Status Report

NASA MODIS Image of the Day: October 22, 2012 – Sea Ice off eastern Greenland

By SpaceRef Editor
October 22, 2012
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As autumn brings falling temperatures to the Greenland Sea, ice begins to form on the frigid waters, forming delightfully delicate swirls when seen from space. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA’s Aqua satellite captured this true-color image of sea ice off eastern Greenland on October 16, 2012. Although most of the sea ice is swirling in the waters of the Greenland Sea, off the central coast of eastern Greenland, a raft of ice has also formed in Scoresby Sound, an inlet made up of a series of fjords, which cover about 38,000 square kilometers (14,700 square miles). It is the world’s largest and longest system of fjords. On October 15, the CU Sea Level Research Group reported that, despite low sea ice extent at the beginning of autumn, which keeps the Arctic warmer than usual due to large transfers of heat to the atmosphere from open water areas, that autumn freeze up is now in high gear. They report that, as of October 15, sea ice extent was 5.18 million km2 (2 million mi2), which is 3.49 million km2 (1.35 mi2) below the 1979-2000 mean for this time of year, and 70,000 km2 (27,000 mi2) below the same date in 2007. The sea ice extent is at record low levels, but it is climbing fast. According to the report, large areas of the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, Chukchi and Beaufort seas remain open for hundreds of kilometers offshore. The ice extent east of Greenland, however, is near average.

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SpaceRef staff editor.