Yikes! We’re in a race against time!

Recent satellite images suggest that land-fast sea ice breakup in Nares St and in front of Petermann Glacier may happen earlier than we arrive on site to observe the predicted glacier front disintegration.

ICE FORECASTS FOR THE EASTERN AND NORTHERN ARCTIC ISSUED BY THE NORTH AMERICAN ICE SERVICE ON 17 JUNE 2009.

Above normal temperatures were observed over all of the Eastern Arctic during the first half of June. The breakup is already well under way especially along the western shore of Greenland, in northern Baffin Bay and throughout Lancaster Sound, and Nares Strait where current ice conditions are typically seen 4 to 6 weeks later. The ice bridge atop of Lincoln Sea is still holding but pieces of coastal fast ice keep on breaking off and flushing rapidly southward. With mean temperatures already remaining above zero at Alert, the bridge could collapse any time now; all that is needed is a strong wind event. In Penny Strait, polynias have grown in size and the low ice concentrations in Cumberland Sound; there, the breakup pattern is about 2 weeks ahead of normal.

This means we likely won’t arrive in time to cruise into Nares St without ice floes to negotiate. Further, getting equipment installed in time to document predicted Petermann glacier front disintegration is threatened.