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Lord M Vader

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Northern Sea Route thread
« on: May 09, 2014, 09:05:19 PM »
Well, as Pmt started the Northwest Passage I thought that we would need a thread about the Northeast Passage... Last year the passage was open for some weeks as the ice around Severnaya Zemlya finally broke up in august.. So, what can we expect this year? Personally, I think that the Northeast Passage (hereafter "NEP") will continue to be ice free for about 9 of 10 years. The reasons for that are following:

1) the ice in the NEP is much thinner and therefore much more likely to melt out during the melt season.

2) despite such unfavorable conditions for melting ice as 2013 offered the NEP managed to become ice free even if it only was for a limited time. In fact, most of the thickest ice surrounding the NEP is today just west and north of Severnaya Zemlya.

I'm going to say some words about the NWP too. I think it will be highly unlikely that we'll see an ice free NWP this year. The western part of the Northern Route is blocked by, according to ACFNS, almost 5 m thick ice and the "Amundsen path" will probably open up almost everywhere except for the area in the middle of the Northern Route. Given that the weather pattern have been quite persistent now for a while which likely will continue for some time forward there will probably not be too much warming there as would be necessary to melt out all that thick ice in the Northern Route to make the NWP ice free...

Someone may argue if it would be better to put the NWP-thread and the new NEP-thread together. If you think that would be to prefer I won't oppose it.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 10:15:55 PM by Neven »

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northeast Passage thread
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 09:50:52 PM »
2) despite such unfavorable conditions for melting ice as 2013 offered the NEP managed to become ice free even if it only was for a limited time. In fact, most of the thickest ice surrounding the NEP is today just west and north of Severnaya Zemlya


Some vessels that tried last year found that the Northern Sea Route wasn't exactly "ice free":

http://econnexus.org/the-yong-sheng-docks-in-rotterdam-as-the-nordvik-is-holed-on-the-northern-sea-route/
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Lord M Vader

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Re: Northeast Passage thread
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 10:15:18 PM »
Well, I'm not surprised if that was the case as the sea ice maps only cover ice concentrations above 15%... But "ice free" according to SIC - maps...

//LMV

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2014, 10:16:53 PM »
LMV, thanks a lot for opening this thread (very interesting theme). I hope you don't mind my changing the title to the more modern name for the Northeastern Passage.
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Lord M Vader

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2014, 11:07:32 PM »
Neven: no problems :)

Lord M Vader

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2014, 09:35:18 PM »
Todays map from wipneus and AMSR shows that the Northern Sea Route is essentially ice free per the definition of ice covering more than 15% at the ice maps. NSR should be open now and presumably for about 2 months from now and onward.

What are the earlier dates for opening of the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage?

//LMV

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2014, 09:59:24 PM »
Todays map from wipneus and AMSR shows that the Northern Sea Route is essentially ice free per the definition of ice covering more than 15% at the ice maps. NSR should be open now and presumably for about 2 months from now and onward.

What are the earlier dates for opening of the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage?

//LMV

I would think the present Russian embargo will stop any "success" for this route at least for this season?
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Rick Aster

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2014, 12:49:50 AM »
A recent news report on this year’s weather and shipping volume in the Northern Sea Route:

http://www.seatrade-global.com/news/americas/northern-sea-route-forecast-to-open-from-mid-august.html
GIC expects the NSR via Far North Russia to open from mid-August, open being defined as when a vessel can sail without hitting sea ice, and stay open till around early October.

There has been growing interest in the NSR in recent years as an alternative route to from North Europe to Asia as the summer ice recedes. The NSR Authority in Russia said that over 400 vessels had [applied] for permission to sail through the NSR, more than the record 346 permits granted in 2013.


I have read in past years in shipping industry reports that a large number of ships also travel this route without papers.

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2014, 01:35:37 AM »
I have read in past years in shipping industry reports that a large number of ships also travel this route without papers.

Not possible as far as I've heard. Norway borders Russia, and they're very strict that every ship/vessel must be accompanied by a Russian icebreaker, just in case. Suppose that's good for the environment, too.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 02:11:07 PM »
Currently there are 555 vessels with official "Permission for navigation on the water area of the Northern Sea Route" this year.

One of them is the Hapag-Lloyd cruise ship MS Hanseatic, which is currently wending its way through the New Siberian Islands, and which also carries a webcam. Here's what it shows at the moment:



According to the official forecast current ice conditions along the entire NSR are "Easy" or better:



 
« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 11:04:47 PM by Jim Hunt »
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viddaloo

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 06:18:44 PM »
I would think the present Russian embargo will stop any "success" for this route at least for this season?

Well, 555 permits, up from the previous record of 346 permits granted in 2013, seem to suggest otherwise. The Northern Sea Route is a way to save time and money, and Russia is not a hostile nation, despite what they tell you in the news.
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2014, 08:30:29 AM »
Here is the position of Polarstern, note the map is updated with the latest sea ice situation:

http://sailwx.info/shiptrack/shipposition.phtml?call=DBLK
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2015, 02:36:48 AM »
Earlier today The Economist published an article which claimed that:

In 2014 traffic fell to 53 ships, only four of which sailed from Asia and docked in Europe.

The decline in 2014 was partly caused by the weather: less sea ice melted last summer than in 2013, so the route was more dangerous.


That didn't make much sense to me, so I wrote an article outlining my reservations :

http://Greatwhitecon.info/2015/01/is-the-economist-being-economical-with-the-truth-about-arctic-sea-ice/

which contains a couple of videos:





which rather prove my point (IMHO)! For good measure here's another video about the Nordic Odyssey's transit of the NSR in 2012:


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Wipneus

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2015, 04:56:03 PM »
Jim,

Here is a side-by-side animation of the difficult part: the entry to the Vilkitskiy Strait.
Its clear there was far more dangerous ice around in 2013 than in 2014.

(click for a 2.5MB animation)

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2015, 07:18:37 PM »
Thanks Wipneus,

That's the way I saw it as well, and your close-up of the Vilkitskiy Strait "choke point" confirms matters.

I have now spoken to The Economist's "man in Tromso", and at his suggestion I will have a good look at the materials made available from this conference:

http://www.arcticfrontiers.com/2015-conference

As soon as I have a spare 5 minutes that is!
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2015, 10:03:40 PM »
The Economist's "man in Tromso" asked if he could take a look at 2012 as well. Here it is, albeit using SSMIS data instead of AMSR2, and therefore 12.5 km resolution instead of 3.125 km:

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Neven

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2015, 11:17:13 AM »
*kick*

There's probably still some ice rubble left and right that doesn't get picked up by the microwave sensors, but the Northern Sea Route is about to open up again. I keep forgetting the dates, but this seems relatively early.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2015, 11:27:38 AM »
It does seem remarkably early Neven! I'm not sure there's an entirely rubble free passage just yet though. This is the latest from Sentinel, on the 24th:




I guess I should update my 2015 video in the near future?
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2015, 11:40:41 AM »
Whatever AMSR2 etc. may show, Sentinel suggests we're not quite there yet. This via PolarView from the 26th:

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2015, 08:52:06 AM »
The latest Sentinel image suggests that the Northern Sea Route is "ice free".



It's not visible in that image, but the Vilkitsky Strait looks to be a very tight squeeze at the moment .
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #20 on: July 28, 2015, 08:28:51 PM »
A new version of the GWC NSR video to celebrate the unusually early "ice free" condition:

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #22 on: August 19, 2015, 12:42:23 PM »
The Barents Observer reports that the Chinese cargo ship "Yong Sheng":

Departed from the Chinese port of Dalian on 8th July and arrived in Sweden on 17 August.

Data from the Russian Northern Sea Route Administration show that the ship passed the Kara Straits and entered the Barents Sea at noon the 12th August.

The “Yong Sheng” will return to China along the same route by the the end of October


http://barentsobserver.com/en/arctic/2015/08/chinese-giant-mulls-more-northern-sea-route-shipping-18-08
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Neven

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2015, 05:54:04 PM »
From Arctic-info:

08.12.2015
Rogozin: Northern Sea Route could become operational round the year

“Russia has all the possibilities to make the Northern Sea Route operational round the year and in any season,” vice-Premier Dmitry Rogozin said today at a plenary session of the international forum on the Arctic.

"It is important that our structures and bodies responsible for the Northern Sea Route and the administration of the Northern Sea Route should be generators of ideas rather than the bodies stating facts and they should elaborate proposals on creating those technologies that will help make the Northern Sea Route operational round the year and in any season," the vice-premier said. "We have all technological possibilities for this," Rogozin added.

According to his report, the ambitious tasks of developing the Northern Sea Route are a priority for Russia along with the task of ensuring mobility and transport accessibility, TASS reports.

The Northern Sea Route development model will integrate all kinds of transport communication, including the air, river and railway carriages. In his state-of-the-nation address to both houses of Russia’s parliament, President Vladimir Putin stressed the importance of the competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route, which should become a link between Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region, the vice-premier said.

Russia also needs to create its icebreaker fleet, which will open big prospects for leading vessels along the Northern Sea Route, the vice-premier noticed.

Rogozin noted that Russia has invited China to take part in delivery of cargos to the Northern Sea Route.

"Our Chinese partners got interested in it. We do not rule out that there may be interests related to the economic development of the Silk Road. We proposed them to participate in such projects of building railways to transport cargos to the ports of the NSR. In fact, we can say now that this is not just the economic Silk Road but the cool Silk Road," - Rogozin said.

According to the official, raising competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route is only possible if port infrastructure is seriously upgraded.

"Amid this environment it saves us effort of focusing on higher competitiveness of the Northern Sea Route tracks without serious upgrade of sea ports’ infrastructure, provision of modern logistics, saturation of generating capacities, creation of modern communication and navigation systems, provision of navigation safety," Rogozin said.
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2015, 07:50:21 PM »
Re: year round Northern sea route, I think this reflects long term planning, on a generational scale. Climate change is going to force humanity north, as I think we will lose arable land and the ability to support large populations in the tropics.  Near term, this activity shouldn't seriously change the behavior of the ice, but will likely affect habitat.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #25 on: July 18, 2016, 06:22:54 PM »
An AMSR2 animation of the NSR over the last couple of months:



David Hempleman-Adams and 14 year old Ben Edwards are amongst the crew of Northabout, currently waiting in Murmansk for the Vilkitsky Strait to clear so they can start their Polar Ocean Challenge in earnest. Their voyage started in Bristol, UK a month ago and the plan is to circumnavigate the North Pole in a single season via the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage.

I think they'll need to wait a while longer before setting off on the next leg of their voyage though:

https://twitter.com/GreatWhiteCon/status/754964724404609024

Apparently they're going to be on the ITV news at 18:30 British Summer Time this evening!
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Quantum

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #26 on: July 19, 2016, 01:04:13 PM »
An AMSR2 animation of the NSR over the last couple of months:

http://youtu.be/Kw-10IDCY5w

David Hempleman-Adams and 14 year old Ben Edwards are amongst the crew of Northabout, currently waiting in Murmansk for the Vilkitsky Strait to clear so they can start their Polar Ocean Challenge in earnest. Their voyage started in Bristol, UK a month ago and the plan is to circumnavigate the North Pole in a single season via the Northern Sea Route and Northwest Passage.

I think they'll need to wait a while longer before setting off on the next leg of their voyage though:

https://twitter.com/GreatWhiteCon/status/754964724404609024

Apparently they're going to be on the ITV news at 18:30 British Summer Time this evening!

Think they have picked a bad year for it, perhaps the only year in a decade where the northern route fails to open. Its been unusually cold in the laptev all summer and despite a brief period of heat this week the below average temperatures look to continue. I suspect even if it does open, it will be too late to get round.

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #27 on: July 19, 2016, 10:16:37 PM »
Think they have picked a bad year for it.


They're leaving Murmansk tomorrow:

http://polarocean.co.uk/leave-tomorrow-sail-safely-across-one-sea-time/

All of the Ice charts from Russia Canada and the USA show we can get around across the Barents Sea across the Kara sea and then we hit the ice. In 10 days time will it have retreated enough. Could we get lucky and get a Southerly wind for two days that would shift the ice off shore ? Unknowns.

It is an interesting game of chess. If we leave until our path is free of ice will we have enough time to get through the North west pass before it refreezes and get down the coast of Greenland and across the North Atlantic before the Winter storms chase us home

So one step at a time. Leave and sail safely across one sea at a time.


The Kara is fairly clear, but the going looks tough in the Laptev:
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Quantum

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #28 on: July 20, 2016, 01:27:14 PM »
Think they have picked a bad year for it.


They're leaving Murmansk tomorrow:

http://polarocean.co.uk/leave-tomorrow-sail-safely-across-one-sea-time/

All of the Ice charts from Russia Canada and the USA show we can get around across the Barents Sea across the Kara sea and then we hit the ice. In 10 days time will it have retreated enough. Could we get lucky and get a Southerly wind for two days that would shift the ice off shore ? Unknowns.

It is an interesting game of chess. If we leave until our path is free of ice will we have enough time to get through the North west pass before it refreezes and get down the coast of Greenland and across the North Atlantic before the Winter storms chase us home

So one step at a time. Leave and sail safely across one sea at a time.


The Kara is fairly clear, but the going looks tough in the Laptev:

And even the ESS is probably not navigable at this stage; in terms of post 2000, let alone post 2007/2012 years this is unusual. Historically this route only opened rarely, I do not think it is inconceivable that the route fails to open at all this year or opens too late for the voyage. 

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #29 on: July 21, 2016, 12:06:01 PM »
I do not think it is inconceivable that the route fails to open at all this year or opens too late for the voyage.


Time will tell, but nonetheless Northabout set off from Murmansk yesterday.

http://polarocean.co.uk/tracking/


Temperatures in Tiksi
are forecast to be fairly toasty for the next few days. There's not much in the way of offshore winds though:
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 12:47:34 AM by Jim Hunt »
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Neven

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #30 on: July 21, 2016, 01:05:05 PM »
I saw that pathological liar Goddard has already started mocking this expedition. Does he even know this isn't a first?  :D

Those Norwegians who circumnavigated the entire Arctic back in 2010, set sail from Murmansk on the 28th of July, so in this sense our British friends are early.

The Norwegian crew reached the ice in the Laptev Sea on August 16th.

This is how things looked back then, compared to now:



I think the ESS will be easy to pass a month from now, but the bottleneck will be Vilkitsky Strait and then all the way up to the New Siberian Islands. Even if UB SIC maps show open water there - which I'm not sure they will - there will still be plenty of small floes left that will prevent careless sailing.

It's not going to be easy for the Northabout crew! Lots of flash melting needed in the next 4 weeks. But if they make it through the Laptev on time, I think they have a good chance of going all the way.
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #31 on: July 21, 2016, 02:10:27 PM »
It's a bit cloudy today, but if you compare yesterday (top) with today (bottom) I think there has been some flash melting near Vilkitsky Strait (top left of picture):




Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #32 on: July 22, 2016, 12:18:26 PM »
According to Environment Canada there's a 988 hPa low causing a bit of a blow in the Vilkitsky Strait at the moment:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/07/northabouts-great-adventure/#Jul-22
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 02:37:09 PM by Jim Hunt »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #33 on: July 24, 2016, 02:47:19 PM »
Many in the cryodenialosphere seem to believe that Northabout is a clone of the Akademik Shokalskiy:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/07/northabouts-great-adventure/#Jul-24

Meanwhile back in the real world there are signs of some open water in the Vilkitsky Strait:
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #34 on: July 26, 2016, 12:47:41 PM »
The crew of Northabout report from just north of Novaya Zemlya:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/07/northabouts-great-adventure/#Jul-26

The weather has changed, the wind direction has also changed. From the calm turquoise seas, to choppy short seas, wet, windy and cold.

So we took a long tack north, and then tacked east again. There is No hurry. We will slowly make our way east, and if we can find an island with no fast ice around, will look for a sheltered spot, until we get better ice conditions.
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #35 on: July 26, 2016, 04:50:52 PM »
Well whatever the data might be telling us the reality is being experienced by the crew of the Northabout and safe passage to them all.



Will She turn up off the West coast of Greenland a few months from now with claims to have circumvented the Arctic  in a single season?

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #36 on: July 27, 2016, 12:06:14 PM »
The data suggest that whilst Northabout is finally heading across the Kara Sea towards the Vilkitsky Strait, there's still no navigable channel through to the Laptev Sea:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/07/northabouts-great-adventure/#Jul-27

No "safe passage" is visible just yet!
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #37 on: July 28, 2016, 02:37:20 PM »
A close up look at the ice in the Vilkitsky Strait this morning, via Landsat 8:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/07/northabouts-great-adventure/#Jul-28
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #38 on: July 30, 2016, 12:11:52 PM »
The latest UH AMSR2 visualisation suggests that the ice is clearing in the Vilkitsky Strait:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/07/northabout-bides-her-time/#Jul-30
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #39 on: August 10, 2016, 08:22:17 PM »
The Northabout is on the move.  They report passing the northern most point in Russia, Cape Chelyuskin though plenty of ice is still all around them. They just need a decent southerly wind to push the ice more off shore so they can sneak into more open water in the Laptev Sea.

http://polarocean.co.uk/

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #40 on: August 10, 2016, 10:54:54 PM »
The Northabout is on the move.


The latest AARI ice chart of the area.

It seems Northabout has encountered ice in places where it is absent from the chart!
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2016, 05:35:21 AM »
It appears that Northabout finally squeezed through much of the ice and their log says they within 50m of breaking through to ice free water. With the gale approaching they turned back and headed inland into a natural harbour. They report
Outside temp 12 degrees and forecast 14 later – Honest !! Water temp 3.8
Wind stirring up ice in those temperatures should lead to good melt.

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2016, 07:14:47 AM »
It appears that Northabout finally squeezed through much of the ice and their log says they within 50m of breaking through to ice free water. With the gale approaching they turned back and headed inland into a natural harbour. They report
Outside temp 12 degrees and forecast 14 later – Honest !! Water temp 3.8
Wind stirring up ice in those temperatures should lead to good melt.
Water temperature 3.8C?!?!
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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2016, 09:32:58 AM »
It appears that Northabout finally squeezed through much of the ice and their log says they within 50m of breaking through to ice free water. With the gale approaching they turned back and headed inland into a natural harbour. They report
Outside temp 12 degrees and forecast 14 later – Honest !! Water temp 3.8
Wind stirring up ice in those temperatures should lead to good melt.

Heading inland from the shallow waters at this point would certainly risk coming to grief on some "rubble".   ::)

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2016, 09:57:05 AM »
It appears that Northabout finally squeezed through much of the ice and their log says they within 50m of breaking through to ice free water. With the gale approaching they turned back and headed inland into a natural harbour. They report
Outside temp 12 degrees and forecast 14 later – Honest !! Water temp 3.8

Wind stirring up ice in those temperatures should lead to good melt.

Water temperature 3.8C?!?!

The position of Northabout between a fairly large island and the mainland http://polarocean.co.uk/tracking/ with river inflow in the vicinity makes high water temperatures entirely plausible. The area has been clouded for a long time but on 2. Aug the narrow channel was open water http://go.nasa.gov/2b7Jng7 which will have continued to warm over low water depth.
The effect that water can have on the ice off the coast must be small, there is not much of it and it is in a narrow channel. The main effect of the storm there will be to push ice away from the coast.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2016, 12:30:14 PM »
The area has been clouded for a long time.


You may wish to check out some Sentinel 1A imagery of the area?

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2016/08/northabout-meets-some-serious-sea-ice/#Aug-13
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

ghoti

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2016, 03:19:47 PM »
The water temperature from the logs of the Northabout for the last week or so I've been watching have been around 2C pretty consistently. They've been hugging the shore looking for a way to sneak past the ice. I guess this is related to being next to the warm shore and in shallow water.

deinst

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2016, 02:03:15 AM »
It looks like the Northabout survived the initial onslaught of the storm and has broken through the ice and into the Laptev.  Water temperatures are just under 0 degrees (I don't know how much of this is due to the storm and how much due to deeper water.)  I wish them fair winds and following seas, but am really glad that I am in my all to warm bed.

Andreas T

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2016, 02:13:35 AM »
Northabout has left its achorage in the shelter of Ostrov Severnyy and is on the way eastwards along the coast.
http://polarocean.co.uk/tracking/
MODIS images on worldview indicate that ice has been blown away from the coast and has cleared the way.

Ninebelowzero

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Re: Northern Sea Route thread
« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2016, 07:45:45 AM »
Ports of call are few and far between up there but one hopes they will take the opportunity to detour and put in for supplies soon.