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Arctic Regional Synopsis

Regional charts and associated synopsis write-up capture ice and environmental conditions throughout the Arctic which are based on the U.S. National Ice Center’s weekly analysis. Charts and synopses are updated weekly on Fridays. Note: Baltic Sea analysis is provided by the Finnish Meteorological Institute. The Canadian Archipelago (Canada East, Canada North, Canada West, and Hudson Bay) analysis is provided by the Canadian Ice Service.

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Baltic Sea

The ice drifts further southward in the Bay of Bothnia.In the northern Bay of Bothnia, 30-50 cm thick fast ice to Hebe and Kattilankalla. Farther out 20-40 cm thick consolidated ice to Kemi 3 and Oulu 4. Farther out, 10-40 cm thick, in places ridged, close ice approximately to the line Kemi 1 - Nahkiainen. Off Raahe, 10-40 cm thick fast ice to Johan. At Raahe lighthouse a brash ice barrier has formed. In the southern Bay of Bothnia, 10-35 cm thick fast ice in the archipelago. A brash ice barrier has formed at the fast ice edge. In the Quark, thin open ice. In the Vaasa archipelago, 10-35 cm thick fast ice to Ensten. Further to Norra Gloppsten, 5-20 cm thick very close ice. In the Sea of Bothnia, 5-25 cm thick ice in the inner archipelago. At the ice edge, in places thin very close ice and brash ice barriers. In the Archipelago Sea, thin ice in the inner archipelago. Along the larger fairways mainly open water. In the outer archipelago open water. In the western Gulf of Finland, 10-30 cm thick ice in the inner archipelago. In the eastern Gulf of Finland, 10-35 cm thick fast ice in the archipelago. Farther out 5-20 cm thick very open ice to the line Tainio - Haapasaari. In the Bay of Vyborg 20-35 cm thick fast ice.

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Barents Sea

Ice continues to grow and thicken in the Barents Sea. In the southern portion of the sea, the ice compressed towards the coast, up to 60 NM in some areas. The ice moved northward along Novaya Zemlya and to the east of Franz Josef Land. Due to the drift, an area of lower concentration has formed to the north of Franz Josef Land. West of Franz Josef Land, and south of Svalbard, the ice moved south and west. The predominant ice type in the Barents Sea is first year ice.

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Bering Sea

Sea ice extent continues to reach out far into the Bering Sea, about a month ahead of schedule looking at climatology. With persistent northeasterly winds bringing in cold air, the ice continued to thicken while extending about 45NM farther southwest than last week. These strong winds have also been generating polynyas off the southern side of St. Lawrence Island and the northern Russian coast, but quickly refreezing to young ice as temperatures hover in the negative teens to negative twenty degrees Celsius.

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Canada East

Frobisher Bay contains mostly young ice and grey-white ice. Davis Strait consist of predominantly first year-ice. Davis Strait contains mostly bergy water east of 57W. A trace of old ice extends down to approximately 65.5N. Labrador Coast remains predominantly young ice with some grey-white ice now present.

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Canada North

The Arctic Ocean consists mostly of mobile old ice. Nares Strait contains a mixture of old ice and first-year ice. Jones Sound is predominantly first-year ice with a trace of old ice and young ice forming. Baffin Bay contains a mix of first-year and young ice with the exception of the northwest section where old ice can be found in the pack ice. Along Baffin Island the ice contains predominantly first-year ice with a trace of old ice and extends southward past Cape Dyer to near 65N. Davis Strait contains mostly bergy water east of 57W. Cumberland Sound is a mixture of young ice and first-year ice.

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Canada West

The archipelago was composed mostly of old ice and mixed with some medium first-year ice. Some thick first-year ice started to appear along the southern Ellesmere Island coast. Parts of the Parry Channel (eastern M’Clure Strait and western Viscount Melville Sound) has fastened with mostly old and medium first-year ice. Otherwise, most of the area had mobile old ice with some medium first-year ice except fast ice along the coast. M’Clintock Channel continued to be mobile with old and medium first-year ice while Peel Sound was fast with medium first-year with a trace of old ice in the northwestern section. Larsen Sound and Victoria Strait contained mobile medium first-year ice. The ice throughout Coronation Gulf and Queen Maud Gulf was fast with medium first-year ice. Ice in the Amundsen Gulf was predominantly medium first-year ice with a trace of old ice in the central section. The Beaufort Sea was predominantly old ice, which was mixed with medium first-year ice. Medium first-year ice was still predominant along the coast. The ice within Ellesmere, Axel Heiberg, Parry, Sverdrup, and Queen Elizabeth Islands is fast with medium first-year ice and some old ice. Lancaster Sound is predominantly medium first-year ice and some old ice. Prince Regent Inlet and the Gulf of Boothia contain mostly medium first-year ice with trace amounts of old ice.

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Chukchi Sea

Very little sea ice movement was observed this week, with only a slight southerly drift of sea ice towards the Bering Strait. Multiyear ice continues to flow into the Chukchi from the east due to the Beaufort Gyre. Ice continues to thicken with temperatures averaging around -30°C, and any openings that form in the sea ice quickly refreeze to young ice in a matter of hours.

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Cook Inlet

A wind shift from westerly to easterly in Cook Inlet brought a lot of the ice southward. That combined with slightly warmer temperatures, though still below freezing, melted out the thin, first-year ice, leaving less ice around this week from the cold snap seen earlier this month.

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East Siberian Sea

The ice has drifted northeast nearly 20NM over the past week and polynyas have formed along the fast ice, which has quickly frozen over with new and young ice. Air temperatures over the East Siberian Sea have ranged from -18°C to -30°C.

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Greenland Sea

The northern portion of Greenland Sea saw average temperatures of -22°C to -24°C along the coast and -12°C to -14°C along the ice edge. With strong polar air coupling with winds and currents, mobile ice moved south and east. In the central portions of Greenland Sea, the cold northerly flow pattern allowed some fast ice to extend farther off the coast, with ice growth continuing throughout the rest of the Greenland Sea.

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High Arctic

No synopsis write-up for the High Arctic as it remains consistent throughout this part of the year. A synopsis write-up will begin during summer months as ice retreats and becomes more dynamic in the region.

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Hudson Bay

The Hudson Bay ice pack consists of predominantly first-year, with some grey-white ice still present along the eastern shoreline. Young ice continues to form along the northwest coastline as the pack moves offshore to the southeast. James Bay is predominantly thin first-year ice with some young ice and grey-white ice present. Foxe Basin is a mix of medium first-year, first-year and young ice. First-year ice is predominant in Foxe Basin. A thin strip of first-year ice containing a trace of old ice is extending southwards between Southampton Island and Baffin Island. Hudson Strait contains a mixture of grey-white ice and first-year ice. First-year ice is predominant along the southern Quebec shoreline and young and grey-white ice is predominant along the northern Baffin Island shoreline. Ungava Bay contains a mixture of grey-white and first-year ice. Fury and Hecla Strait is fasted. There is a trace of old ice along the western shore south of Hall Beach.

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Kara Sea

Over the past week, sea ice in the Kara Sea moved north up to 50 NM in some locations. Along the coast and around fast ice, new polynyas have opened and quickly frozen over with new and young ice. Air temperatures over the Kara Sea have ranged from -12°C to -18°C.

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Laptev Sea

Sea ice south of the October Revolution Islands has fasted over during the past week. The sea ice has drifted north as much as 45 NM and has opened new polynyas along the coast and along the fast ice, which has quickly frozen over with new and young ice. Air temperatures over the Laptev Sea have ranged from -12°C to -30°C.

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Sea of Japan

There was quite a bit of ice loss that occurred all over the region, due to some strong storm systems, with an average loss at the ice edge of almost 20nm. The storms melted and shifted ice around causing the first year ice to be compacted in a small area near Sakhalin Island.

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Sea of Okhotsk

Temperatures ranging from as low as -18°C to -10°C this week in the Sea of Okhotsk allowed for rapid growth of new and young ice along some coastal areas and the development of new areas of fast ice.

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White Sea

Ice in the southernmost portion of the White Sea has compressed back toward the coast and melted out. This has created a larger area of lower concentration in the basin. Elsewhere the thicker ice has moved away from the coast leaving areas of thinner ice behind it. As the ice shifted around, new ice formed in the already primed waters. Thicker ice is beginning to flow out of the mouth of the White Sea and into the Barents Sea.

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Yellow Sea

Air temperatures in the Yellow Sea remained well below freezing with temperatures being -12°C through -14°C near the coast. Many areas along the coast have fasted and grew in thickness this past week. The areas at the ice edge have shifted back and forth due to tidal action. Winds were light overall with coastal flow coming off the land onto the Yellow Sea.

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