An enormous crack that formed in the Arctic ice pack this winter is believed to have been caused in part by a Feb. 8 storm that passed over the North Pole. Canada's Nunatsiaq News reports that an increase in recent years of thin, brittle first-year ice in the Arctic is leading to increased fracturing during winter. The new crack runs from Canada's Ellesmere Island to near Barrow.
Similar cracks were observed in early 2011 and 2008, but “the 2013 fracturing is quite extensive,” [the NSIDC] ice update said.
Although Arctic sea ice is nearing its winter maximum and will soon begin its seasonal decline, ice extent also remains below average, the NSIDC said.
That’s in part due to warmer-than-average winter temperatures.