Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Whom to Believe?

Here (and below) is what the National Snow and Ice Data Center up the road in Boulder put out recently as a map of the multi-year old sea ice versus first year ice in the Arctic. I always have trouble with that because wouldn't all the sea ice which did not melt last Summer necessarily be older than one year? The helpful spokeswoman at the NSIDC has tried to explain things to me but I am apparently too dense about science.

What interests me is that the area the poor Caitlin Arctic Survey are looking at with the ice thickness radar (yellow shoe like thing in the photo) is in the area the NSIDC says is first year ice. But the guys on the ground say this: "We've noticed that the ice is older and thicker than before..." Well, is it first year ice or older ice?
Finally compare the sea ice age map to the minimum the sea ice reached last September 21. Is the area of 1 to 2 year old ice in the NSIDC graph as large as what survived over a year? Why do you think it's substantially less? Does the sea ice melt in the winter?

It's a mystery to me.

UPDATE: I went to the website of the CAS and the leader says that the ice they're traveling on is only 1.5 to 2 meters thick. He knows this from the hundreds of holes he has drilled in the ice. Drilling in the ice? What, has the ice thickness radar crapped out?


John Hiatt wrote:

"To melt your icy blue heart,
Should I start?
To turn what's beeen frozen for years,
Into a river of tears."

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