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Preliminary Analysis of Sea Ice Characteristics in Relation to the Lost Franklin Vessels HMS Erebus and HMS Terror


Thomas Zagon
Canadian Ice Service | Service canadien des glaces Meteorological Service of Canada | Service mtorologique du Canada Environment Canada | Environnement Canada 373 Sussex Drive, E-3 | 373 romenade Sussex, E-3 !tta"a #!ntario$ %&' ()3 tom*+agon,ec*gc*ca -ele .one | -l .one /&3-001-233& 4acsimile | -lco ieur /&3-033-5732 6overnment of Canada | 6ouvernement du Canada 7e8site | Site 7e8 """*ec*gc*ca

Introduction In the quest for the Northwest Passage no expedition is probably better known than the 1845 attempt led by Sir ohn !ranklin" In #ay of that year the $essels %#S Erebus and %#S Terror departed &ngland on a dis'o$ery $oyage( both $essels were lost in the )r'ti' initiating a sear'h that 'ontinues to this day" Sea i'e* then and today* is the main impediment to the use of the Northwest Passage as a route between the )tlanti' and Pa'ifi' +'eans a'ross the top of North )meri'a" ,he limited amount of $essel traffi' that mo$es through the -anadian )r'ti' )r'hipelago ea'h year does so only during minimum i'e 'onditions in the summer months" ,he out'ome of the !ranklin expedition of 1845 is not a mystery( histori'al e$iden'e has determined where and when it 'ame to its tragi' end" ,his knowledge has been re'onstru'ted from extensi$e ar'haeologi'al e$iden'e found on and near .ing /illiam Island and from Inuit testimony* both $aluable sour'es of information" %owe$er* these sour'es ha$e not been 'lear as to what transpired with the abandoned $essels" Ne$ertheless* there exists at least one additional relati$ely re'ent sour'e of data that has not been utili0ed to the full extent possible* namely the use of sea i'e analysis based on the satellite image re'ord" ,he -anadian I'e Ser$i'e 1-IS2* a di$ision of &n$ironment -anada3s #eteorologi'al Ser$i'e of -anada* has a mandate to pro$ide the most timely and a''urate information about i'e in -anada4s na$igable waters" ,he satellite imagery 'olle'ted o$er the -anadian )r'ti' by -IS has 'ertainly had an operational benefit* but it has also 'reated a $aluable ar'hi$e that 'an be used to analy0e the histori'al i'e 'onditions o$er any gi$en region" Parks -anada* through its 5nderwater )r'haeology Ser$i'e 15)S2* is 'ollaborating with -IS in order to utili0e the ar'hi$ed i'e information" ) detailed examination of histori'al satellite imagery is being used to support the sear'h effort by 5)S for %#S Erebus and %#S Terror" ,his study attempts to pro$ide a preliminary des'ription of the i'e en$ironment in 6i'toria Strait based on histori'al satellite imagery" ,he results of this study will not be able to lo'ate the ships on their own( the set of possible s'enarios that presents itself is too broad" 7ikewise* histori'al e$iden'e and Inuit testimony also present their own wide set of possible out'omes as to the whereabouts of the $essels" %owe$er* when these three sour'es of information are 'ombined the true $alue of su'h a study in narrowing down the field be'omes apparent" In other words* the interse'tion of the set of possibilities presented by the different sour'es of information be'omes relati$ely small" ,he range of possible out'omes that agrees with the ar'haeologi'al e$iden'e* Inuit testimony and histori'al satellite imagery begins to 'ome into fo'us" ,his study is an attempt to examine the range of i'e 'onditions in the region where the $essels were abandoned in )pril 1848 to 'reate a baseline from whi'h the impre'ise and at times 'ontradi'tory histori'al e$iden'e 'an be examined" ,here are numerous theories about what be'ame of the $essels and it is hoped that this study will be able to as'ertain the probability of different out'omes" Some of the more spe'ulati$e s'enarios 'an be

eliminated outright while other pre$iously unexplored possibilities 'an be opened up for debate" Sea Ice Climatolo y ,he appli'ation of sea i'e 'limatology studies is not new and has been well pro$en in the planning stages of numerous northern mines and de$elopments" /hen sea i'e is present in the a''ess 'orridor to any potential port fa'ility for part or all of the year* su'h studies are instrumental in determining the length of the shipping season* the type of suitable $essels and required port infrastru'ture" No one will in$est in a mine if shipping a''ess is denied in 'ertain years due to se$ere i'e 'onditions" 7ikewise* the 'onstru'tion of i'e8 'lass 'argo $essels is determined by the type of i'e 'onditions they would en'ounter along the a''ess route" !or the most part* su'h 'limatologies are 'ommissioned by resour'e 'ompanies* pro$iding them with detailed information on the performan'e of i'e 'apable tonnage along the a''ess route* 'al'ulating transit time* minimum 9maximum i'e 'onditions and numerous other en$ironmental fa'tors" Su'h studies are indispensible to se'uring in$estment 'apital and are for the most part treated as 'ommer'ial 'onfidential produ'ts" ,here are many known ore bodies in the )r'ti' that remain in the ground be'ause sea i'e renders them e'onomi'ally unfeasible to extra't" In other words* the e'onomi'al feasibility of an operation where sea i'e is a fa'tor is determined to a large extent by the results of these sea i'e 'limatology studies" ,he raw data used to 'reate sea i'e 'limatologies is obtained from the analysis of histori'al airborne and satellite imagery" #ost areas of the globe now benefit from de'ades of $isible and infrared 'o$erage and* more re'ently* spa'e8borne Syntheti' )perture :adar 1S):2" ,he $alue of this imagery be'omes apparent when a new ore body is dis'o$ered" ,he effe'ti$eness of these studies is predi'ated on a simple but important 'on'ept* namely that sea i'e does not beha$e in a random fashion" ,he histori'al image ar'hi$e gi$es us a window into the re'ent past showing the i'e 'onditions spanning the last few de'ades" /hat is truly remarkable is how similar these 'onditions are from year to year" ;es* there is extensi$e inter8annual $ariability* but this $ariability manifests itself within a well defined range of 'onditions" <ates of free0e8up and 'learing 'hange annually depending on air temperatures and wind dire'tion* but they all o''ur within a relati$ely narrow period of time* dates that 'an be extra'ted from the satellite image re'ord" #ore signifi'antly* many i'e features* su'h as shear 0ones* leads* or areas of fast i'e* reo''ur in the same pla'e from year to year" It is the regularity of these patterns that gi$es sea i'e 'limatologies their predi'ti$e $alue" ) ma=or reason why a detailed study of the i'e en$ironment of 6i'toria Strait has not been written is be'ause no 'ommer'ial operation relies on passage through the region for its operations" ,he area around 6i'toria Strait is* in most years* the last part of the Northwest Passage to 'lear* and in some years it does not 'lear at all" It is no a''ident that operations and 'ommunities east of 6i'toria Strait are resupplied from the east 'oast

while operations and 'ommunities to the west of 6i'toria Strait are resupplied from the west" It is also no surprise that this is where %#S Erebus and %#S Terror ran into trouble" Re ion of !esetment of Franklin Vessels ,he satellite image re'ord* extending from the 1>?@s to the present day* is a remarkable window into the beha$iour of sea i'e during the re'ent past" Ai$en that spe'ifi' patterns 'ontinue to repeat themsel$es on an annual basis* there is the strong probability that they ha$e been doing so in the de'ades prior to the start of the histori'al re'ord" ,herefore* it stands to reason that the predi'ti$e $alue of sea i'e 'limatologies 'an also be extended into the past" /hile su'h an appli'ation might ha$e limited $alue to shipping and mining interests* it has great potential for re'onstru'ting the detailed i'e 'onditions around the loss of the !ranklin $essels in the mid 1>th 'entury" Imagery from numerous satellites 'o$ers the -anadian )r'ti'( howe$er the greatest $alue by far is the imagery from the :adarsat81 and 8B satellites" ,he S): instrument onboard :adarsat81 has been 'olle'ting high quality imagery sin'e 1>>5 and :adarsat8B imagery is also a$ailable sin'e B@@8" ,hese two satellites present an in$aluable histori'al re'ord of i'e 'onditions around the world* 6i'toria Strait in'luded" ,he number of :adarsat81 and 8B images sin'e 1>>5 'o$ering the area where the !ranklin $essels were lost numbers well o$er 1*@@@ whi'h is adequate to determine the baseline i'e en$ironment" #ost attention on the 6i'toria Strait region is fo'used during minimum i'e 'onditions when the area does see some limited $essel traffi'" )s expe'ted* most of the S): imagery 'o$ers the months of )ugust and September" %owe$er* the image ar'hi$e also 'ontains mid8winter s'enes when the area is 'onsolidated as well as ample 'o$erage of the 'riti'al break8up and free0e8up periods" Imagery 'o$ering the full seasonal 'y'le is essential to gaining a full pi'ture of the i'e regime and understanding the possible s'enarios of what might ha$e transpired with !ranklin3s ships" Information on !esetment It is known from the 6i'tory Point -airn note that the two $essels had wintered near Cee'hey Island in 184594D and were following orders when they pro'eeded south through Peel Sound and into present day 7arsen Sound" ,he same re'ord also stated that the two $essels be'ame beset at ?@E @5FN9 @>8E BGF/ on September 1B* 184D and were abandoned at D>E G?FN9 @>8E 41F/ on )pril BB* 1848 ha$ing drifted only some B8 nauti'al miles to the southwest position" !igure 1 shows the approximate lo'ation of besetment and abandonment at the top and bottom of the red line respe'ti$ely" ,his is the starting point of the study sin'e after the abandonment it be'omes diffi'ult within the histori'al re'ord to re'onstru't e$ents"

Fi ure "# ,he northern end of red line indi'ates the point of besetment on September 1B* 184D while the southern end of the line marks the point of abandonment on )pril BB* 1848" &$en before looking at any imagery* this limited amount of information 'ontains a wealth of insights into the i'e 'onditions in the area where the $essels were abandoned" !irst* and most importantly* it pla'es the $essels within a pre'ise spatial and temporal s'ale within the i'e regime from whi'h to begin an analysis of drift patterns" Se'ondly* it pro$ides a pre'ise lo'ation for the onset of progress8hindering pressure within the i'e field while also indi'ating that up until that point i'e 'onditions were light enough to the north for the $essels to be able to make progress" Sin'e the $essels made negligible

progress during the summer of 184? the i'e ne$er 'leared or the pressure ne$er eased around the $essels before the free0e8up of the following winter" ,he surrounding i'e had grown for at least two winters indi'ating that the $essels were within a multi8year i'e pa'k when abandoned in 1848" Minimum Ice Conditions +ne way of utili0ing the histori'al imagery is to try to identify the i'e 'onditions that led to the two $essels being beset in the first pla'e" /hen Erebus and Terror were making their way south through Peel Sound during the summer of 184D they were doing so during minimum i'e 'onditions that o''ur in )ugust and September of ea'h year" Cy finding an analogous 'ondition it is possible to as'ertain why they be'ame beset" It is known that in some years 6i'toria Strait 'lears of i'e for a short period while in other years it does not" If the !ranklin expedition had attempted their $oyage in the years examined in the :adarsat imagery they would ha$e made it into Hueen #aud Aulf* and therefore through the Northwest Passage* in all years sa$e for three" In 1>>8* 1>>>* B@@@* B@@1* B@@B* B@@G* B@@D* B@@?* B@@8* B@@> and B@1@* a $essel would ha$e had most or e$en all of September to transit from 7arsen Sound to Hueen #aud Aulf" #oreo$er* e$en na$igating with a 'omplete absen'e of i'e information* these $essels would ha$e en'ountered no i'e pressure and at most only short stret'hes of low i'e 'on'entrations through whi'h they 'ould ha$e easily manoeu$red" ,he three ex'eptions are the years 1>>?* B@@4 and B@@5" ,he i'e 'onditions in the summer of 1>>? were hea$y* espe'ially in 7arsen Sound and would not ha$e allowed $essels to rea'h 6i'toria Strait" ) shore lead did open briefly in early +'tober that would ha$e allowed for a relati$ely easy passage had the $essels been in a position to take ad$antage of it 1!igure B2" %owe$er* this lead would ha$e rapidly 'losed on'e the easterly 'omponent of the wind eased or re$ersed trapping any $essel between the pa'k i'e and any land fast i'e along the shoreline" )n image of the same area four days later 1!igure G2 shows the lead 'ompletely $anished and any pre$ious open water areas qui'kly filled with new i'e growth" Similarly in B@@4* i'e 'onditions were simply too hea$y for $essels of the type as the Erebus and Terror to be able to rea'h 6i'toria Strait" ) :adarsat81 image from September 14* B@@4 shows the minimum i'e 'ondition rea'hed that year 1!igure 42 with high 'on'entrations throughout the entire area"

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>?2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure $# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from +'tober D* 1>>?"

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>?2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure %# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from +'tober 1@* 1>>?"

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@42 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure &# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from September 14* B@@4"

,he only remaining year is B@@5 and it presents an interesting analogue to how the $essels 'ould ha$e be'ome trapped off the north end of .ing /illiam Island in 184D" I'e 'onditions were hea$y in 'entral 7arsen Sound on September 1@* B@@5 north of .ing /illiam Island 1!igure 52" Ne$ertheless* at the periphery the pa'k i'e was surrounded by areas of medium to low i'e 'on'entrations and open water" In 184D* this would ha$e presented a 'hallenging i'e en$ironment for na$igation* espe'ially la'king i'e information and 'omprehensi$e na$igational 'harts* but it would not ha$e been se$ere enough to blo'k their passage" ,he swirl patterns in the i'e indi'ates a low wind 'ondition and the absen'e of i'e pressure" ,he $essels would ha$e been able to make slow but steady progress amongst the strips and pat'hes of sea i'e" )ll this suddenly 'hanged on September 1B* B@@5 with the onset of $ery strong north westerly winds" ,he tone re$ersal between the i'e and open water shown on the :adarsat8 1 image in !igure D is a testimony to the fero'ity of the winds" /hat used to be dark water now shows a bright return due to wind indu'ed surfa'e roughness" ,he i'e is being dri$en by the wind dire'tly towards -ape !elix* rapidly 'losing leads and trapping anything within the pa'k" -oin'identally* the 6i'tory Point -airn note states that the $essels were beset on September 1B* 184D" /ith an ample supply of old i'e to the northwest in #3-linto'k -hannel* the pa'k remained in pla'e for the winter 1!igure ?2"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@52 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure '# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from September 1@* B@@5" &&

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@52 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure (# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from September 1B* B@@5 11GG@ 5,-2" &1

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@52 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure )# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from September 1G* B@@5 11G@1 5,-2"


Free*e+u, and Consolidation !ree0e8up is the period between minimum i'e 'onditions and 'onsolidation when the entire region be'omes fast for the winter" ,he pro'ess usually starts in September and is usually 'omplete by the end of <e'ember in most years" Hueen #aud Aulf experien'es open water at the beginning of free0e8up when new i'e forms in8situ with growth starting along the shoreline e$entually 'o$ering the entire gulf" !igures 8 and > illustrate this sequen'e for +'tober 1>>?" <uring free0e8up the i'e in 6i'toria Strait resumes its southward drift" +n'e Hueen #aud Aulf is i'e 'o$ered* this new i'e retards the en'roa'hment of i'e from 6i'toria Strait into the gulf" !ast i'e forms along the western shore of .ing /illiam Island but the 'entral and western portions of 6i'toria Strait are not fully 'onsolidated as seen in an image from No$ember G@* 1>>8 1!igure 1@2" )n extensi$e fast i'e area also forms around the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands in all years" ,he high 'ontrast in the S): imagery during free0e8up is 'ondu'i$e to measuring the speed and dire'tion of i'e mo$ement when two images are a'quired within a relati$ely short period of time" ,he bright multi8year floe shown in the middle of )lexandra Strait in !igure 11 was measured to ha$e 'o$ered about D nauti'al miles within 1B hours gi$ing it a speed of approximately half a knot" )s long as Hueen #aud Aulf does not 'onsolidate* i'e 'ontinues to enter from 6i'toria Strait" Sin'e the Araham Aore Peninsula and the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands obstru't the drift along the eastern portion of the strait* the eastern half tends to 'onsolidate sooner" ,he western portion of the strait has few impediments to blo'k the flow of i'e southward and thus the western portion of the strait deli$ers more i'e to Hueen #aud Aulf and 'onsolidates later in the year 1!igure 1B2" #o$ement in the western portion of the Strait 'an o''ur $ery late in the season as seen in the image from <e'ember B1* B@@8 1!igure 1G2"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>?2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure -# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from +'tober >* 1>>?"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>?2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure .# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from +'tober 1D* 1>>?" &/

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>82 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure "/# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from No$ember G@* 1>>8"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>>2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure ""# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from +'tober 18* 1>>>" &2

:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@42 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure "$# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from +'tober ?* B@@4" &0

:)<):S),8B <ata and Produ'ts I #a'<onald* <ettwiler and )sso'iates 7,<" 1B@@82 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure "%# :adarsat8B image of 6i'toria Strait from <e'ember B1* B@@8"


Mid+0inter Conditions 6i'toria Strait and surrounding areas are known to be 'onsolidated during the winter months meaning the i'e be'omes immobile between free0e8up and break8up of ea'h year" It is worthwhile to examine what information 'an be obtained from the mid8winter imagery for the years when :adarsat imagery is a$ailable" ,he ad$antage of looking at imagery from the winter months when the i'e is immobile is that it 'aptures the 'ontrast between the darker toned first8year i'e and lighter toned old i'e" ,his tone differen'e mostly disappears during the months before break8up making it more diffi'ult to distinguish between i'e types" Se'ondly* it is relati$ely easy to identify areas of i'e deformation su'h as shear 0ones* ridging and rubble fields within a 'ompletely i'e8 'o$ered and immobile en$ironment" ,he imagery 'o$ering the period between 1>>? and B@11 is 'onsistent with respe't to i'e drift in 6i'toria Strait" ,he drift is southward with most of the i'e $olume exiting the Strait to the west of the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands" I'e is also transported south through )lexandra Strait* albeit in lesser quantities" ,he :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands split the i'e stream in two" ,he western i'e stream 'ontinues southward before spreading out along the southern shores of Hueen #aud Aulf" ,he eastern i'e stream exits )lexandra Strait and most of the time 'ur$es eastward towards the )delaide Peninsula" ,he imagery indi'ates that the i'e mo$ing through )lexandra Strait undergoes greater deformation as e$iden'ed by the higher returns in the mid8winter imagery" ,hese patterns o''ur in all the study years but the 'learest examples are pro$ided from the years 1>>8* 1>>>* B@@B and B@@5 1!igures 14 through 1?2" <uring the winter of 1>>8 6i'toria Strait was almost 'ompletely 'o$ered in old i'e as e$iden'ed by the lighter tone in !igure 14" ,his :adarsat81 image from )pril G@* 1>>8 'aptures the drift of this i'e southwards being split by the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands* with most of the old i'e being transported to the west of the islands with some old i'e entering )lexandra Strait" ,his drift was stopped by the formation of first8year i'e in Hueen #aud Aulf 1darker tone2" ,he mid8winter image of the region from !ebruary B* 1>>> shows that 6i'toria Strait was 'omprised of a mixture of first8year and old i'e types 1!igure 152" ,he light signatures on either side of the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands* are mostly due to extensi$e ridging and not from the presen'e of old i'e" /hat is signifi'ant in this image is the presen'e of two long shear lines( one to the west of .ing /illiam Island and another to the west of the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands" ,he alignment indi'ates a south southwest drift when the area fro0e o$er" ,his is an important image as it hints at the possibility of the !ranklin $essels mo$ing dire'tly towards the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands following their abandonment" ,he presen'e of ridges parallel to the west 'oast of .ing /illiam Island and the distribution of the old i'e are both indi'ati$e of a south8westerly drift" ,he :adarsat81 image from #ar'h G@* B@@B 1!igure 1D2 also 'learly 'aptures the southward flow of i'e to the west of the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands and its


subsequent distribution along the southern portion of Hueen #aud Aulf" In B@@B almost all of the i'e was first8year i'e as e$iden'ed by the dark tones" ,he i'e that mo$es through )lexandra Strait is shown mo$ing towards the )delaide Peninsula on the eastern end of Hueen #aud Aulf" In 'ontrast* most of the i'e in 6i'toria Strait during the winter of B@@5 was old i'e 1!igure 1?2 but the southward motion of the i'e and its subsequent spillage into Hueen #aud Aulf remain the same"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>82 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure "&# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from )pril G@* 1>>8"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 11>>>2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure "'# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from !ebruary B* 1>>>"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@B2 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure "(# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from #ar'h G@* B@@B"


:)<):S),81 <ata and Produ'ts I -anadian Spa'e )gen'y 1B@@52 J )ll :ights :eser$ed

Fi ure ")# :adarsat81 image of 6i'toria Strait from )pril B?* B@@5" 1/

!reak+u, and Clearin 6i'toria Strait and the Hueen #aud Aulf represent two $ery different i'e regimes manifested in the break8up and 'learing pattern" Hueen #aud Aulf experien'es melt along the shoreline and fra'tures in uly and is the first to 'lear as the i'e there melts in8 situ" ,his 'learing is e$ident in all years" 6i'toria Strait fra'tures in late uly9early )ugust and does not 'lear of i'e in all years" ,he existen'e of shear lines in 6i'toria Strait is some years are possible 'lues to the dire'tion of i'e motion" )n image from )ugust G* 1>>? is a good example of a shear line running down the middle of 6i'toria Strait dire'tly towards )lexandra Strait 1!igure 182" Presumably the i'e to the west of the line is mo$ing at a relati$ely faster rate than that to the east" Ne$ertheless* the alignment is indi'ati$e of a general southward drift" !igures 1> through B1 show further examples where shear lines from the eastern portion of 6i'toria Strait trend towards )lexandra Strait" ,he i'e deforms under pressure* then passes through and exits )lexandra Strait at its southern end" ,he i'e in 6i'toria Strait is exported into Hueen #aud Aulf but in some years it also melts in8situ" ,he sequen'e of 'learing depends on wind 'onditions and possibly on the i'e type found in 6i'toria Strait at the onset of 'learing" If the wind 'onditions 'ontinue to be northerly the pa'k is 'ontinually expelled into Hueen #aud Aulf 1!igure BB2" %owe$er* during light wind 'onditions or with a southerly wind* it 'an remain in pla'e or e$en mo$e northward 1!igure BG2" ,his is more likely in light i'e years where the i'e is not 'onstrained by pa'k i'e to the north" It is also important to 'onsider the break8up and 'learing pattern in Hueen #aud Aulf sin'e histori'al e$iden'e indi'ates that one of the $essels was sighted somewhere along the western 'oast of the )delaide Peninsula" ,he i'e found in Hueen #aud Aulf is predominantly first8year i'e( any old i'e present has been imported from 6i'toria Strait lo'ated to the north" ,he melt in the gulf starts in early uly with the 'reation of a shore lead 'aused by the warmer air temperatures asso'iated with terrestrial heating" ,his means that the remaining i'e is no longer atta'hed to the shoreline and is free to drift" !igures B4 and B5 illustrate this pro'ess as it o''urred within a four day period in uly of B@1@" )s the i'e in 'entral Hueen #aud Aulf breaks8up into floes it also tends to mo$e westward before melting 'ompletely in the se'ond half of uly" ,his pro'ess of 'learing would ha$e important impli'ations for any $essel trapped in i'e beyond the immediate $i'inity of the 'oastline" +n'e the i'e is no longer fastened to the shoreline* the $essel would drift within an i'e8floe until the surrounding floe disintegrates in the following days or weeks" ,herefore knowing where a $essel was trapped in the i'e in the winter is not at all indi'ati$e of where it was released by the i'e in the summer"


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Conclusions ,here are a number of 'on'lusions that 'an be drawn from the satellite image re'ord" !irst* a probable reason for the besetment of the Erebus and Terror was a strong north westerly wind that trapped the $essels among i'e being for'ed against .ing /illiam Island" Se'ondly* while the general dire'tion of the drift in 6i'toria Strait is in a southerly dire'tion* it also shows that there exists a marked differen'e between the eastern and western hal$es of the strait( most of the i'e is flushed south through the western half while the eastern half mo$es at a mu'h slower pa'e" ,he $essels were trapped in the eastern half" ,he imagery also shows that* most of the time* i'e in the eastern half of 6i'toria Strait is flushed south through )lexandra Strait" ,his is e$iden'ed by the presen'e of shear lines running in the dire'tion of )lexandra Strait" ,his would indi'ate that there would be a higher probability that the $essels were drawn towards )lexandra Strait from the point of abandonment" ,here is a lower probability that they would ha$e passed to the west of the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands" If that was the 'ase they would ha$e been deli$ered to the southern shores of Hueen #aud Aulf" ,he probability of finding the $essels also de'reases further eastward into &rebus Cay sin'e that i'e tends to form in8situ" Shearing o''urs between the mobile i'e mo$ing through )lexandra Strait and the fast i'e surrounding the :oyal Aeographi'al So'iety Islands" Shearing also o''urs between this mobile i'e stream and the fast i'e formed in &rebus Cay" If the assumption is that a $essel sank due to hull failure from i'e pressure* these shear lines might represent a good target for sur$ey lines" ,here are other possible out'omes that 'annot be ex'luded although their probability seems low" ,he 'urrents in eastern 6i'toria Strait are $ery weak( therefore mu'h would ha$e depended on the break8up and 'learing sequen'e followed during the summer of 1848* after the $essels were abandoned" Satellite imagery shows that in the summer months the i'e mo$es mostly in response to wind dire'tion" ,his means that it 'an be mo$ed in an east8west dire'tion a'ross 6i'toria Strait and it 'an also be pushed north" %owe$er* these examples 'ome from years when the Strait was filled with first8year i'e and therefore might not make for useful analogue 'onditions" /e know that the $essels were abandoned in multi8year sin'e the i'e did not 'lear for two winters" ,he e$iden'e seems to indi'ate that i'e motion in response to wind for'ing is 'onstrained in years when 6i'toria Strait is filled with high i'e 'on'entrations of multi8year i'e during the summer months"


Recommendations ,his preliminary study only s'rat'hes the surfa'e in terms of the information 'ontained within the satellite image re'ord" ,here is a tremendous $olume of $isible and infrared imagery rea'hing ba'k to the 1>?@s that 'ould be utili0ed to obtain a fuller understanding of the i'e regime" Su'h an effort would probably take at least one year" ,here also exists a large $olume of histori'al i'e information at the -anadian I'e Ser$i'e that in'ludes )irborne S): imagery obtained prior to :adarsat81 and numerous i'e 'harts dating ba'k many de'ades" It is belie$ed that this information 'ould be 'ollated in approximately four months if a person is dedi'ated solely to this effort" 7ooking further* mu'h of the imagery in the histori'al re'ord 'ould be sub=e'ted to automated analysis to determine a full pi'ture of i'e motion in the region" )dditionally* :adarsat imagery at a higher spatial resolution 'ould be a'quired spe'ifi'ally o$er the sear'h area" If the imagery is 'olle'ted in image pairs between 1B and B4 hours apart* it would be possible to utili0e it in an i'e motion algorithm" It is also important to re8examine all ar'haeologi'al e$iden'e and Inuit testimony and 'ompare it against the i'e en$ironment as des'ribed in this study" If one of the $essels was deli$ered to Hueen #aud Aulf* the imagery 'ould be used to map the areas of highest probability of drift sin'e the i'e a'ts as a marker for the surfa'e 'urrent" If Inuit testimony re'ounts that people walked out to a ship on smooth i'e* that i'e has a parti'ular S): signature that 'ould be easily mapped sin'e the smooth land fast i'e forms in the same areas in most years" ) 'omplete study would need to in'orporate the numerous 'hara'teristi's of the physi'al en$ironment su'h as 'urrents* air masses and 'limate" Ne$ertheless* this initial examination at the i'e 'hara'teristi's of 6i'toria Strait pro$ides a useful baseline des'ription"