Reader Steinar J writes:
Included is a Word document describing sea temperatures in the vicinity of Iceland, sea ice extent and an excerpt,
(translated from Swedish) from an eyewitness report from the Swedish icebreaker tour to The North Pole in 2018.
In this area of the ocean the temperature drops (cut from Google Earth. The green dots show where it is active Argo measuring buoys ).
Argo buoys, over 3,200 of them, are scattered around in the oceans of the world. These buoys measures the water temperature at various depths down to 2000 meters depth. In the depicted sea area in fig. 1, the temperature has dropped since measurements began at the beginning of the 2000s. This is in the middle of the Gulf Stream. Here is the temperature development in the upper 100 meters:
The temperature trend is not very different if one examines the water further down:
Evolution of ocean temperature in the range 100 m to 1900 m below the surface.
This is consistent with observations that show that the sea ice slowly has begun to increase in extent and volume again. The cyclic variation of temperature in the north has apparently given us the beginning of an expected temperature drop.
Sea ice trends in the north, comparing the minimum ice extent from year to year since 2000
In 2018, Sweden sent a scientific expedition going to the North Pole by using the icebreaker Oden. This they finally managed, but here is a note from the boat, called “Veckobrev från Isbrytaren Oden 2018-08-10” (“Weekly letter from the icebreaker Oden 2018-08-10”):
“… .. It is important for this research expedition that we come as far north as possible so as to measure on the masses of air that originate from the pack ice to the greatest possible extent. Other research projects are constantly ongoing such as ice cores, CTD, weather balloons. The ice that is about 90-100% concentrated, is thick and compact, this in my highest non-scientific perspective as a navigator, but I have been up here before and not seen these conditions since 2005. Life in the ship floats on without problems. The animal life is sparse.
As I mentioned in the text above, it has been very compact ice, I have not seen similar conditions since 2005. 2016, which was the last time when Oden was so far north it went in about 5 days from the ice edge to this latitude with average speed 6 knots. It has taken considerably longer this time and with an average speed of about 3 knots. We are about 45 Nm (83km) from the North Pole at the time of writing. When the ice offers this resistance you will be happy as an ice navigator, as it has constantly been gloomy news about “extremely small ice distribution in the Arctic” “Ice-free in the North Polar Sea” “polar bears drown” “shipping companies planning routes across the North Pole”. Yes, it is no polar bears that drown here. It may even be that it can be difficult to bring down the paws in the water. We are too high up on the globe for there to be good satellite images to take advantage of, so what is in our help now is the helicopter. We do not drive blindly and if we run out of our helicopter recon, we would rather stop if the weather does not allow flight. The fact that you stop then depends on whether we actually do not see if we are going into an area with extremely difficult ice that can make it difficult for us to continue, turn or even get stuck. I had not hesitated during previous expeditions to continue without a helicopter recon, but in the prevailing ice conditions it is unwise. In fact, we use Odin’s all resources and systems to carry us out. The weather has been what you can expect from the summer in the Arctic, around 1-0 ° C in the air and about -1 ° C in the water, the visibility varies between poor to really bad and on some occasions really nice. We must take care to fly the road as soon as possible, so we always know where we are going. “
Additional comments should be unnecessary.
Water Temperature-graphs are produced using the ” Global Argo Marine Atlas “.
Sea ice trends are taken from NSIDC
Link to the letter from Oden.