Update August 19 2016
Today’s tracking shows Northabout is approaching the strait leaving Laptev and entering East Siberian Sea. It appears to be open water all the way to Beaufort Sea.
Update August 15, 2016
It appears that Northabout, the Polar Ocean Challenge sailboat, is positioning for an end run around the Laptev wall. The ship location is current, the ice edges are yesterday’s chart from MASIE. (Click on the image to zoom in)
Update 18:00 EST August 15, 2016
It looks like Northabout is sailing free in Laptev.
Update August 14, 2016
It appears that Northabout is sheltering in a cove, before seeking a way around the Laptev wall. Below the Google Earth image of ice edges from NIC shows how the strait has opened up along with navigable shore lines.
The Big Picture from August 11, 2016.
The Polar Ocean Challenge involves the sailing ship Northabout circumnavigating the North Pole counterclockwise starting from Bristol UK. The chart above from MASIE shows the two choke points in the itinerary: The Laptev Wall of ice at the beginning and the Nunavut Gauntlet of ice at the end. The image shows If Northabout can get past Laptev, it is relatively clear sailing all the way to Beaufort where Nunavut awaits.
The above chart from AARI shows how Northabout has passed through the strait from Kara into Laptev and is in a holding pattern up against the wall. Caleb has some great photos (here) of the views from the deck, along with some comments respecting the explorers despite their being misled by global warming theorists.
Above is the latest chart from AARI showing the present ice situation at the other end of the trip, the Nunavut Gauntlet. The white part is without data since the Russians are focused on their side of the ocean, but it does show heavy ice in Beaufort Sea on the right, Within Nunavut, Parry Channel is well blocked, but with some water around the edges. If and when Northabout gets here, no one knows what they will face. They are counting on the passage opening this year, unlike previous years.
An image of the ice and snow extents from NOAA by way of National Ice Center (NIC)
A closeup of Nunavut from that chart shows they have a chance by using the southern route, skipping all but the eastern end of Parry Channel, provided the ice is better not worse than now when they approach.
Another view of the Arctic is available from NIC using Google Earth. The daily shapefile can be downloaded, and it then opens in Google Earth, which allows you to browse and zoom in on regions of interest. Here is an image from this source: