Arctic Ice Volume Has Increased 25% Since May, 2008

By Steve Goddard and Anthony Watts

The Navy requires accurate sea ice information for their operations, and has spent a lot of effort over the years studying, measuring, and operating in Arctic ice both above and below, such as they did in the ICEX 2009 exercise.

The US Navy attack submarine USS Annapolis (SSN 760) rests in the Arctic Ocean after surfacing through three feet of ice during Ice Exercise 2009 on March 21, 2009. The two-week training exercise, which is used to test submarine operability and war-fighting capability in Arctic conditions, also involved the USS Helena (SSN 725), the University of Washington and personnel from the Navy Arctic Submarine Laboratory.

So, if you are planning on bringing a $900 million Los Angeles class submarine through the ice, as the captain might say to the analyst after receiving an ice report: “you’d better be damn sure of the ice thickness before I risk the boat and the crew”.

Below is a blink comparator of U.S. Navy PIPS sea ice forecast data, zoomed to show the primary Arctic ice zone.

The blink map above shows the change in ice thickness from May 27, 2008 to May 27, 2010. As you can see, there has been a large increase in the area of ice more than two metres thick – turquoise, green, yellow and red. Much of the thin (blue and purple) ice has been replaced by thicker ice.