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When will "small vessels" first be able to traverse the Northwest Passage in 2020?

August 1 - 15
40 (50.6%)
August 16 - 31
35 (44.3%)
September 1 - 15
2 (2.5%)
September 16 - 30
0 (0%)
Extremely late in the season
1 (1.3%)
No way Jose!
1 (1.3%)

Total Members Voted: 76

Voting closed: August 06, 2020, 05:22:01 PM

Author Topic: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?  (Read 6586 times)

Jim Hunt

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When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« on: July 23, 2020, 05:22:01 PM »
Hopefully the title is fairly self explanatory?

As suggested by @igs, a poll and a place to discuss the above subject. Here's the "forecast" for 2020 which I prepared earlier:

https://GreatWhiteCon.info/2020/07/the-northwest-passage-in-2020/

There was much discussion last year about what counts as "open". For the purposes of this poll "open" counts as <= 6/10 concentration on the Canadian Ice Service charts along the entire length of one of the assorted routes through the CAA:



"Travers[ing] the Northwest Passage" implies without the assistance of an icebreaker.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2020, 11:11:57 AM by Jim Hunt »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2020, 05:29:45 PM »
The plucky little yacht Northabout was originally planning to attempt the Northwest Passage again this year, travelling from east to west this time. However it seems Covid-19 constraints have meant that section of the Unu Mondo expedition has been postponed until next year:

https://GreatWhiteCon.info/2020/07/northabout-heads-north-again/

Perhaps the pandemic will reduce the number of "small vessels" attempting the passage this year? It already seems to have reduced the number of "cruise liners" thinking of doing so!
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Pagophilus

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2020, 06:16:43 PM »
When will I receive my prize? 8)
Person.  Woman.  Man.  Vote.  November.

Burnrate

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2020, 06:17:34 PM »
On worldview for path 1 it looks like the only thing that is still remotely solid is the Viscount Melville Sound.  Even that has huge cracks going all the way across.  I wouldn't be surprised with an early August opening unless the currently predicted dispersion from the CAB pushes a lot of ice into the CAA and that gets in the way.

I haven't really watched that area melt out before though so I have no idea about what tricks it has to keep the ice.

igs

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2020, 06:28:00 PM »
Opted for 1st half of August because that's more than 3 weeks to go that should suffice to open at least one of the routes, probably even more than one.

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2020, 07:14:25 PM »
At this point, the only real question is how long it will take for Victoria Straight and the Coronation Gulf to clear. That area has absorbed a lot of heat already, is far enough south that it's going to receive a lot more, and is facing predicted weather that is pretty grim for ice retention. Will it clear in 3 weeks? I think it will be close.

Then, I think we're looking at either late August or early September for VMS ice to collapse enough to allow transit through Parry Channel to Prince of Wales Straight. I'm going to remain hopeful that M'Clure Straight ice survives the season, but I'm not sure that's a hope based on facts.

Burnrate

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2020, 07:29:13 PM »
...
I'm going to remain hopeful that M'Clure Straight ice survives the season, but I'm not sure that's a hope based on facts.

The attached picture is from the 21st.  It looks like it is already on the way out (maybe a week or two left?).  Tomorrow and on the 27th it is predicted to have some 10 and then 20 knot winds pushing the ice north and out to Beaufort.

I have no idea what the currents are like in there though.

gerontocrat

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2020, 08:49:57 PM »
Below I quote in full the post by Ossifrage in the melting season thread - a really comprehensive analysis of what's going on in the CAA from Ossifrage. I also attach 2 maps I found last year of Nunavut that I needed to properly follow his analysis.
Quote
I think we're going to lose a lot of the CAA ice very soon.

As of the 22nd, the Parry Channel is completely clear all the way through Barrow Straight, and the ice has broken up entirely right up to the edge of Viscount Melville Sound. During last year's "recovery", the VMS held out against the melt, but I just don't see how that's possible this time around. You can already see the first cracks forming between Victoria Island and Melville Island. Additionally, ice is breaking up in the Byam Channel, providing another angle of attack for open water against the VMS ice. Past the VMS, the other end of the Parry Channel -- the M'Clure Strait -- is under fairly heavy cloud. We know that the mouth of the M'Clure broke open as part of the Crack formation, vacuuming out ice from as far in as Crozier Channel. The remaining M'Clure ice is badly fragmented almost all the way to Liddon Gulf, and its fate may depend on how vigorous the northbound export is/becomes for the rest of the melt season.

Other core areas of the CAA aren't fairing better, either. Only scattered floes remain in the Wellington Channel, and Belcher Channel has broken up entirely and is beginning to clear. Melt and clearance in these areas is expected (in recent years, anyway), although the speed they've opened is surprising and worrisome. I suspect Byam Martin Channel will be the next major CAA waterway to break apart. On Worldview, there are stripes of darker ice throughout the area; this is telling, and is representative of the state of much of the CAA ice in general: blocks of relic MYI embedded in a matrix of younger, vulnerable ice. The clock is ticking down on that younger ice now. The earlier it breaks apart or melts out, the worse things will be for those MYI chunks. I expect some ice will survive in the CAA, but MYI ice isn't an all-or-nothing deal, and free-floating floes take damage from both above and below.

There are a few significant parts of the CAA that don't appear to be clear, clearing, or breaking up. The Prince Gustav Adolf Sea still seems okayish although high clouds obscure the details. There's some suggestion in Worldview that the PGAS may be starting to show the same characteristics as Byam Martin. That wouldn't be surprising, given how badly things got stirred around in the PGAS last year, but it's not quite there yet. In what might actually pass for good news, the Peary Channel / Sverdrup Channel / Massey Sound area looks pretty good, so far. I'm actually a bit surprised by that, because that whole area was simply savaged last year. Interestingly, the CAA/CAB boundary at the mouths of the Peary and Sverdrup is pretty much the only place where the Crack hasn't opened; there's no open water between especially the Sverdrup and the CAB. I think this makes clear that the mechanisms responsible for opening up the Crack are very bad for adjacent ice; those have spared the Sverdrup at least for now, and I have a tiny bit of hope that ice there might survive the season.

Elsewhere in the CAA... it's probably not going to be pretty in another couple of weeks.
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gerontocrat

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2020, 08:56:30 PM »
And Environment Canada is saying it will be warm in the CAA for some time to come.

https://weather.gc.ca/saisons/image_e.html?img=mfe1t_s
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Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2020, 09:02:31 PM »
Somewhat belatedly, since numerous people have voted already, here's the July 20th CIS "stage of development" chart for the relevant bits of the CAA:
« Last Edit: July 23, 2020, 09:43:06 PM by Jim Hunt »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2020, 09:09:27 PM »
When will I receive my prize? 8)

First of all you'll have to reveal which bin you've voted for.

As a possible tie breaker you'll then need to specify which route will "open" first. Unless of course you went for "No Way Jose!".

A packet of proverbial peanuts will be popped in the post to the winner(s) the instant JAXA Arctic sea ice extent drops below the mythical 1M square kilometres.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2020, 09:14:06 PM »
Well, nuts are healthy!

Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2020, 09:57:26 PM »
And here's is Panoply's best effort (that I can find at least) at displaying the CPOM version of level 2 CryoSat-2 thickness back in April
« Last Edit: July 24, 2020, 11:15:59 AM by Jim Hunt »
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oren

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2020, 10:01:13 PM »
The answer is usually Bellot Strait. But I get the feeling this year may see the Parry Channel open for its whole length, including Mc'clure.

Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2020, 10:51:08 AM »
The answer is usually Bellot Strait. But I get the feeling this year may see the Parry Channel open for its whole length, including Mc'clure.

I opted for route 5 via the Bellot Strait last year, but after melting out early it suddenly got filled with ice at the critical juncture.

Are you suggesting that route 1 will "open" before the more usual southern routes?
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Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #15 on: July 24, 2020, 11:07:49 AM »
Some input from Friv on the melting season thread!

Expect the NW Passage ice to completely shatter over the next few days.

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2020, 11:32:53 AM »
I voted too fast, and very wrong, but I can't change my vote.  :'(
Is it possible to edit the poll so I can change my vote?
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oren

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2020, 11:44:20 AM »
Done, you can edit your vote now.

Jim, I meant that route 1 may open this year, but not necessarily before all other routes.

Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2020, 11:45:05 AM »
Is it possible to edit the poll so I can change my vote?

It seems not unfortunately. I had the option of allowing changing of votes when I set up the poll, but that doesn't seem to be available to me any more. Perhaps a mod can help?

Feel free to reveal your considered verdict though.

P.S. Oren got there before me!
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2020, 01:50:39 PM »
Thank you! I fixed it from late in the season to August 16 - 31. I think it will still take a few weeks for it to open completely, but that's a pure guess. This part of the arctic I'm not at all familiar with.

And I also saw that the water is less salty there this year, so that may slow the melt a little?
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2020, 03:43:37 PM »
I voted for route 1 in early August but if there was an option for late July I might have taken that.

I feel like larger areas of ice have been getting incinerated this year and all the ice that lasts longer is in smaller areas tucked up against the land.  That's why I would guess at route 1 being first.

Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2020, 10:24:06 AM »
I voted for route 1 in early August but if there was an option for late July I might have taken that.

I hazarded a guess that none of the routes will open in July this year. Hence the absence of that course on the menu.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2020, 11:00:32 AM »
Polarview S1 of the Mclure Strait yesterday. Something, probably not a small vessel, is there already.

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #23 on: July 26, 2020, 12:36:32 AM »
Something, probably not a small vessel, is there already.

Intriguing. Nothing is shown on MarineTraffic etc. any closer than Resolute as far as I can ascertain:

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-105.5/centery:72.5/zoom:4

Something "top secret" perchance?
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Burnrate

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #24 on: July 26, 2020, 02:51:12 PM »


...
Something "top secret" perchance?

Someone thought the passage was open already!

.

I thought this post from Oren on the main melt thread was interesting:
https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,3017.msg277158.html#msg277158

Everything breaking apart, there is a pretty good view of most of the CAA.

KenB

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #25 on: July 26, 2020, 06:24:32 PM »
48-hour change (2020-7-21 to 2020-7-23) near Cambridge Bay:

"When the melt ponds drain apparent compaction goes up because the satellite sees ice, not water in ponds." - FOoW

Juan C. García

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #26 on: July 26, 2020, 06:47:54 PM »
Something, probably not a small vessel, is there already.

Intriguing. Nothing is shown on MarineTraffic etc. any closer than Resolute as far as I can ascertain:

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/home/centerx:-105.5/centery:72.5/zoom:4

Something "top secret" perchance?
I've been thinking about what should be the demand for shipments crossing the Arctic, given the economic crisis generated by COVID 19. There has to be some demand, but surely not as much as in recent years.

Without demand, the ship may choose to take a safe route, rather than the Arctic routes.

I voted for August 1 to August 15, a few days ago ...
Which is the best answer to Sep-2012 ASI lost (compared to 1979-2000)?
50% [NSIDC Extent] or
73% [PIOMAS Volume]

Volume is harder to measure than extent, but 3-dimensional space is real, 2D's hide ~50% thickness gone.
-> IPCC/NSIDC trends [based on extent] underestimate the real speed of ASI lost.

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #27 on: July 26, 2020, 09:22:31 PM »
I've been thinking about what should be the demand for shipments crossing the Arctic, given the economic crisis generated by COVID 19. There has to be some demand, but surely not as much as in recent years.

Without demand, the ship may choose to take a safe route, rather than the Arctic routes.

I voted for August 1 to August 15, a few days ago ...
Especially in economic hard times it would pay off to take the more risky route through the arctic, because that would save a lot of fuel, and thus costs.

Besides... Going through the arctic is the ultimate in social distancing.  ;D

I change my vote a second time to the first two weeks of August. I missed the part where they said "small vessels" in the title of the poll. I'm pretty sure small vessels would be able to sail through the cracks. Big vessels will probably take a bit longer I guess.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #28 on: July 26, 2020, 09:25:37 PM »
I voted for early August due to all the high temperatures in the CAA right now but honestly I have no idea.

oren

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #29 on: July 26, 2020, 11:52:31 PM »
Just for the record I voted 2nd half of Aug. The CAA ice always takes a long time to clear, even under such intense heat.

Juan C. García

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #30 on: July 27, 2020, 05:06:58 PM »
I've been thinking about what should be the demand for shipments crossing the Arctic, given the economic crisis generated by COVID 19. There has to be some demand, but surely not as much as in recent years.

Without demand, the ship may choose to take a safe route, rather than the Arctic routes.

I voted for August 1 to August 15, a few days ago ...
Besides... Going through the arctic is the ultimate in social distancing.  ;D
It is not important, but you really make me laugh!!!  ;D
The other arguments are good.
Which is the best answer to Sep-2012 ASI lost (compared to 1979-2000)?
50% [NSIDC Extent] or
73% [PIOMAS Volume]

Volume is harder to measure than extent, but 3-dimensional space is real, 2D's hide ~50% thickness gone.
-> IPCC/NSIDC trends [based on extent] underestimate the real speed of ASI lost.

oren

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #31 on: July 29, 2020, 07:12:59 AM »
Following this post I made on the melting season thread, I've convinced myself to change my vote to the first half of August.

https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php/topic,3017.msg277875.html#msg277875

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #32 on: July 29, 2020, 08:51:55 PM »
Southern route, I'm pretty certain, sometime before the 15th of August.

I think the main channel may open sometime before the end of the melt season as well.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #33 on: July 30, 2020, 01:50:27 AM »
I was waiting until the next weekly forecast from ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca so I could calibrate their concentration numbers with what I see on WV a bit better.  Having done that, I've settled on the earliest date range and route 6 on the above map.  I could see a number of routes opening at virtually the same time, though, particularly since the maps are only updated weekly. 

I guess we all get one more chance to see one more update before the poll closes, right? 
"When the melt ponds drain apparent compaction goes up because the satellite sees ice, not water in ponds." - FOoW

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #34 on: July 30, 2020, 06:05:52 AM »
Southern route, I'm pretty certain

You need to pick one JD! See the various flavours on the map at the top.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #35 on: July 31, 2020, 09:14:06 AM »
Since I fortuitously gave myself a few more days to make a decision I'll leave it until the last minute after GAC-2020-07 before committing myself!

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #36 on: July 31, 2020, 11:09:35 PM »
The NW passage has shattered.   But like oren I expect it will take until later August to melt out.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #37 on: August 02, 2020, 09:43:54 AM »
The skies were fairly clear on July 31st.

It now seems certain that routes 3 & 5 will open simultaneously. Similarly with 4 & 6. The final barriers will be Larsen Sound and/or the Victoria Strait.

Rather wishing that I'd divided August into three, I'm going to plump for the first half.
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #38 on: August 02, 2020, 06:04:36 PM »
...
It now seems certain that routes 3 & 5 will open simultaneously. Similarly with 4 & 6. The final barriers will be Larsen Sound and/or the Victoria Strait.
...

Agree about the simultaneity.  I thought 4/6 was a better bet than 3/5 being already clear for quite a stretch and more southern.  But now, the Rae Strait is starting to look like the top of a bottle with a very large cork in it.  Maybe there's hope for a narrow lead hugging the E. side.  The 3/5 route seems like it could open up if the ice at the top of the 'cork' falls apart enough to allow a passage straight W. into the open water on the W. side and then S.  Will be interested to see what Wed. brings from CIS.

"When the melt ponds drain apparent compaction goes up because the satellite sees ice, not water in ponds." - FOoW

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #39 on: August 02, 2020, 09:44:10 PM »
I plump for hugging the Canadian mainland shore and staying as far south as possible in the fiddly bits. I think that's route seven(7).

Why? 'cos GFS says that close to & on the Canadian shore it is going to be really, really hot for the next 3 days, just really hot for days 3-5, and just really warm for days 5-10, North of that e.g. Parry Channel, not so hot & by day 10 maybe cool.
__________________________________________________

ps: Jim, my 72 year old eyes, which were never 20-20 anyway, say your route map is unreadable on my laptop. So then I clicked on it and this monster appeared, equally unusable as its just too big.  especially latish (for me) on Sunday night.

So I copied it into Paint3d, (microsofts's freebie) & reduced it to 1000 x 678- which I attach.

Click to view full-size. I can read that (just).
Then click on the displayed image - it gets a bit bigger.
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« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 12:23:48 PM by gerontocrat »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #40 on: August 02, 2020, 10:44:03 PM »
Will be interested to see what Wed. brings from CIS.

Likewise. I'm leaving my route selection to last possible moment!
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Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #41 on: August 02, 2020, 11:34:17 PM »
Having performed a quick trawl of the web the earliest commercial cruise planned for the Northwest Passage this summer seems to be Hanseatic Spirit, departing Kangerlussuaq for Anchorage on August 13th

However I have found no reference to a "small vessel" planning for a passage this year. There do seem to be some "pleasure craft" heading North up the west coast of Greenland at present though. Does anybody know any more than that?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Sailaway

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #42 on: August 03, 2020, 04:06:32 AM »
Having performed a quick trawl of the web the earliest commercial cruise planned for the Northwest Passage this summer seems to be Hanseatic Spirit, departing Kangerlussuaq for Anchorage on August 13th

However I have found no reference to a "small vessel" planning for a passage this year. There do seem to be some "pleasure craft" heading North up the west coast of Greenland at present though. Does anybody know any more than that?

https://tc.canada.ca/en/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/backgrounder-new-measures-pleasure-craft-operators-limit-spread-covid-19

RikW

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2020, 09:31:14 AM »
When checking worldview I think you can cross Bellot Strait safely from the east and Franklin Strait is also shattered with lots of open water parts already, Rae Strait also mostly ice-free;

Won't be surprised if route 6 will be safe to go in a couple of days; Especially since the wind appears to blow the ice away from the blocked parts. Lot's of clouds on worldview on the part between Bellot Strait and Rae Strait, so let's hope for some cloud-free worldview pictures today.

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #44 on: August 03, 2020, 01:16:50 PM »
https://tc.canada.ca/en/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/backgrounder-new-measures-pleasure-craft-operators-limit-spread-covid-19

Thanks. I suspected something along those lines, but there is a get out of jail at great expense card:

Quote
In the Canadian Arctic coastal waters, the following measures will not apply to:

Foreign pleasure craft exercising their right of innocent passage within the territorial sea. However, any such transits will be subject to receipt of a 60-day written notice in advance of arrival in Canadian Arctic coastal waters to Transport Canada, and be subject to any conditions the Minister determines necessary to ensure the protection of marine personnel and of local communities (for example, additional insurance, rescue strategy).
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Sailaway

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #45 on: August 03, 2020, 02:30:08 PM »
https://tc.canada.ca/en/covid-19-measures-updates-guidance-issued-transport-canada/backgrounder-new-measures-pleasure-craft-operators-limit-spread-covid-19

Thanks. I suspected something along those lines, but there is a get out of jail at great expense card:

Quote

It is almost impossible for a vessel to undertake a NW passage without resupply at some point. Attached link maybe of interest to your various interests but let not drift farther OT, 

https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/freezing-out-southern-neighbours-covid-19-travel-restrictions-canada-arctic/


« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 03:14:31 PM by Sailaway »

crandles

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #46 on: August 03, 2020, 05:05:27 PM »
Route 5 August 24th

Jim Hunt

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #47 on: August 05, 2020, 04:18:53 PM »
Route 5 August 24th

Time for me to get off my fence!
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KenB

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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #48 on: August 06, 2020, 01:32:54 AM »
Pretty sure I could sneak a kayak S. from the Bellot Strait right along the coast here and complete route 6, but CIS says there's still 90% concentration on at least part of route 6/4 (and 5/3).  So I guess we're not there yet.

 
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Re: When will the Northwest Passage "open" in 2020?
« Reply #49 on: August 06, 2020, 10:30:57 AM »
So I guess we're not there yet.

That was my conclusion earlier this morning (UTC) also:

https://GreatWhiteCon.info/2020/07/the-northwest-passage-in-2020/#Aug-06

I await this evening's CIS chart for Queen Maud with interest. Having left my decision until the last possible moment I plump for routes 4 and 6 simultaneously!

How to "tie break" between those two though?
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein