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Barrow Beaufort ice pack fractures 2008click to enlarge

I mentioned this in a comment at Where is… Bethel ice pack but the images are important. One of the significant aspects to this on-going event is that it indicates the lengthy homeostatic process– that is, adjustments by the physical environment to environmental change are not immediate. The lack of a land-fast sea ice will have consequences for the cultural and biological systems. Last year the city of Barrow had large-scale erosion and storm damage.

Eventually a new homeostasis will be reached but it may be difficult for the day to day living. I think this image of a relatively small phenomenon helps to comprehend the enormity of the environmental systemic change we are undergoing. [Let’s hope. Governing bodies, one of our collective means of adapting to change, haven’t responded in the previous decade(s)]

If anyone can express this better than I can (or interpret the images better) please do. Does anyone know if the energy involved in the ice pack has been compared to the energy involved in hurricane Katrina?

In December 2007, a massive fracture of the Beaufort Ice pack was observed west of Banks island. The image above clearly shows this fracture.

This is the daily image of the ice fractures (from NOAA via Environment Canada)

Daily sat view of fractured Beaufort Arctic ice

Read the story here

David Barber, a climate scientist with the University of Manitoba, said the central ice pack normally moves away from the coast during the winter as coastal ice expands and pushes it into the sea. But usually when this occurs, there is enough old ice in the central ice pack to resist the coastal ice.

That’s not the case this year, said Barber, who noted coastal ice pushed by high pressure systems has sent the central ice pack deep into the Beaufort Sea and towards Siberia, creating a massive fissure.

Related posts
Animated Arctic ice retreat for 2007: watch the melt rushing by
Where is Bethel… 2040
Where is… breakup freezeup

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