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13 May 2022

Alaska’s big river breaks up at Eagle

While most of the town was sleeping, the ice slipped out. Breakup happened on the Yukon River here at its first settlement in the United States at around 2 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2022. That’s when meltwater rushing from side creeks into the colossal groove of the Yukon lifted a winter-hardened sheet in front of the town.

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12 May 2022

Awaiting river breakup on the Yukon

Andy Bassich lives on the south bank of the Yukon River, about 12 miles downstream from Eagle, Alaska, the first community in America along the largest waterway in Alaska. Like all of the few-thousand people who live along the big river in Alaska, Bassich hopes that river ice formed by the cold air of winter will continue to disappear in a mushy fashion, one that does not cause flooding.

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22 April 2022

His 48th summer on top of the world

This June, George Divoky will refurbish a cabin that sits on a lonely gravel island north of Alaska. He was not planning a remodel this year. Sometime during the winter, a polar bear tore through a plywood wall of the cabin Divoky moved 20 years ago to Cooper Island.

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31 January 2022

Thirty years on semi-solid ground

At the end of this month, Vladimir Romanovsky will retire after 30 years as a professor and permafrost scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute. This comes at a time when people — finally — no longer squint at him with a puzzled look when he mentions what he studies.

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1 March 2021

Malaspina Glacier gets up and goes

Massive icefields near the Canada/Alaska border feed Malaspina ice through a slot in the mountains. Freed of mountain walls, Malaspina’s ice oozes over the coastal plain like batter on a hot griddle. Near the Gulf of Alaska about 30 miles northwest of Yakutat, the glacier is — on clear days — visible from a window seat on an Alaska Airlines flight from Southeast Alaska to Anchorage. But the dirty-white blob on the cheek of Alaska is not as large as it used to be, which is why glaciologist Martin Truffer and his colleagues are studying it.

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19 February 2021

‘Ghost forest’ got run over by a glacier

A “ghost forest” exposed as La Perouse Glacier in Southeast Alaska retreated. In the past, the glacier ran over the rainforest trees. Two people are also in the photo. Photo by Ben Gaglioti.

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17 November 2020

Some good news from the thin ice

A group of researchers have found that the ocean floor around Bering Strait still seems to be capturing billions of bits of carbon that might otherwise lead to an even warmer planet.

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19 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 60 — Last Ice

We are now in open water and have left the ice behind. In the last hours we cruised through the last remnants of ice. Little chunks floating alone, their hours numbered out here in the water that is now creeping slightly above the melting point.

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18 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 59

There are many reasons to go out and recover the various assets that we’ve placed out on the ice.  And so this is now our mission with Tryoshnikov; to finish what we’ve started in the past days with Polarstern.

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17 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 58

Sometimes goodbyes are hard. Like this morning. Two ships together, then the lines are reeled in. Subtle movements and a slow parting. The railings of both vessels crowded with people, initially just a few feet apart. Waving. Photos. Crying.

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16 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 57

As with last time, it again felt like an invasion. Today, after the ships were stable alongside each other, we started having some exchange of people. An invasion of new, strange faces…. of different energy. This leg of MOSAiC is really coming to an end now.

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15 September 2020

Postcards from a formerly frozen icebreaker: Part 56

Already starting to miss this place and we are not gone yet! And standing here on the working deck, feeling a bit sentimental, looking out from the side of the ship: A mixture of open water and small chunks of ice floating around as we all sit here embedded in the diminishing ice pack. It is misty and foggy.

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17 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 55

Our days lately have been strange. Searching around the ice in dense fog. It’s so hard to see anything, and especially some of these small buoys we’ve been hunting. But today was a beautiful day. Bluebird conditions again. And it started out with a great bear.

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16 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 54

With the rapid decline of the MOSAiC floe in its last days, I became increasingly concerned about the stability of the L2 site and our flux sled there. A few weeks ago it was 7 nautical miles away, then over a couple days this ballooned up to 45 nautical miles.

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15 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 53

…things were quite different today. Basically no floe left. Instead just a collection of small pieces of ice. Fractured remnants of our home for the past 6.5 weeks. Little memories of Met City, the Transect, the Fortress, and all of the rest. Now all gone. What impeccable timing!

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14 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 52

The decision to pull things back on board was a good one, as the floe is becoming increasingly unstable. I felt the movement myself as I jumped from one chunk to the next. We can no longer operate or realistically move equipment on the ice any more.

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13 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 51

Wow? The end of an era. This highly successful relationship we’ve had with the MOSAiC ice floe is now starting to come to an end. It feels strange to me. I’ve actually been in a pretty bad mood because of it. Done too soon.

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12 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 50

Captain Wunderlich asked if he could join me on the ice today… perhaps to get some fresh air. So he joined Jackson Osborn and me on our daily walk-about around to our different stations. I decided to show him some of the other great areas on our floe as well. For me, the central part of the Fortress, now the desert scene, is the greatest place to go.

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11 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 49

On the far side of the floe is a chunk of old ice, riddled with stones everywhere. I have no idea how there could be so many embedded in the ice. Then the transect loops back around to the First Year Ice side, where the ice is generally thinner and the coastline has eroded significantly over time leading to an ever-evolving interface with the open water. On that side there are some fantastic drainage channels…. Basically rivers that drain a complex network of ponds further inland.

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10 August 2020

Postcards from a (formerly) frozen icebreaker: Part 48

Strange ice crystal formations everywhere, glistening in the sun. Standing there and looking out across the surface I felt like I was in the slickrock of the Utah desert. They have similarly eroded and curved surfaces, with layers and sculptured forms that only nature can create.

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