Minimize Amundsen Gulf, Antarctica

The summer of 2014 began with relatively cool temperatures in the Arctic, and the storms and winds that can break up ice were mostly absent, according to NASA ice scientist Walt Meier. But the long-term thinning of sea ice has made it more susceptible to melting, so the 2014 melt season concluded with the sixth-lowest ice extent of the modern satellite era.

Even in years with similar ice extents, the line traced around the edge of the sea ice can take on different shapes. Factors like winds and even the topography of the sea floor can affect the location and extent of Arctic ice.

The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on Landsat 8 acquired this image of an interesting sea ice edge on 21 June 2014, the first day of summer. The scene shows a part of the Amundsen Gulf, between Canada's Victoria Island and the mainland, that opens to the Beaufort Sea to the west. The gulf forms the westernmost section of the Northwest Passage, which opened during the low-ice year of 2007, but remained ice-bound in 2014.

View the full resolution image.

Credit: NASA Earth Observatory / United States Geological Survey (USGS)

Amundsen Gulf, Antarctica

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