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.
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 Much of the thin (blue and purple) ice has been replaced by thicker ice.