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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 seasonal changes have promoted the formation of new and young ice in the northern coastal regions.

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Barents Sea

Significant northerly winds generated strong drift which pushed sea ice south by almost 40 NM over the past week. This drift shifted a lot of the thicker sea ice from the Kara Sea into the Barents Sea. New ice also continued to develop along the ice edge and off of Svalbard.

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Bering Sea

Ice growth continued along the coastline, especially in the eastern Bering Sea. New ice started to form along most of the St. Lawrence Island coast. Temperatures were warmer along much of the Kamchatka peninsula, limiting ice growth.

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Canada East

Davis Strait contains new and grey ice in the northern portion, flowing southwards. Davis Strait remains mainly bergy water with some new ice forming along the coast of Baffin Island and in Cumberland Sound. Labrador Coast remains bergy water.

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Canada North

Multi-year ice is predominant in the Arctic Ocean. Nansen Sound is completely fasted with mostly thin first-year ice. Norwegian Bay is now mainly thin first-year ice with some multi-year and second-year ice present. The northern section is now fast. Nares Strait is predominantly multi-year ice and thin first-year ice. This ice continues to flow south into northwestern Baffin Bay. Jones Sound is a mix of young and thin first-year ice with some multi-year ice. Most of Admiralty Inlet, Navy Board and Pond Inlet is now fast with a mix of young and thin first-year ice with traces of multi-year ice. Northern Baffin Bay is now a mix of young and thin first-year ice with some multi-year ice coming from Nares Strait and Lancaster Sound. The trace of multi-year ice is as far south as 71°N along the Baffin Island coast. New and young ice continues to form along the western shore of Greenland and in southern Baffin Bay.

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Canada West

The Canadian Arctic Archipelago (CAA) fast ice has expanded within Prince Patrick, Melville, Mackenzie King and Borden islands and has also filled in within Ellef Ringnes, Amund Ringnus, Cornwall and Graham islands and extending across to the Grinnell Peninsula (Devon Island). Fast ice also surrounds Bathurst Island and connects it to northwest Cornwallis Island. The CAA contains predominantly multi-year ice, with smaller amounts of second-year ice. The Beaufort Sea remains predominantly multi-year ice. The multi-year ice is mixed with second-year and thin first-year sea ice in the western Beaufort and just northwest of Banks Island. Young ice continues to thicken between the pack ice and the north coast of the Northwest Territories. Along the coast of Alaska, young ice and lesser amounts of thin first-year ice are present. Parry and M’Clintock Channels are predominantly multi-year, with some second-year ice and large areas of thin first-year ice. Thin first-year ice has expanded throughout M’Clintock Channel, Franklin Strait and Peel Sound. Young ice has rapidly formed and thickened in the Coronation Gulf, which is now extensively ice-covered. In addition, the young ice that extends across the Queen Maud Gulf continues to thicken. Young ice has filled in the northern region of Amundsen Gulf, while the existing young ice to the south has thickened. The ice around Cornwallis Island is mainly thin first-year ice along with some multi-year and second-year ice. Barrow Strait is now mainly thin first-year ice with some second-year and multi-year ice. Lancaster Sound now has a mix of young ice and thin first-year ice with some multi-year ice. Gulf of Boothia is covered in young and thin first-year ice with some second-year and multi-year ice. Committee Bay remains as a mix of young ice and second-year ice. This second-year ice is also in Fury and Helca Strait and traces of it can be found in northwestern Foxe Basin.

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Chukchi Sea

Continued cold temperatures have led to rapid freeze-up of the remaining ice-free areas in the region. Significant new ice formation was observed along parts of the Alaskan coast as offshore winds blew thicker ice offshore, exposing the water to temperatures below -10°C.

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Cook Inlet

Temperatures remained below -10° C across most of the inlet this week leading to considerable growth, especially in the northernmost portion where the ice edge extended approximately 20 NM further than last week.

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East Siberian Sea

Light and variable winds have created a pattern of slow and meandering ice motion. Low amounts of motion and temperatures below -20°C have supported growth, including the expansion of fast ice especially around islands.

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Greenland Sea

Rapid freeze-up continued in the Greenland Sea with strong winds and currents from the north pushing cold polar air further into the southern regions. In the northern portions some ice newly fasted, and significant amounts of new and young ice developed along the ice edge. The pack ice has drifted south, reaching into central portions of Greenland Sea. In the southern portions, extensive freeze-up occurred in the shallow bays.

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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

Hudson Bay consists of open water with increasing amounts of new ice forming along the shorelines. Young ice continues to form around Southampton Island and surrounding islands. Young ice continues to thicken along the eastern coast of Foxe Basin with some grey white ice now present, while the southcentral section of the basin continues to have open water. James Bay has transient new ice forming along all shores, with open water conditions existing in the bay’s interior. New ice has started to form along the northern shores of Hudson Strait, with new ice continuing to form in Ungava Bay.

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Kara Sea

Southerly winds off Siberia delivered cold air around -10°C over the open water regions of the sea and -25°C over the ice pack. This cold has supported the formation and growth of new and young ice. Ice edge expansion has occurred due to both in-situ new ice formation and wind expansion of the ice.

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Laptev Sea

Southerly winds off Siberia have advected frigid temperatures over the ice as low as -30°C in some places. This has supported growth, including the expansion of large areas of fast ice especially around islands.

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Sea of Japan

Sea ice has nearly covered the entire Tartar Strait as freezing temperatures have maintained their grasp over the region. Formation of new ice remained limited to the extreme coastal areas in the northern portion of the region.

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Sea of Okhotsk

Freezing temperatures in the northeastern portion of the region remained in the vicinity of the coast. Sea ice remained limited to some coastal areas and bays, but has extended further from shore in the northeast.

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White Sea

New and young ice continued to expand in sheltered bays and inlets and in areas of fresh water river runoff. Traces of ice were observed flowing out of Mezen Bay.

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Yellow Sea

Sea ice free.

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