Wegener Institute continues Arctic Sea Ice flyovers to gauge thickness

Via press release.

Is the ice in the Arctic Ocean getting thinner and thinner? Research aircraft Polar 5 measures thickness of sea ice north of Greenland

Polar 5 towing a sonde for sea ice thickness measurements - the so called EM-Bird - on a test flight. Photo: Christian Haas, University of Alberta / Alfred Wegener Institute

Bremerhaven, 20th August 2010.

The extent of the sea ice in the Arctic will reach its annual minimum in September. Forecasts indicate that it will not be as low as in 2007, the year of the smallest area covered by sea ice since satellites started recording such data. Nevertheless, sea ice physicists at the Alfred Wegener Institute are concerned about the long-term equilibrium in the Arctic Ocean. They have indications that the mass of sea ice is dwindling because its thickness is declining. To substantiate this, they are currently measuring the ice thickness north and east of Greenland using the research aircraft Polar 5. The objective of the roughly one-week campaign is to determine the export of sea ice from the Arctic. Around a third to half of the freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean takes place in this way – a major drive factor in the global ocean current system.

The question of when the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer has been preoccupying the sea ice researchers headed by Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Gerdes from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association for a long time now. Satellites have been recording the extent of the Arctic ice for more than 30 years. In addition to the area covered, the thickness of the ice is a decisive factor in assessing how much sea ice there is.

However, the thickness can only be determined locally, for example by means of the so-called EM-Bird, an electromagnetic measuring device which helicopters or planes tow over the ice. For Gerdes this is a very special job because he usually models his forecasts on his home computer.

The campaign with the research aircraft Polar 5 of the Alfred Wegener Institute now takes him on an expedition in the Arctic for the first time. “I’m very keen on seeing the results of the sea ice thickness measurements,” says Gerdes. “Only when we know the distribution of ice of varying thickness, can we calculate how much freshwater is carried out of the Arctic Ocean via ice.”

http://www.awi.de/fileadmin/user_upload/News/Press_Releases/2010/3._Quartal_2010/2010_Messfluege_TIFAX_w.jpg

Scheduled flight transects for the scientific aircraft Polar 5 during the campaign TIFAX in the Arctic. White lines mark the transects for ice thickness measurements. Graphic: Alfred Wegener Institute

About 3000 cubic kilometres of ice drift out of the Arctic Ocean every year, corresponding to around 2700 billion tons. The ice exports freshwater that reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers and precipitation. This maintains its salt concentration, which has been constant over the long term. The temperature rise observed worldwide is especially pronounced in the Arctic latitudes.

Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. As a result, it stores and exports less freshwater and the salt concentration (also referred to as salinity) of the Arctic Ocean declines. On the one hand, this influences all living things that have adapted to the local conditions. On the other hand, changes in salinity also have an impact on current patterns of global ocean circulation and thus on meridional heat transport.

In the TIFAX (Thick Ice Feeding Arctic Export) measurement campaign the researchers are primarily interested in ice that is several years old, several metres thick and occurs predominantly on the northern coast of Greenland. “Taking off on the measurement flights from Station Nord here is a special adventure,” reports Gerdes from one of the northernmost measuring stations in the world. “Flying through virtually unsettled regions of the Arctic in the high-tech research aircraft is a stark contrast to my modelling work on the computer.”

Notes for editorial offices:

Your contact in the Communication and Media Department of the Alfred Wegener Institute is Folke Mehrtens (phone: ++49 471 4831-2007; e-mail: Folke.Mehrtens(at)awi.de).

The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctic. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the sixteen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.

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74 thoughts on “Wegener Institute continues Arctic Sea Ice flyovers to gauge thickness

  1. Personally, I’m waiting for Cryosat2 to start reporting. Then we shall see just how accurate PIOMAS has been lately.

  2. Could a layman as myself conclude from this that the actual thickness of the ice has never been established? And that any statements about it so far have not been based on observation?

  3. Very interesting to hear why the variation in Arctic ice and ice “export” is useful to know other than as a supposed predictor of CO2-induced climate armageddon.

  4. “”” Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. As a result, it stores and exports less freshwater and the salt concentration (also referred to as salinity) of the Arctic Ocean declines. “””
    So what is it that I am missing ??
    The Arctic ocean freezes; dumping tons of salts into the Arctic ocean to make it more salty. Then the ice melts which restores the fresh water and the ocean gets less salty.
    But if the sea ice having dumped its salt load, then blows out of the Arctic; the tons of salt it leaves behind makes the Arctic Ocean LESS salty.
    Yes that sounds quite clear to me !

  5. As I pointed out in a comment here more than a week ago it appears to me that the flow of sea ice out through the Fram mostly halted nearly a month ago.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/CT/animate.arctic.color.0.html
    From watching various animations of the Arctic ice decline the flow out the the Fram tends to dwindle every year, but it seems to be earlier and more thorough this year than in the past, the most of the long term animations lack the definition to be very precise on the timing in the past

  6. “”” Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. As a result, it stores and exports less freshwater and the salt concentration (also referred to as salinity) of the Arctic Ocean declines. “””
    And then it will reach a tipping point any second now …..
    Sorry. It’s Friday.

  7. #
    Aaron Stonebeat
    August 20, 2010 at 11:05 am
    Not to worry. We have computer models to determine these things. Taking physical measurements is so last century!

  8. From a press release of the Alfred Wegener Institute April 2009:
    “…The measurements with the German Polar 5 plane ended…. The position most north was 88°40´N…. The flight started in Longyearbyen on Spitsbergen over Greenland and Northern Canada to Barrow in Alaska.”
    One of the aims of this flight were measurements of ice thickness over larger areas. Polar 5 was carrying on a 80 m long steel rope the probe EM-Bird about 20 m above the ice surface.
    During several flights to the North they found:
    Ice thickness between 2.5 m (2 year ice close to the North Pole) and 4 m ice (several year old ice in coastal areas of Canada. In total, the ice was slightly thicker than in the same regions in past years.
    They concluded a temporary recovery of the arctic sea ice. The ice often was more than 15 m thick along the northern coast of Ellemere Island.

  9. Wait a minute, didn’t this same plane fly over parts of the Arctic last year and they were surprised to find ice thicknesses much thicker than expected. Why are they now talking as if the Arctic is about to collapse?
    When I heard of the first study I thought, ok, these scientists are genuinely trying to get information. That blurb makes it sound like they’ve already made up their minds.

  10. This is brilliant. Fly a plane a few times and figure out how thick the ice is over the whole arctic!
    I could try something similar here in Texas. I could take a few road trips and count armadillos along the way. Then I will know the entire population.
    OK but seriously, this only makes sense as a way to spot check a computer model. Then he can come home and either decide that models are useless, or make adjustments and try again to see if the new version makes the mark. I am going to predict the latter.
    On the other hand… how many other hands does the reporter have anyway?

  11. Last year they undertook similar measurements and found ice “thicker than previously thought”, See Inconvenient Eisdicken. They didn’t fit the alarmist ptofile last time, hope it will stay that way this time.
    I am looking forward to their measuring results and I wish them good luck.
    The arctic is not a healthy environment to fly around towing an EM bird and this kind of operations is not entirely without risks.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/28/inconvenient-eisdicken/

  12. If this is the first time Prof Gerdes is actually undertaking real world measurements, rather than modelling them on his ‘home computer’, how will he be able to understand what the measurements mean?

  13. Does anyone else not understand these sentences or is it just me?
    “About 3000 cubic kilometres of ice drift out of the Arctic Ocean every year, corresponding to around 2700 billion tons. The ice exports freshwater that reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers and precipitation. This maintains its salt concentration, which has been constant over the long term.”
    “Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. As a result, it stores and exports less freshwater and the salt concentration (also referred to as salinity) of the Arctic Ocean declines.”
    If the ice is getting thinner and less freshwater is stored and exported, how could the salinity of the Arctic Ocean DECLINE?

  14. “Flying through virtually unsettled regions of the Arctic…”
    The term “virtual…” set off an alarm. I thought of MS Flight Simulator but then he finished with
    “…in the high-tech research aircraft is a stark contrast to my modelling work on the computer.”
    Is he not flying over ice on the Arctic Sea, that is, sea ice? Anyway, four transects flown when conditions are appropiate over a constantly shifting and jumbled ocean surface seems to me to be like looking through the keyhole of the front door of the Musee Du Louvre.

  15. “About 3000 cubic kilometres of ice drift out of the Arctic Ocean every year, corresponding to around 2700 billion tons. The ice exports freshwater that reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers and precipitation. This maintains its salt concentration, which has been constant over the long term. The temperature rise observed worldwide is especially pronounced in the Arctic latitudes.”
    There seems to be a disconnect between sea ice and ice formed in rivers, glaciers, etc. that would be fresh water in the above paragraph. How much of the ice that flows out of the arctic is sea ice, and how much is the fresh water that reaches the arctic by rivers, etc.? Sea ice is not fresh water, it may be less salty than the sea it forms from, but it is not fresh water. Something in this paragraph does not make sense.

  16. “The question of when the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer has been preoccupying….”
    So, it’s when –no if’s, no possibly, it might, etc – a flat predetermined prognosis. Quite a safe bet (if one sticks around long enough).

  17. “If the ice is getting thinner and less freshwater is stored and exported, how could the salinity of the Arctic Ocean DECLINE?”
    ==========================================================
    CJames, they are saying that if it doesn’t float out as ice cubes, or stay locked up in ice cubes, it sits there and melts.

  18. So it’s not the thinnest “ever.” Ludicrous doublespeak and extremely nearsighted hubris…
    With knuckleheads in charge, “ever” continues to mean a whopping 30+ years of measurements. Oh, be still my heart.
    So a 30+ year “trend” is measured against, what? C02? Water vapor? Perhaps they should measure the non-existent “trend” against the amount of tax dollars flushed down the crapper protecting us against a manufactured threat?
    The sky IS falling, yes, around the heads of scientists who are kicking the very dead horse of AGW daily and with vigor, and when the day comes when the poor horse explodes in a shower of gore, on that day they will begin to understand the true cost of their zealotry…

  19. Ice levels in the Fram Strait are unusually low right now. Hopefully, they’re well aware of this.
    Other times, with other winds will be very different.

  20. CJames: If the ice is getting thinner and less freshwater is stored and exported, how could the salinity of the Arctic Ocean DECLINE?
    There is a constant flow into the arctic of fresh water from the landmass (rivers). If you decrease the export, the net result is a reduction in salinity.

  21. glacierman says:
    August 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm
    Ice is by construction fresh water, because it is the solid state of H2O , which in its liquid form is water. It is crystalline and there is no space for the salt molecule in the crystal. Pockets of brine are slowly rejected as the freezing advances.
    One way of solving water problems for coastal areas is to carve icebergs and navigate them where needed. 😉

  22. Forgive my temerity in “interpreting” this statement, folks.
    “The ice exports freshwater that reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers and precipitation. This maintains its salt concentration, which has been constant over the long term.”
    I think the writer means:
    “The ice exports the EQUIVALENT of the freshwater that reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers and precipitation. This maintains its salt concentration, which has been constant over the long term.”

  23. Anna V
    I understand that, but the paragraph says that the ice that flows out of the Arctic is fresh water that arrives there via rivers and precipitation. I do not think that is what is measured as flowing out of the Arctic, which would be, as you say, sea ice with some level of brine – salt – trapped in it. Obviously the older the ice, the more time it has to shed its salt and get “fresher”. And yes, people can get fresh water from glaciers, but ask a sailor in the Arctic if the ice pack can be melted and used as fresh water….

  24. I’m virtually pain-free after reading this article. Let me get some Advil, because reality is a b**ch…
    I know what will happen before it happens; one of two things:
    1) The ice is thinner than last year when the “Ice Dicks” did the scan and found it 4 meters thick. Now it comes in at 3.8 meters thick, a 5% reduction. At this rate it is melted, for sure, in xxxyyy years. That 0.2 meter reduction represents zzz number of Manhattans (or is it “ice sufficient to make 7.8 billion Manhattans) Do the GISS and PIOMAS people drink too many Manhattans? Is that the crux of their problems?
    2) Or it will come out thicker than last year, yet below what the real “Ice Dicks” on their polar sleighride said it was? “Worse than we thought” say the “Head Ice Dick”.
    In either case, we do a linear regression to see when all the little prima donnas in their little Sunfish can sail through the NW passage.

  25. John F. Hultquist says:
    August 20, 2010 at 12:33 pm
    “- seems to me to be like looking through the keyhole of the front door of the Musee Du Louvre.”
    Thus missing out on a close and detailed inspection of the Egyptian artifacts that date back millennia and marvelling at the multitude of skills and exquisite craftsmanship displayed before you. If you have never been, book a visit now – you will be astounded by a civilisation based upon and comfortable with, the rhythms of the Nile. Or they were until Akhenaten established a new priesthood for his new religion worshipping the false god Aten.
    Perhaps we too should accept, understand and be comfortable with the rhythms of today. Or perhaps we too have invented a new religion with false gods………
    The omens are however favourable. Akhenaten’s new religion was shunned upon his death; his new city, temples and priesthood abandoned as the people returned to the old ways and values and Akhenaten and all his works were erased from the records of ancient Egypt.
    Hansen’s turn next?

  26. This sounds to me like everyone is sure of the outcome and doing this research is a mere formality.

  27. “This maintains its salt concentration, which has been constant over the long term.”
    So basically no signal of any change.
    “Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. As a result, it stores and exports less freshwater and the salt concentration (also referred to as salinity) of the Arctic Ocean declines.”
    But you just said that there was no change!
    Anyway, why would thinner ice export less freshwater. It is the surface that melts. Reducing the surface area could be perceived as reducing output but I don’t see the correlation with thinning. Besides, if it was thinning it must be melting and if its melting it must be increasing output, not decreasing!
    Did Prof. Gerdes wife write this press release: or have my faculties deserted me?

  28. The story:
    “The ice exports freshwater that reaches the Arctic Ocean via rivers and precipitation. ”
    glacierman:
    “Ice is by construction fresh water, because it is the solid state of H2O , which in its liquid form is water. It is crystalline and there is no space for the salt molecule in the crystal. Pockets of brine are slowly rejected as the freezing advances. ”
    Glacierman has it right and the story has it (mostly) wrong. For one thing, there’s darn little precipitation in the arctic in the ice forming season. The volume of ice lost from the arctic exceeds the flow of the rivers into the arctic. The vast majority of the arctic ice forms on salt water and increases the salinity of the water below it.

  29. As I noted earlier in another thread, a reputable “Golden” book in 1958 noted that the average Arctic ice thickness was perhaps a bit more than two meters. On the basis, and from what we now read, little has changed, so we have passed along this book to our grandchildren as still worth a read.

  30. bubbagyro says:
    August 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm
    Thats all I needed to hear. Good one! It’s 5:00 somewhere, and that somewhere is about to be where I am.

  31. C James: August 20, 2010 at 12:30 pm
    If the ice is getting thinner and less freshwater is stored and exported, how could the salinity of the Arctic Ocean DECLINE?
    Never mind that — when will they ask Mann how to hide it?

  32. Wouldn’t it be nice if some one started a research totally unbiased? Without any agenda? Just taking a good look and reporting what they find? I’ve always liked science because of its detached nature. I still do where it concerns pure physics but in the case of climate science I get terrible headaches; I just keep reading on and on to learn about the next point of view. Which figures because of the complexity of the object of research. Wence originate all these firm standpoints?
    If I want to know about classical mechanisc or quantum physics I can just go and look up the state of affairs; any uncertainties are always plainly stated. In the case of the climate rhetorism appears to be the weapon of choice; not logic or observations.

  33. “Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. “
    ERRRrrr but it was thicker last year than the year before and this year it is thicker than last year…..
    Am I missing something? Sounds like the ice is getting thicker not thinner.

  34. The salinity of the oceans will depend on the amount of fresh water going in and the amount coming out. The amount that freezes and then thaws is irrelevant over the whole cycle if there is no nett gain or loss. If there is a nett loss the sea will become less saline because there will be a temporary release of fresh water. However this release will be infitessimal in the context of the northerly river flows out of Canada and Russia in a year. Overall the oceans will always become more saline because there is no obvious way that the small amount of dissolved salts in the rivers can be removed. They have been building up over billions of years and will not stop now.
    If the sea ice did stop building it would change the cycle of salinity in the arctic ocean such that there would be more fresh water reaching the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in the winter and less in the summer. This may have an impact but it is not obvious what that would be.
    Why are they not flying over the sea ice in the Antarctic. That has grown more than the Arctic has declined. Are they not worried about that?

  35. Dave Stephens says:
    August 20, 2010 at 12:50 pm
    … and when the day comes when the poor horse explodes in a shower of gore, on that day they will begin to understand the true cost of their zealotry…
    ==========================================================
    I see what you did there.

  36. Once again the article doesn’t make sense: Around a third to half of the freshwater export from the Arctic Ocean takes place in this way… What way? Export of ice? If so, why are they measuring the thickness? Oh, because the ice bergs are-
    a major drive factor in the global ocean current system. But it’s only- a third to half of the freshwater export How is THAT major? And what’s the other 50 to 66%? Deep currents? That are not dependent on ice flows. Thick, thin or no ice – water flows into the Arctic. It’s got to come OUT somewhere. How does an increase OR decrease in thickness of the ice change those flows?
    And even MORE importantly- ….are concerned about the long-term equilibrium in the Arctic Ocean. What equilibrium? Just saying the word doesn’t define WHAT would be out of balance? Ice to temp? Temp to saltiness? Ice to current flows? So what if there is NO ice anywhere in the Arctic for a short period of time durning some future September? WHAT does Arctic ice do, for a short period of time in September that we are so worried about not happening?
    Right. Just another plot to a grade B horror movie.
    TGIF

  37. Another hint of negative feedback loops stabilizing the Earth’s climate:
    More old ice flows out of the Arctic taking “freshwater” away, leaving higher salinity of the Arctic Ocean behind—–which lowers the melting/freezing point of the water, presumably, leading to less ice at a given average temp.
    Then, less ice forms and less freshwater can flow out of the Arctic, and the salinity of the Arctic ocean rises—–which raises the melting/freezing point, and now more ice can form at a similar temp. Thus, stabilization of sea ice volume ensues, oscillating around relatively narrow values, as it is perturbed by various stressors such as the large oceanic oscillations.
    A negative feedback system. Maybe this one is minor with respect to the whole climate, but the Earth’s eco-system seems replete with negative feedback loops, hence its remarkable stability over billions of years.

  38. Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. As a result, it stores and exports less freshwater and the salt concentration (also referred to as salinity) of the Arctic Ocean declines.

    BS meter alert.
    1. Ice is getting thinner for several years (ignoring the veracity of this). That would imply that MORE ice is melting each year.
    2. It exports less freshwater? Surely that would be MORE freshwater, not LESS?
    3. salinity of the Arctic Ocean declines. Surely that would be because of MORE freshwater, not LESS?
    Maybe I’m reading it all wrong, but that set of logical deductions (ignoring veracity) all seem to contradict with each other, which is quite an achievement with just three statements!

  39. Being an expert on ice – or more accurately scotch – I am confused as to how you can measure ice thickness year after year (in a meaningful way of comparison). At the peak there is about 15 million cubic kilometers of ice in the Arctic and 5 million at the minimum. This means 2/3 of the ice melts entirely in a “normal” year. Then the ice blows around so that the multi-year ice isn’t in the same place year after year. Do they place markers on the multi-year ice so that they can monitor its thickness year after year or do they just refly over the same area?

  40. John F. Hultquist says:
    “seems to me to be like looking through the keyhole of the front door of the Musee Du Louvre.”
    I’m sure if you want to fund a full arctic survey the Dr would be happy to recieve an email from you. In the mean time we have to do the best with what data can be generated from limited resourses. My understanding is these sort of surveys will be used over the next few years to help validate the Cryosat2 data.

  41. Thanks for the link HR.
    I confused extent and thickness in my earlier post.
    Seems they re-fly the same area year after year.
    Thankfully ice doesn’t move, otherwise their data would be useless.

  42. It’s almost certainly thinner than it was 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, and ~22000 yrs ago, too.

  43. Last year the WI ice survey over the whole arctic found the ice to be much thicker than expected. They appear to have replaced last years crew with a new guy who has never been to the Arctic and who will be conducting a survey over only 10% of the previous survey area. Oh and he will be doing his anaysis on his home computer wheras other govt climate institutions have wall-to-wall $200 million computers to play with. This is what happens when you report thicker ice when you are funded by the world’s most committed AGW govt. Other posters didn’t miss the pre-conclusions of the press release.
    Oh and HR, if budget for this more limited survey was the limiting factor, what does that say about the importance of the work for the planet? Actually if they already know the outcome, putting a few survey lines down can be. Just window dressing – that darn Catlin exhibition has set a precedent. (I hate it when I get this way but we’ve lost more trust than ice in the arctic).

  44. SSam says:
    August 20, 2010 at 5:59 pm
    > You guys can sling your derisive comments at the Polar 5 group all you want (and rightly so IMO), but it still makes a lot more sense than the Catlan group.
    Quite right! Most of the comments are about salinity changes in a press release. Any derision I might have (the point has been made folks, let’s go find something else to laugh at) would be directed toward the PR folks. Actually, I’m more interested in why they aren’t noting the 2009 ice was a bit thicker than 2008. Perhaps they’ve only observed thinning for “several” (their word) years instead of “all” of them.
    I don’t have time to contact them – anyone want to take on that task?

  45. paulhan says:
    August 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm
    Wait a minute, didn’t this same plane fly over parts of the Arctic last year and they were surprised to find ice thicknesses much thicker than expected. Why are they now talking as if the Arctic is about to collapse?
    When I heard of the first study I thought, ok, these scientists are genuinely trying to get information. That blurb makes it sound like they’ve already made up their minds.

    They needed funding – they are far less likely to get funding for a flight proving that there was no problem.

  46. Besides their silly deductive assumptions as others have pointed out on here, their concluding statement…
    “The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and mid latitudes.”
    …reminds me of something else…although not as bad…as the following:
    “NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.”
    Yawn.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  47. August 20, 2010 at 12:51 pm
    CJames: If the ice is getting thinner and less freshwater is stored and exported, how could the salinity of the Arctic Ocean DECLINE?
    There is a constant flow into the arctic of fresh water from the landmass (rivers). If you decrease the export, the net result is a reduction in salinity.
    Fredb says:
    _________________________________________________________
    Salinity is not a simple issue, especially in the ocean. It is changing constantly due to various conditions.
    The freeze/thaw process is used to make fresh water from brine in some parts of the world and just west of Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, there are HUGE brine ponds that use the freeze/thaw process. Water is pumped underground into potash formations to dissolve the potash and it is then pumped back up to the surface where it is stored in large ponds until winter. Then the brine freezes, dropping out the potash to the bottom of the ponds. In summer, the ponds are decanted, the water is reused, the ponds are allowed to dry and the potash is picked up off the bottom of the ponds.
    Some places used to get salt the same way.
    Same thing happens in the oceans. There is a constant crystallization and dissolution process going on.

  48. The Wegener Institute’s July-forecast for this year’s ice extend was 5.56, which is identical to Goddard’s. So they must have learned something from their measurements. These are for sure not all we need, but they are still better than to know nothing at all.
    Let us not forget:
    1) The Wegener Institute is in the AGW camp but …
    2) … they really do research and they are honest
    3) They need money to fly the DC 3
    4) That text may be a computer translation (or simply genlish = german english)

  49. At least they are measuring the thickness in a reproducible way and indeed last year reported that the ice was “thicker than expected” from models no doubt. Far better than the very silly and pointless Catlin expeditions.
    Cheers Paul

  50. Freshwater?
    For some reason I had always thought that much of the sea ice in the Arctic was frozen sea water.
    .

  51. Michael Jankowski says:
    August 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm
    “It’s almost certainly thinner than it was 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000, and ~22000 yrs ago, too.”
    Certainly not thinner than it was 6 or 7 thousand years ago when (at least) the Arctic ocean north of Greenland was ice free for an extended period:
    http://www.ngu.no/en-gb/Aktuelt/2008/Less-ice-in-the-Arctic-Ocean-6000-7000-years-ago/
    This is also consistent with the GISP2 ice core from Greenland showing temperatures in the Arctic 2-3 K warmer during Holocene optimum 7-8 thousand years ago.
    Todays arctic temperatures and sea ice extent is certainly not unprecedented during the holocene.

  52. The next thing we’ll be hearing is that the NW Passage is open:
    http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/nwp/nwp07.png
    http://iup.physik.uni-bremen.de:8084/nwp/nwp09.png
    It’s been the seasonal lie for the last few years now. Corrupt scientists using their falsified data to issue useless sea ice maps.
    Duh..little do they know that this year we’re one sep ahead! We have our own man up there with his Polar-oid to reveal the truth to the world. Here is his picture of the actual conditions in the NW Passage, the McClure Strait no less:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/IcebreakerNasa.jpg
    Our intrepid man also had time to dash of a quick painting. Again he testifies that these are the actual conditions Aug. anno 2010:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Caspar_David_Friedrich_006.jpg
    Keep these images firm in mind when you hear the words “North West Passage” to fight the propaganda that its open. These deluded activists will stop at nothing to have us beleive that. In fact ‘our man’ caught a picture of that well known ‘warmist’ Mark C. Serreze (NSIDC) trying to make it through the Passage just so that he could say “I told you so!”
    http://www.joe-ks.com/archives_jul2009/NewfoundlandIcebreaker.jpg
    “Hey Mark. Is that what you mean by human influence reducing Arctic ice cover? (Like the new haircut!)”

  53. “Researchers have been observing that the ice is getting thinner and thinner for several years now. ”
    April 29th 2009
    “All in all, the ice was somewhat thicker than during the last years in the same regions, which leads to the conclusion that Arctic ice cover recovers temporarily.”
    http://www.awi.de/en/news/press_releases/detail/item/research_aircraft_polar_5_finishes_arctic_expedition_unique_measurement_flights_in_the_central_arc/?cHash=e36036fcb4
    I wonder what they might find:
    http://climateinsiders.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/pips_ice_average_thickness_metres1.png

  54. Basic stuff. I was glad to see them fly and record last year and happy to see them at it again this year. (Also, I shamefully admit I was hoping they’d fly over the Catlin Arctic Circus and make appropriate gestures.)
    We need more ‘basic stuff’ when it comes to climate research. 50 or 60 more years of flyovers and we just might know something. Kudos to the Wegener crew.

  55. Sorry guys, there seems to be an ugly error in the translation.
    Does somebody have a link to the german version. Didnt’t
    find one at AWI’s website.
    For the records – my mother language is german –
    so maybe I could assist in correcting the translation
    KlausB

  56. Ice Volume:
    Long term Trend = -2% year
    2007 El Nino = – 40 %
    2008/9 2 La Ninas = +15%
    2010 El Nino = ? ? ?
    Actually the last 2 years were a Quite Large gain.
    Also, each Winter gains 6 feet in thickness.
    Now I thought it would ALL melt, except that heavy Ice that has never budged from Greenland & Elsmere.
    Silly me – – I was right – – sort of. But the heavy Ice moved out. I now think that because it is HEAVY CUBES, it won’t melt as fast, weither. further, the 60-year Cycle implies 2 La Nina coming up.

  57. Question. Why the paths chosen? Can’t we get a more radial view than just up against the Greenland coast?

  58. Ralph, when sea water freezes the salt doesn’t freeze with it. In fact, you can drink from top of the ice melt water pools.

  59. Pamela; I wonder how much sea ice ponds have you tasted 😉 Actually I have sucked on sea ice and used it in drinks.
    After you rinse it off with fresh water it is quite sweet. 🙂 pg

  60. Village Idiot says:
    August 21, 2010 at 5:26 am
    HUH? those images you link to have nothing at all to do with the NWP as it is today. Have you looked at any of the visible imagery? You may not want to trust passive microwave imagery, even though the brightness temperature between open water and seaice is vastly different, but the optical imagery from satellites such as MODIS make is obvious how much open water there currently is in the NWP.

  61. RE: “bubbagyro says:
    August 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm
    “…That 0.2 meter reduction represents zzz number of Manhattans (or is it “ice sufficient to make 7.8 billion Manhattans) Do the GISS and PIOMAS people drink too many Manhattans? Is that the crux of their problems?”
    Oh, thank you! I needed a good laugh!

  62. OK. I’ve scanned the comments, and haven’t seen the words”thermohaline circulation” once. Did I just miss it? Or has “thermohaline circulation” gone out of fashion, and all mention of it been banned from discussions about arctic ice?
    As I understand it, when the sea water freezes a process occurs wherein brine is removed from the ice, making the ice less salty than pure sea water. But what happens to the brine?
    The brine is able to reach temperatures far below freezing without freezing, due to its high salt content. It apparently bores its way down through the ice, and exits via the bottom of the newly formed ice. It then is immediately much heavier than the less-salty water it enters, and does not immediately and completely mix with that less-salty water. Instead it sinks down, down, down and feeds the thermohaline circulation’s “beginning.”
    Thermohaline circulation is difficult to study, poorly understood, and the fellows who study it are under-funded. Who wants to spend money on gizmos and gadgets measuring temperatures and salinity and currents a mile under the sea, when they can get immediate results funding Hansen, and seeing immediate “adjustments?”
    Be that as it may, it still amazes me that we can discuss fresh water entering and leaving the arctic, without discussing the departure of so much salt via thermohaline circulation.

  63. PS: I wanted to add an interesting observation noted by someone who actually stuck his head under the arctic ice, and observed the underside as the ice formed. He noticed ice did not merely form at the top, where the sub-zero winds blew, but also in the water under the ice. Interesting peper-thin plates of ice formed in the water below the ice and rose up to the underside of the ice, becoming part of the thickening ice-cover.
    I wondered if the formation of these plates of ice, down where the sub-zero winds can’t reach, might not be due to the super-cooled brine sinking down through the less-salty water.

  64. Caleb says:
    August 22, 2010 at 3:28 am
    PS: I wanted to add an interesting observation noted by someone who actually stuck his head under the arctic ice, and observed the underside as the ice formed. He noticed ice did not merely form at the top, where the sub-zero winds blew, but also in the water under the ice. Interesting peper-thin plates of ice formed in the water below the ice and rose up to the underside of the ice, becoming part of the thickening ice-cover.
    I wondered if the formation of these plates of ice, down where the sub-zero winds can’t reach, might not be due to the super-cooled brine sinking down through the less-salty water.

    It’s called ‘frazil’ ice and is the first stage of seaice formation, it usually involves convection pushing supercooled water down where it eventually nucleates to form little platelets of ice which eventually float to the surface where they agglomerate.

  65. Phil,
    I like that word, “frazil.”
    My understanding is that frazil continues to form even when the ice has grown thick and relatively rigid, so that the water beneath the ice lies calm and undisturbed, even when winds howl and claw at gale force above the ice. The fact frazil does not grow from the bottom of the ice, (which would seem to make sense because that is where the water is closest to the sub-zero air,) but rather at some distance beneath the bottom of the ice, intrigues me.
    How far below the bottom of the ice can frazil form? Does anyone know?
    Also I have seen certain maps which show water from the Atlantic entering the arctic at shallow levels, and water entering from the Pacific at deeper levels, and these Atlantic and Pacific currents retaining their identity and curving hither and thither, but I haven’t seen a very clear map of where water descends. Does anyone know where (and exactly how) the water going into the Arctic Sea goes down? To become the deep current exiting the Arctic Sea? The beginning of the thermohaline circulation?
    I sure would like to know more, but get the feeling science has a lot to learn, and most people are talking through their hats to a certain extent, when discussing thermohaline circulation.
    Maybe I ought ask, in tips and notes to WUWT, that thermohaline circulation be discussed in a general manner, so that whatever little is known can be tossed about, torn to shreds, and discussed…….in our typical, jolly, WUWT manner.

  66. Caleb says:
    August 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm
    Phil,
    I like that word, “frazil.”
    My understanding is that frazil continues to form even when the ice has grown thick and relatively rigid, so that the water beneath the ice lies calm and undisturbed, even when winds howl and claw at gale force above the ice. The fact frazil does not grow from the bottom of the ice, (which would seem to make sense because that is where the water is closest to the sub-zero air,) but rather at some distance beneath the bottom of the ice, intrigues me.
    How far below the bottom of the ice can frazil form? Does anyone know?

    I don’t know but supercooled water won’t freeze until it encounters a nucleus, so cold water from the bottom of the ice would descend until it nucleated whereupon the crystal will start to grow.

  67. Phil,
    Interesting. I wonder why the bottom of the ice itself doesn’t act as the nucleus, with crystles spearing downwards.
    Alas, so much to learn, but here comes the Monday sunrise. Have a good week.

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