The ice arc of the Nares Strait

#Arctic, #Snow & Ice, #Copernicus, #Image in the news, #Climate change

Published on 12 January 2021

This image, acquired by one of the Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites, shows the ice arc formed on 15 June 2020 in the Nares Strait, which separates Greenland and Ellesmere Island (Canada).

Credit: European Union , Copernicus Sentinel-2 imagery

The ice arches are ice structures which geometry prevent sea ice from exiting the Arctic Ocean and drifting south. Typically ice arches break in early July and then reform in winter.

According to a study published in the Nature Communication scientific journal, the ice arches have become thinner and every year they break a week earlier than the previous year. In particular, the ice arches are becoming more unstable and this could destabilise the northernmost area called the Last Ice Area, an important refuge for ice-dependent species, from polar bears to icy algae that provide oxygen and nutrients to the ecosystem.

The data provided by the Copernicus missions retrieve important information on Arctic ice. For example, data provided by the Copernicus Sentinel satellites are the basis of the study quoted herein.

Source: Copernicus image of the day