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Pmt111500

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Northwest Passage thread
« on: March 01, 2014, 12:38:34 PM »
This is of course way too early concerning navigation as can be seen on the image. Looks like the initial crack in the ice on the passage is on the same location as usual.
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Polynya88

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 03:52:58 PM »
Yes the Fast Ice extent of the Northwest Passage is about normal, however ice currently within the NW passage is extra-heavy. The ice that was causing all these problems http://www.sail-world.com/USA/North-West-Passage-blocked-with-ice%E2%80%94yachts-caught/113788 is still there. Lots of Old ice was blocking the entrance to Peel Sound/southern Barrow Strait, and it froze-in, and is just sitting there waiting for a tasty cruise ship! ;D

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 04:07:43 PM »
The ice that was causing all these problems is still there.


As luck would have it I found myself following events in the Northwest Passage rather closely last year, and took exception to the article you link to on a variety of fora as a consequence. Whilst there was certainly more ice there in 2013 than in 2012, it certainly didn't eat any cruise ships. In fact somehow or another 73,500 tons of coal managed to pass through unscathed!

http://econnexus.org/tag/nw-passage/
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Polynya88

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2014, 05:55:50 PM »
Yes that coal ship did make the trip, but in the dangerous area at the top end of Peel Sound it was under icebreaker escort. If it had been required to make its own track and impact the big floes of Old ice as per the attached Ice chart, I doubt it would have been dent-free.  Note that in several patches around the entrance to Peel Sound (areas L,I) as well as down in central Peel sound (area N) there are big floes of Old ice mixed into the ice cover. These are notoriously hard to detect in a dynamic ice cover, are thick and hard, and for any cruise ship (or coal ship) that hits them un-knowingly (foreign-going vessel with inexperienced crew), damage is a distinct possibility.

In this area (and to the north) a warm summer cleared out the First-year Fast Ice early, and allowed a "conduit" of Old Ice from the Arctic Ocean to feed down into Barrow Strait through Byam Martin channel.  If warm summers continue, this mechanism is likely to feed progressively more Old Ice to this "choke point" in the Northwest  Passage.

Pmt111500

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2014, 06:57:38 AM »
North shore of the Atlantic Side of the NW passage cleared last week, and with the early break up in Amundsen Gulf both ends of the route are now properly visible in the Modis Rapid Response images. The center 1250km section looks still consisting of solid ice.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2014, 07:04:31 AM by Pmt111500 »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2014, 12:51:29 PM »
Would anyone care to play "spot the difference" from last year?
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jdallen

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2014, 07:00:01 PM »
I have read discussion elsewhere suggestining that because of colder temperatures and supposedly thicker ice, it was not likely the passage would open this year.

We might want to revisit that, based on Jim's images and how early in the season we are.
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Polynya88

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 07:31:58 PM »
I would tend to agree with you that the ice in the Arctic/NWP will be a bit thicker this year. In the attached ice chart link, all the grey-shaded areas in the Arctic islands is Fast Ice that never melted out last year. Last year the CAA ended up with far more MLSI (multi-year landfast sea ice) than it has had in many years (cold summer, limited melt). I would guess the water temp. was accordingly low last fall, so the odds of above-average ice growth for this year would look good.  Ball-parking the amount of MLSI, I would say it hasn't been this extensive since the early eighties.


http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca//www_archive/AOI_10/Charts/sc_a10_20130930_WIS56CT.gif

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2014, 09:39:41 PM »
In the attached ice chart link, all the grey-shaded areas in the Arctic islands is Fast Ice that never melted out last year.

The Southern route is free of anything other than < 1/10 ice on your chart though. I see no a priori reason why it shouldn't open up this year, all other things being equal. Particularly since the open water at either end is evidently way ahead of this time last year!
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Neven

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2014, 11:00:51 PM »
I have read discussion elsewhere suggestining that because of colder temperatures and supposedly thicker ice, it was not likely the passage would open this year.

We might want to revisit that, based on Jim's images and how early in the season we are.

I said it in the Winter Analysis on the ASIB. It's my attempt at scientific reticence.  ;D
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jdallen

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2014, 12:54:04 AM »
I have read discussion elsewhere suggestining that because of colder temperatures and supposedly thicker ice, it was not likely the passage would open this year.

We might want to revisit that, based on Jim's images and how early in the season we are.

I said it in the Winter Analysis on the ASIB. It's my attempt at scientific reticence.  ;D
Reticence is wise regarding all things arctic...
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2014, 05:34:46 PM »
The Northwest Passage has been mentioned on the ASIB, in the context of cruise ships.  Here's how the sea ice concentration currently looks on the Southern route:



Here's how the ice on that route looked from the MS Bremen on August 21st 2013:

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Anne

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #12 on: July 26, 2014, 06:56:24 PM »
Can't see on a search that the Aventura's bid for the Northwest passage has been covered elsewhere on here, so here's the link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-28247175

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #13 on: July 26, 2014, 08:01:15 PM »
You can follow the track of the Aventura and a variety of other vessels on their NW Passage adventures here:

http://www.enablingwebsites.com/sv_novara_track.html

The Aventura's own blog is at:

http://cornellsailing.com/category/aventura-logs/
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ghoti

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #14 on: August 24, 2014, 04:38:02 PM »
Looks like 2 boats are close to getting past the ice in the Northwest Passage.

The S/V Novara going east to west seems to have entered the Bellot Strait which will bring them to the Franklin Strait and pretty clear sailing the rest of the way west. http://www.enablingwebsites.com/sv_novara_track.html

Le Manguier going west to east has been sailing and waiting along the east coast of Prince of Wales Island to a point further north than the Bellot Strait. With the right wind they'll be able to scoot up to Barrow Strait where most of the boats attempting the east to west passage have been loitering waiting for ice to clear.

S/V Arctic Tern has almost reached Bellot as well.

Looks like S/V Catryn is also heading south of Port Leopold on the way to Bellot Strait.

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2014, 05:04:02 PM »
The cruise ship MS Bremen is also heading for Bellot Strait. Unfortunately the Bremen's webcam seems to be broken at the moment:
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Polynya88

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2014, 05:19:40 PM »
Looks like 2 boats are close to getting past the ice in the Northwest Passage.

The S/V Novara going east to west seems to have entered the Bellot Strait which will bring them to the Franklin Strait and pretty clear sailing the rest of the way west. http://www.enablingwebsites.com/sv_novara_track.html

Le Manguier going west to east has been sailing and waiting along the east coast of Prince of Wales Island to a point further north than the Bellot Strait. With the right wind they'll be able to scoot up to Barrow Strait where most of the boats attempting the east to west passage have been loitering waiting for ice to clear.

S/V Arctic Tern has almost reached Bellot as well.

Looks like S/V Catryn is also heading south of Port Leopold on the way to Bellot Strait.


It will be interesting to see how they do on the west side of Bellot Strait when they get into 9+/10 concentration with 2/10 big floes of Multi-year ice in it (see chart below). When the tide is running there is a phenomenal amount of pressure at the west end of Bellot. They will need icebreakers and luck...

ghoti

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2014, 03:57:31 PM »
As of this morning it looks like both the S/V Novara and Le Manguier have managed to squeeze past the ice in opposite directions. Both ended up going through the Bellot Strait.

Le Manguier tried going north to through the Peel Sound to the Barrow Strait . It got through Peel but hit a solid wall of ice preventing entry to the Barrow Strait but was able to turn around and find an opening through Bellot.

I think this means both are past the point they'd be blocked from completing the passage this year. I think the Bremen also made it through but it seemed to drop off the tracking map.

http://www.enablingwebsites.com/sv_novara_track.html

Row Bear

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2014, 04:49:29 PM »
And it looks like  Arctic Tern, Congratulations all.

Neven

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #19 on: September 01, 2014, 10:05:50 AM »
I'm not following this properly, but can you guys tell me whether these vessels have already made it through the entire NWP? Or have they now passed the tough parts, but still need to make it to the other side?
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #20 on: September 01, 2014, 10:41:25 AM »
I'm not following this properly, but can you guys tell me whether these vessels have already made it through the entire NWP?

Some vessels have turned back. Others have now made it through the obvious "choke point" at the Bellot Strait on the southern route. As far as I can tell none of them have yet crossed the Arctic Circle to officially complete the full NW Passage. Le Manguier seems to have reached Pond Inlet heading east.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2014, 03:21:23 PM by Jim Hunt »
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NeilT

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #21 on: September 01, 2014, 02:21:20 PM »
Lady Dana 44 is the furthest I believe. She came through the Bering and is now heading into the Prince Leopold Sound.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #22 on: September 01, 2014, 03:34:35 PM »
AMSR2 suggests the southern route via Gjoa Haven is passable currently, and that is indeed the path taken by Lady Dana and Le Manguier:
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iceman

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #23 on: September 01, 2014, 11:44:02 PM »
AMSR2 suggests the southern route via Gjoa Haven is passable currently, and that is indeed the path taken by Lady Dana and Le Manguier:
Congratulations to those intrepid sailors.  It should get easier over the next few days of mostly warm temperatures and southerly winds.

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2014, 06:44:26 PM »
The northern route (Prince of Wales Strait variation) will be tantalizingly close to open tomorrow.  But the northerly winds that are pushing the ice clear are also bringing frigid temperatures, so looks like refreeze will gain the upper hand soon.

Polynya88

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2014, 10:48:59 PM »
The northern route (Prince of Wales Strait variation) will be tantalizingly close to open tomorrow.  But the northerly winds that are pushing the ice clear are also bringing frigid temperatures, so looks like refreeze will gain the upper hand soon.


Based on the last ice chart from CIS (Canadian Ice Service) (http://iceweb1.cis.ec.gc.ca/Prod20/page3.xhtml)  there remains about 180 miles of 9/10 ice on the northern route, and the southern route is unlikely to get any better (http://www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674heavy_pack_ice_in_nw_passage_ice_creates_tough_conditions_this_year/).  This was not the year for buying your NWP ticket!

cats

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2014, 10:39:08 PM »
Both the S/V Novara and the S/V Arctic Tern have made it to the vicinity of Barrow (http://www.enablingwebsites.com/sv_novara_track.html ) after going through the Northwest Passage from East to West.

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #27 on: September 25, 2014, 11:35:15 PM »
The northern route (Prince of Wales Strait variation) will be tantalizingly close to open tomorrow.  But the northerly winds that are pushing the ice clear are also bringing frigid temperatures, so looks like refreeze will gain the upper hand soon.


So much so that the M/V Nunavic is on its way to the Prince of Wales St right now.

http://www.fednav.com/en/voyage-nunavik

Phil.

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #28 on: September 29, 2014, 04:26:55 AM »
The northern route (Prince of Wales Strait variation) will be tantalizingly close to open tomorrow.  But the northerly winds that are pushing the ice clear are also bringing frigid temperatures, so looks like refreeze will gain the upper hand soon.


So much so that the M/V Nunavic is on its way to the Prince of Wales St right now.

http://www.fednav.com/en/voyage-nunavik


Successfully traversed the NW Passage in 9 days without much problem, en route to China now.

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #29 on: March 01, 2015, 06:48:00 PM »
Looking at woksat there appears to be only a remnant of old ice being flushed down Baffin and lively currents flushing fresh ice out of NWP generally. An early opening looks likely, bar surprises.


Lord M Vader

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #30 on: May 24, 2015, 07:30:05 PM »
Time to restart this thread now as the melt season emerges..

My first idea is if anyone of you know what the narrow passage through Brands and Gibson Islands in the Canadian Arctic should be called? If my memory isn't completely failing this passage was open temporarily in 2014 but as we were discussing here at the forum the NW Passage was closed last year. If this narrow passage was ice free then the NWP actually was open last year... The "normal" route we use to think of is the Amundsen Route which was more or less closed last year..

Anyone who can find an analysis map for late Aug 2014 or Sep 14? Would be interesting to see whether the passage was closed or not...

//LMV

Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #31 on: May 24, 2015, 07:40:48 PM »
My first idea is if anyone of you know what the narrow passage through Brands and Gibson Islands in the Canadian Arctic should be called?

Do you mean Bellot Strait?
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Peter Ellis

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #32 on: May 24, 2015, 07:46:57 PM »
Not sure what you mean.  Gibson island is on the west of the Boothia peninsula, Brands island is on the East of it.  There is no passage "through" either island.  Are you referring to the channel between Somerset island and the mainland?   That has Brands island at one end, and Gibson island is vaguely near the other end.

If so, then this is called the Bellot Strait.

I can recommend the "Routes" section here, and all the links off it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage

Peter Ellis

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #33 on: May 24, 2015, 07:51:34 PM »
Here's a report from a ship that just made it through last year.  Not really "open" by any stretch of the imagination.
http://empiricusembarks.com/2014/11/29/big-bad-bellot-straight-part-2-what-we-learned/

Sonia

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #34 on: May 24, 2015, 07:55:53 PM »
... the narrow passage through Brands and Gibson Islands ...

That's the Bellot Strait.  Scroll back through the topic and there are a number of posts referring to it and to ship traffic through it.

Lord M Vader

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #35 on: May 24, 2015, 07:58:23 PM »
Yes, it is Bellot Strait... Thx guys! :)

Interestingly, the wikipedia article doesn't mention Bellot Strait as one possible way through the NWP(!) And I don't find anything in the article about someone who have navigated through Bellot Strait..

If no one has, we should hire a ship and become the first ones ever who have navigated through NWP via Bellot Strait :P ;D Of course, we need a some $$$...

//LMV

Peter Ellis

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #36 on: May 24, 2015, 08:00:25 PM »
Interestingly, the wikipedia article doesn't mention Bellot Strait as one possible way through the NWP(!)

Yes it does.

South: From Lancaster Sound west past Prince Regent Inlet (basically a cul-de-sac but it may be possible to exit west through the Bellot Strait)


Edit:  More detail available if you click through the link to the Bellot Strait article itself.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellot_Strait

Lord M Vader

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #37 on: May 24, 2015, 08:04:25 PM »
Aaaah, now I saw it! Thx Peter Ellis! :) And all of you other guys! :)

Now, let's see if any one here knows whether Bellot Strait was ice free or not last year :)

//LMV


Peter Ellis

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #38 on: May 24, 2015, 08:05:18 PM »
Here's a report from a ship that just made it through last year.  Not really "open" by any stretch of the imagination.
http://empiricusembarks.com/2014/11/29/big-bad-bellot-straight-part-2-what-we-learned/

Espen

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #39 on: May 24, 2015, 08:14:26 PM »
Here is one who did did it in 2014:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yTdx4pmcGE
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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2015, 01:54:04 AM »
How does one define open? Open to a ship with ice breaking capability is far different then open to a kayak. Also is it open when there is a large enough leed to get your ship through yet still can get closed off if the wind blows in the right direction?
Granted that is what makes the Arctic so interesting in that no 2 days are ever the same.
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Polynya88

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2015, 02:14:30 AM »
You got that right. The Arctic resists all attempts to forecast it!

As far as the NWP goes, the chunk of CIS ice chart below shows how there is a big area of 9/10 Old ice to the west of the passage that is poised to drift into Victoria Strait as soon as melt gets going. This brings it right into the area where ships cannot avoid it as the shipping channel is narrow, and not surprisingly is where Sir John Franklin bought the farm when he went down that way... The northern route is completely blocked by Old Ice so this will be the only option.

The NWP will, as always, be open to icebreakers, and ice-breaking cruise ships (ex-Russian) but after that, 2015 is likely to be a challenge for low ice class vessels to say the least...

Neven

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #42 on: June 07, 2015, 12:27:22 PM »
The ice in M'Clure Strait is breaking up (started a few days ago, but I've only noticed it now):



The east end of the main NWP channel is already free of ice for a long way, and the forecast is for heat moving into the CAA. I wonder if the NWP will open up this year.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 12:39:56 PM by Neven »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2015, 01:13:39 PM »
I wonder if the NWP will open up this year.

The Canadian Ice Service have just restarted their coverage of the Amundsen Gulf, although not yet McClure Strait!

Does the southern route count? If so at the very least a trip via Gjoa Havn at some stage seems ultimately feasible.
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Neven

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2015, 02:02:47 PM »
Does the southern route count?

For me the NWP is truly open when the main route is open. From Lancaster Sound straight to M'Clure Strait. But that's me.
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #45 on: June 07, 2015, 02:38:54 PM »
Here's the current state of play for all the options according to Hamburg Uni AMSR2:
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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #46 on: June 07, 2015, 02:52:56 PM »
And here's a slightly out of date (June 1st) RadarSat mosaic of the main drag, which seems remarkably free of old, thick ice:
« Last Edit: June 07, 2015, 04:03:10 PM by Jim Hunt »
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Jim Hunt

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #47 on: June 07, 2015, 03:09:26 PM »
Which would seem to be explained by this AMSR2 image from last September. Perhaps there should be a poll Neven?!
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ghoti

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #48 on: June 07, 2015, 03:28:36 PM »
For me the NWP is open whenever commercial shipping traffic has no trouble transiting like we saw last year. I'd call the route Neven is referring to the Northwest Sea Highway rather than passage :P

iceman

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Re: Northwest Passage thread
« Reply #49 on: June 27, 2015, 04:47:35 PM »
Conditions in the coming week appear to favor early opening of the NWP (Prince of Wales Strait variation) - even if Wipneus is correct that the ASI AMSR2 algorithm currently underestimates ice concentration in the Canadian Archipelago.