Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sea ice delusions by thick snow carpet, crystals of illusions

~Whether viewed close by  or from space,  sometimes thin sea ice looks much thicker

Kara sea ice is disintegrating rapidly not only because the sun is melting it like crazy, but rather a mix of ripe conditions,  namely its ice is  mostly very thin,  especially with a lot of snow on it,  but winds and current were not able to blow it away until today,  so thin ice is not as fragile as thought and can easily be broken all at once, not especially detectable from close or afar,  even from space, especially with snow layers .    Only Inuit hunters are best at detecting, because there is a hundred words for snow in Inuktitut the language of the Arctic, snow surface structures may define what it covers.  (NASA EOSDIS June 1-8 2018).  

Other side of the Pole in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago,  April 2 to 9 2018,  a massive chunk of ice disintegrated at the entrance of the Northwest passage, Lancaster Sound,   quite unusual to see Lancaster filled with apparently solid sea ice,  a few times in the past ,  during the coldest years it did so,  the last severe Lancaster Sound full coverage had thicker sea ice surviving till mid July 1987.    2018 is not 1987,  has illusions of such,  February March 2018 had very cold favorable for rapid new sea ice formation,  I estimate most of Lancaster sea ice to be lesser than 80 cm though  ,  there is a lot of snow on it,  giving the impression of thick sea ice,  this snow reduced accretion. But here is the illusion which will unravel when the structure of compacted hard snow gets pummelled by warm sublimation and under snow melting,  along with tidal and winds severe stresses,  large chunks of Lancaster ice will disappear in a matter of a few days.  Cohesion of thin sea ice is remarkable,  but ultimately fails in apparent massive extent events.   

     There is also the illusion of sea ice extent itself,  we note 2012 amongst this 2010-2018 June 9 animation,  2012 the year having the greatest melt on record,  had on its June 9  the most Lancaster Sound sea ice of all.    It is important to judge sea ice with a context of complications, all encompassing measures,  winds, tides, current,  momentum,  lead structures, architectural layouts , snow cover and temperatures must be considered.   If for instance Kara sea South of Novaya Zemlya Island has persistent winds compacting thinner sea ice in its pocket,  its ice would appear thick till favorable conditions would vanish it out of existence.  This disintegration rapidity factor must be considered chunk by massive chunk,  although some parts of ice survives does not mean its adjoining ice is different.    One main reason why thinner sea ice may survive longer is that it is smooth on top, the winds glide over with lesser friction. WD June 13, 2018

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