Sea Ice in Denmark Strait – Drifted More Than 1,000 Km (600 Miles) From the Arctic Ocean

July 2, 2020. (Click HERE for full detailed view.)

Arctic sea ice is subject to some serious travel restrictions. Penned in by major land masses, most ice that forms in the Arctic Ocean stays there for the duration of its existence—typically one to four years before melting. Some ice, however, escapes the Arctic Ocean through a handful of passages and then drifts south.

That’s the origin of the sea ice pictured here. When satellites acquired these images in July 2020, the ice had drifted more than 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) from the Arctic Ocean. The wide view above, acquired on July 2 with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite, shows sea ice hugging the coast of East Greenland. The detailed image below, acquired July 3 with the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8, shows ice south of the Scoresby Sound (Kangertittivaq) fjord system along the Denmark Strait.

“The pack-ice you see in the image is remnant ice that exited the Arctic through Fram Strait,” wrote Robert Pickart, a high-latitude oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. “It is in the process of melting out as it is carried southward by the East Greenland Current.”

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