Unusual ice melting, flooding and a cyclone made for an interesting season up north.
Unusual ice melting, flooding and a cyclone made for an interesting season up north.
In the spring and summer of 2012, land and sea ice thinned in some regions within the Arctic Circle and completely disappeared in others. NASA satellites watched as a hurricane-force storm broke up ice near the North Pole, as open water flowed through the Northwest Passage and as a city-sized iceberg dropped into the sea from the edge of Greenland's Petermann Glacier. Sea ice covered less of the Arctic Ocean than at any time since satellite records began in 1979, and nearly the entire surface of Greenland's ice sheet was melting simultaneously for a weekend in July. Some of these events lined up with scientists' ideas about how warmer ocean and air temperatures are changing the Arctic's weather and climate. Other phenomena were familiar and natural, if a bit more extreme. Watch the time-lapse video to see an up-close view of a massive iceberg breaking off from Petermann Glacier.

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Short URL to This Page:
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11104
Animation Number:
11104
Released:
2012-10-18
Completed:
2012-10-02
Animator:
Robert Simmon (Sigma Space Corporation)
Video Editor:
Writer:
Mike Carlowicz (Sigma Space Corporation)
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA Earth Observatory
Closeup of the Ice Island image from Terra-ASTER
Northwest Passage images from Terra-MODIS
Flooding in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland image from NASA EO-1 team
Arctic Cyclone image from Aqua-MODIS


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Time-lapse imagery from July 9 to Sept. 13 shows an ice island calve from Petermann Glacier and pass through Nares Strait.
Time-lapse imagery from July 9 to Sept. 13 shows an ice island calve from Petermann Glacier and pass through Nares Strait.
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For five days in July 2012, melting occured across 97% of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, the largest extent observed in 30 years.
For five days in July 2012, melting occured across 97% of the surface of the Greenland ice sheet, the largest extent observed in 30 years.
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Melt water from Greenland's extraordinary ice sheet thawing swelled the Watson River and wiped out a bridge near Kangerlussuaq.
Melt water from Greenland's extraordinary ice sheet thawing swelled the Watson River and wiped out a bridge near Kangerlussuaq.
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In September 2012, sea ice covered less of the Arctic Ocean than at any other time since the first satellite measurements began in 1979.
In September 2012, sea ice covered less of the Arctic Ocean than at any other time since the first satellite measurements began in 1979.
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The rapid seasonal retreat of ice in the Beaufort Sea was seen along the Alaskan coast from May 13 (left) to June 16 (right).
The rapid seasonal retreat of ice in the Beaufort Sea was seen along the Alaskan coast from May 13 (left) to June 16 (right).
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Parry Channel and much of the famous Northwest Passage went from ice-choked on July 17 (left) to open water on Aug. 3 (right).
Parry Channel and much of the famous Northwest Passage went from ice-choked on July 17 (left) to open water on Aug. 3 (right).
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An unusually strong cyclone over the Arctic Ocean, seen here on Aug. 7, dispersed and cracked sea ice with fierce winds.
An unusually strong cyclone over the Arctic Ocean, seen here on Aug. 7, dispersed and cracked sea ice with fierce winds.
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