Video: Operation Ice-Bridge 2015

An Operation IceBridge flight over Greenland's southwest coast. This video features both the rugged scenery of Greenland and the somewhat rugged interior of a NASA C-130, the aircraft serving as the aerial platform for this spring's science campaign. IceBridge flies over the Arctic and Antarctic every year measuring changes in the ice with instruments like radar and lasers. This particular flight was designed to survey nearly the entirety of Greenland's southwest coast at several different surface elevations roughly parallel to the coastline.

Updates Melting Season 2015

I finally found the time to update the sea ice page. All images are now in sync with 2015. The most exciting additions are two daily sea ice thickness maps. The CryoSat 2 product is provided by the NERC Center for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) in the U.K.. The map combines all data points from the most recent 28 days and thus produces a full picture of the Arctic. The second map is still an experimental science product using data from the AMSR2 satellite coming from arctic data archive system (ADS). The ADS is supported by GRENE Arctic ...

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Arctic Landsat 8 Images

At the USGS EarthExplorer you can now browse for latest Landsat 8 images. There are several download options, below is called "natural color". So far the collection includes high resolution shots from Greenland's west and east coast and of Canada's last ice shelfs. Both images are only a few hours old. Top one shows Lake Hazen frozen and the lower one Nares Strait preparing to open.

Click the images to enjoy an amazing resolution and rich details.

Q&A with Peter Wadhams

Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physic at the University of Cambridge, looks at sea ice models, how to improve them, and how to improve the quality of the IPCC’s assessment reports.

NH Cryosphere 2013 reviewed by Polarportal, DK

The most important Arctic monitoring results in 2013:

  • The Greenland Ice Sheet contributed net 1.2 mm freshwater to global sea level.
  • The surface mass balance was lower than normal with a gain of 166 Gt vs. an average since 1990 of 368 Gt.
  • The sea ice extent was 21 % lower than normal (5.9 million km2 vs. the 1981-2009 average of 7.5 million km2).
  • Record warmth in late July promoted strong ice sheet surface melting.
  • The wind helped to maintain both ice sheet and sea ice.
  • The glacier front positions had no strong deviations.
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New Map Interface

I'm using these relative silent weeks of the winter season to update a few parts of, especially the map interface will see major changes. So, this a first step to see what works and what not.

In case your curious check it out, I'll covering everything in detail once it works. The 'Satellite' entry from the top menu is now called 'Explorer' and links to the map interface. Available are now daily data from four satellites (AMSR2 w/ concentration, SMOS w/ thickness, Terra, Aqua) and the northern hemisphere true color images cover a larger region, even parts of Europe are included.

A completely new feature are forecasts from the Global Forecast System (GFS) with 4 steps per day - try using your mouse wheel with the fly-out calendar.

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Inuk - Feature Film by Mike Magidson

Actually filmed in 2010 this 90 minutes movie took a long road to the festivals. I'm not going to repeat this exciting story, because all of it was captured already here: The Evening Class Interview With Mike Magidson. Instead here is an excerpt of an IMDB critic written by Cameron McAllister:

Greenland's icy landscape is both chilling and mesmerizing. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult filming must have been for any crew members that were not from the area. Nonetheless, the film is shot and edited exceptionally; a fact that enough people agreed on to award it Best Narrative Feature, Best Director and Best Editing at the 2011 Savannah Film Festival.

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UK Arctic Policy

As the northernmost country not listed as a member of the Arctic Council the UK nevertheless could feel the impact of climate change happening in the Arctic faster than everywhere else. This new policy (PDF) expands on quite an amount of polar activities supported by the UK, science being a major one among them.

South Korea pilots Northern Sea Route

credit: Stena Bulk

Yesterday the Stena Polaris, a 183m long P-MAX tanker with ice class 1A arrived in Yeosu, South Korea, with a cargo of 44,000 tons of naphtha. The journey started in Ust Luga, Russia in the Gulf of Finland mid September.

Erik Hånell, President & CEO of Stena Bulk sees "the voyage with the Stena Polaris as the beginning of a long and far-­reaching collaboration with Hyundai Glovis".

Also in the news: High North or High Tension?

Phailin Nari Wipha (2013-10-13)

Since when do tropical storms sync with satellites in polar orbit?

Always read Weather Reports twice

Destinations: The North Pool

Drill Rig on Fire

credit: U.S. Coast Guard

The gas rig partially collapsed earlier this day, so far no human losses and no related sheen have been reported. The incident - close to the coast of Louisiana - is visible from space. Natural gas rig blows out...

New Polar Portal with Sea Ice Temperatures

Just launched this web site of Danish research institutions displays the results of their monitoring efforts in the Arctic. New to me is the above composite of sliding mean temperatures captured by the Metop-A satellite.

Sea Ice Melting Season started late, but not slow

It looks like someone pulled the trigger. While extent and area are still hundreds of thousands square kilometers behind 2012, Siberia and Alaska enjoy already sunny temperatures above 30°C. Also sea ice concentration on the Asian side is significantly lower from pole to coast than along the western part of the Arctic Basin.

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What if ...

... we never run out of oil, asks Charles C.Mann and 11,000 words later my impression is he avoids the answer on purpose. Instead he explores how the demand for cheap energy soaks like a parasitic disease all aspects of daily live on each scale. In case 'peak oil' comes to your mind - forget about - Mann argues after oil there is still enough methane-hydrate. Actually we have to leave carbon not because it runs out, it is because of its sheer abundance on this planet. What if we never run out of oil?

Launches: ArcticTruth, Meereisportal

Two ambitious website launches appeared on my screen last week, both proving the Arctic moved again a step further into the center of public attention., launched by Greenpeace, encourages whistleblowers to uncover more detailed information of important public interest relating to the safety of oil drilling in the Arctic, by any company.


The 'sea ice portal', launched by AWI, gives several German scientific activities a home and presents knowledge, observations, modelling and data regarding sea ice - currently only in German. The data section promises periodic sea ice thickness maps based on CryoSat and SMOS results.

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Chasing Ice

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of climate change. Using time-lapse cameras, his videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.

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Google Outage

As parts of rely on Google services there are currently some interruptions. This includes the split zoom feature and in part the near real time satellite maps. I'm sorry for that. This status page shows when things are back normal:

Fund Me, Maybe?

Hilarious video made by scientists at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Long Beach, CA as part of #hackAAS. Hopefully the US budget sequestration bypasses Arctic science, although additional creative communication is welcome.