

...

"In the southern route," Canadian Ice Service officials told Canwest News Service, the agency "has observed more ice coverage than normal. This is partly due to the fact that the ice in the Amundsen Gulf consolidated this past winter, which is something it didn't do in 2007 and 2008."

The result, the agency said, is that ice conditions "are delaying any potential navigability of the Northwest Passage this year. This is opposite to what Environment Canada observed in the last week of July in 2007 and 2008."

...

Scientists believe the ongoing retreat is being driven by several factors, including rising global temperatures associated with human-induced climate change, and the associated breakup and loss of thicker, multi-year year ice that is being replaced only seasonally by a thin layer of winter ice that disappears quickly each summer.

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What they still don't seem to be mentioning is wind patterns.

Then read what NASA research has determined. It could explain a lot of what is observed from the news article published by Canwest.

PASADENA, Calif. - A team of NASA and university scientists has detected an ongoing reversal in Arctic Ocean circulation triggered by atmospheric circulation changes that vary on decade-long time scales. The results suggest not all the large changes seen in Arctic climate in recent years are a result of long-term trends associated with global warming.