At first glance, the swirling white pattern in the images appear to be a hurricane or some other kind of fierce oceanic storm. But upon closer inspection, it's clear that something else is lurking off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Meteorologist Kyle Roberts of KOKH Fox25 in Oklahoma City posted these images to Twitter and Facebook on Sunday, attributing the aerial photos to a Boeing 777 pilot who was operating a flight from Amsterdam to the U.S.
The swirling in the images is actually sea ice that has been sucked into and spun around by ocean currents in the area. The most likely current to do this in that area is the Labrador Current, which flows southward along the Labrador and Newfoundland coast and his ice, which during the winter was thick and densely-packed, is breaking up during the long days of the Arctic summer.
Here's a larger version of the close-up that Roberts posted:
Image: jeff davis via facebook/kyle roberts
Jeff Davis, the pilot who took the photos, told Mashable he had been flying for 33 years and flying international flights for 16 years. "Most of the Atlantic crossings, we cannot see anything due to the overcast below," he said. "The east bound flights are always at night and west bound flights during the day. About half of the westbound flights we've got visibility below and the view is always amazing during the crossing. But I've never seen anything like this.
"At first sight I thought it was a hurricane type low pressure system but quickly realized what I was seeing was not clouds but surface ice. I knew based on the surface formation, I had to take some photos. This was a rare sight."
The photos were taken from a Boeing 777 at 36,000 feet.
Such eddies are actually quite common, although they're rarely captured quite like this one was.
For example, on July 4, the same NASA satellite caught these ghostly swirls off the coast of Baffin Island.
Image: NASA Worldview
Arctic sea ice has hit record lows throughout 2016 as the Arctic region has experienced extraordinarily mild conditions compared to average.
In June, though, the melt slowed somewhat as relatively cooler weather settled in, putting the year on track to come close to, but not necessarily break, the record low sea ice extent that was set in 2012.
UPDATE: July 5, 2016, 1:22 p.m. AEST Comment added from Jeff Davis.