Summer returns for Fall Fair – Imagine sailing to the North Pole in a speed boat

The fog is burning off as I type.

This will herald yet another change in the weather and the start of yet another long stretch of warm and dry weather.  There is no possibility of showers in the forecast right now until Monday.

It should be excellent weather for the Alberni Fall Fair.  Make sure you bring lots of water!  Temperatures on Thursday, Friday and Saturday are likely to approach or exceed 30º C!

So…. you’re out trolling for salmon, in your little speed boat, 500km from the North Pole…..

Consider the implications of the statement above for a moment.  My great grandfather’s generation, were dying in droves as they explored and got stuck in the thick ice and snow and terrible weather in the Canadian and Siberian Arctic.

Today, even though the ice has rebounded slightly from its historic low in 2012, a huge weakness in the ice pack now know as “the Laptev Bite” reaches so far north that you could literally drive a boat from the coast of northern Russia to within just 500km of the top of the world.  That is as close as from Victoria to Port Hardy.

Timelapse 2014 ice

This is in addition to the equally incredible fact that the NorthEast Passage has opened free and clear again this year.  This never happened in recorded history before 2007, but the “Bite” is perhaps even more impressive just for its symbolic value of heralding ice-free waters at the North Pole.

Aside from the general decline in the Arctic over the past few decades, I haven’t seen any reports of late explaining the “Bite” feature.  It could be from warm winds off the Russian coast, warm waters upwelling under the ice, circulation of the ice, undersea geography or many other things or a combination.  What is for sure though is this is another demonstration of how drastically the Arctic is changing.

Just for comparison, here is what the Arctic ocean looked like at the time of the most recent record low in September 2012.


You can see the Laptev bite there but it’s not quite as prominent looking because of the extreme loss of ice in all areas around the Russian and American sectors of the Arctic.


We won’t be setting a new record low in ice coverage in the Arctic this year, but the trend is obvious.  One wonders though that perhaps the first day of true open water at the North Pole won’t be when the entire ocean melts but rather when the “Bite” extends all the way to the top of the world.

I have a feeling we will find out in the next 5 years or so.

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1 thought on “Summer returns for Fall Fair – Imagine sailing to the North Pole in a speed boat

  1. I have a theory about the “bite” and extreme loss of ice on the Russian side of the arctic. Could the gulf stream and more specific to the more northern latitudes, “the north atlantic drift” be responsible for the ice loss patterns we are seeing. here is a link showing the currents in the Atlantic and the world for that matter.
    It should be noted that the Atlantic has been in its warm phase, meaning a positive AMO (Atlantic Multi-decadal Oscillation) in recent decades.
    It would seem likely that the AMO is going to start to make a shift towards its cold phase over the next 5 years. Could this lead to a colder North Atlantic Drift and possibly an even larger recovery in the Arctic sea Ice in the following Decades?
    I would also be curious to hear your thoughts on the record breaking Antarctic sea ice extents in recent years? When looking at sea ice on a Global level, this has led to positive sea ice anomalies.

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