This is a news story from Germany outlining another Arctic ice measurement expedition. This one was conducted by flying the scientists across the north polar ice cap using the WWII era workhorse Douglas DC-3 airplane equipped with skis, and towing an airborne sounder twenty meters above the ice surface. It makes the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey look rather pointless, but then we knew that. BTW “Eisdicken” translates to “ice thickness”. – Anthony
At the North Pole ice sheet is thicker than expected
The “Polar 5″ in Bremerhaven
The research aircraft Polar 5 “ended today in Canada’s recent Arctic expedition. During the flight, researchers have measured the current Eisstärke measured at the North Pole, and in areas that have never before been overflown. Result: The sea-ice in the surveyed areas is apparently thicker than the researchers had suspected.
Normally, ice is newly formed after two years, over two meters thick. “Here were Eisdicken up to four meters,” said a spokesman of Bremerhaven’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. For scientists, this result is still in contradiction to the warming of the seawater.
Besides the Eisdicken was also the composition of the air are investigated. With the help of a laser, the researchers reviewed how polluted the atmosphere by emissions from industrialized countries. On the expedition, some 20 scientists from the U.S., Canada, Italy and Germany.
Here is the route map:
See the press release announcing the expedition from Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research here. Note the lack of “live” biometrics.
But they do have a nifty aerial ice thickness probe, shown above.
An ice thickness probe, the so-called EM-Bird, which is usually dragged below a helicopter, is now operated for the first time by a fixed-wing aircraft. The EM-Bird is towed under the hull of the aircraft by means of a winch for take-off and landing. For the surveys, the probe is towed on an 80 m long rope twenty metres above the ice surface. More extensive areas can now be investigated due to the longer range of the aircraft in comparison to a helicopter.
UPDATE: more on the EM-Bird probe (h/t to Ron de Haan)
Electromagnetic (EM) induction sounding for ice thickness measurements is a technique that can achieve long profiles of some kilometer length. The accuracy and robustness of the EM method has been evaluated by comparing coincident drill-hole and EM measurements. Read more (Poster, pdf, size: 156 kB)
Sure beats hauling a sledge and a broken home-built ice radar around doesn’t it?
h/t to “yddar” and Lubos Motl