New Ice Forming in Svalbard
cruises for the 2019 season they are still active in the Arctic. Two
days ago on August 23rd a team member reported new ice forming at
position 80.45N 13.99E.
Vessel M/S Expedition operated by G Adventures was travelling along
the ice edge in 6/10 ice of indeterminate age. Floes were extensively
melted (see image) but all ponds had frozen over and frost flowers
were forming and many ponds had already become fully white.
Large areas of what appeared to be open water were actually covered by
grease and nilas (see image) which showed evidence of finger rafting.
Most interestingly, the vessel passed through a pan several miles
across which was approximately 10-15cm thick, extremely soft, and
appeared to be new grey ice (see two attached images).
For the Polar Collective team, this is an unusually early date to see
the pack edge freezing in the Svalbard region, let alone for the melt
to be far advanced enough for new grey ice to have formed. This season
has been unusually icy in the Svalbard region by the standards of the
last decade. The north coast of the island of Nordaustlandet has
remained locked in ice and it now appears that it may not be freed
until next summer at the earliest.