Saturday, July 12, 2008

More Moving Arctic Ice

Another indication that ice on the Arctic Ocean is moving around more: BBC News reports Russian science station North Pole 35 is being evacuated today after the ice it is based on drifted 2,000 kilometers in ten months and started heading toward the Atlantic. The ice floe shrank from 3 kilometers wide to 300 meters wide and is expected to break up after it reaches warmer waters.

Russian ice scientists usually set up camp on ice that is at least 3 meters thick, but there was none of that to be found last fall. The thinner Arctic ice moves around and breaks more easily than the ice of years past, and this is easy to see in the BBC map of North Pole 35’s trek across the ocean. The station started out 1,500 kilometers from the North Pole, drifted within 600 miles of the pole, then moved southwest toward the Atlantic.

With more ice movement, the ocean melts ice more efficiently, and the colder ice exits the central Arctic to melt along the coastlines and in the Atlantic.