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From: Dan Richter (1:317/3)
To: All
Date: Sat, 29.05.21 13:00
MODIS Pic of the Day 29 May 2021
May 29, 2021 - Ice in Kotzebue Sound


Ice in Kotzebue Sound

On May 26, 2021, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer
(MODIS) on board NASA’s Terra satellite acquired a true-color image of
spring melt affecting the ice-filled waters between western Alaska,
United States and Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, eastern Russia.

Bits of ice float freely in the mostly-open waters of the Bering Strait
while fast ice clings to the Russian shoreline. Kotzebue Sound,
situated between Seward Peninsula (south) and mainland Alaska (north)
remains mostly ice-covered although a wide fracture indicating the
start of melt appears near the town of Kotzebue.

The melt date Kotzebue Sound is particularly important to the native
people who rely on an persistent and reliable ice for ice fishing and
seal hunting, which are vital for subsistence and their indigenous way
of life. Elders in the town recall traditional ice melt dates much
later than recent years, and ice as much as five feet thick not too
many years ago. Early ice melts in recent years have severely limited
fishing and hunting. In 2020 there were only five safe hunt dates in
the spring. The thickness of winter ice, which may be as low as one
foot in recent years, also shortens the season for ice fishing.

The retention of ice in Kotzebue Sound may bring a more favorable
spring to the indigenous citizens of the region this spring. The Sea
Ice Outlook for Western and Arctic Alaskan Coastal Waters published on
May 27 by the National Weather Service, Anchorage, Alaska, states,
“From the Bering Strait northward in to the Chukchi Sea, expect a more
normal breakup, possible even a little delayed from the quicker
breakups of the past few years.” The forecast for the Kotzebue Sound
reads, “Sea ice within Kotzebue Sound may no longer be shorefast during
the second week of June. Less than 3 tenths coverage is expected during
the 4th week of June. Ice-free conditions are likely in the first week
of July”.

Image Facts
Satellite: Terra
Date Acquired: 5/26/2021
Resolutions: 1km (431.9 KB), 500m (3.9 MB), 250m (2.3 MB)
Bands Used: 1,4,3
Image Credit: MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA GSFC

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