This ice crack is whack.

Kids, we all know that crack is bad for your body. And when it comes to sea ice, the same policy applies. Too much crack is whack.

Starting in mid-February a bunch of giant cracks in sea ice, or leads, began forming in the Beaufort Sea. Now a couple of leads are not unusual, but then they started spreading. A lot. You can check out the intense satellite imagery from NOAA below.

Typically, you will see leads of this magnitude in late spring, when sea ice is starting to melt and break up. Seeing this many leads this early in the season is unusual.  It is a little unclear what is happening from these movies, but it may be because a series of strong mid-winter storms may have caused the ice to weaken.  Regardless, this is fascinating stuff and is a great illustration of how the Arctic we see now is not like the Arctic we saw before.

Kim Martini (85 Posts)

Kim is a Physical Oceanographer at the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2010. Her goal in life is to throw expensive s**t in the ocean. When not at sea, she uses observations from moored, satellite and land-based instruments to understand the pathways that wind and tidal energy take from large (internal tides) to small scales (turbulence).