Thick Ice Area Has More Than Doubled Since 2008

According to US Navy PIPS2 data, the area of ice greater than 2.5 metres thick has more than doubled since the same date in 2008.

Cryosat 2 recently confirmed the accuracy of PIPS2.

About stevengoddard

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18 Responses to Thick Ice Area Has More Than Doubled Since 2008

  1. Scott says:

    It’ll be interesting to see if the blobs of thicker stuff near the Alaskan/Russian side will act as a buffer against or even prevent complete melt in that region. If they do, we might see significantly higher extents than last year. If they don’t, then the valuable thick ice will be lost in vain.


  2. Neven says:

    A much better question is: are those ‘blobs of thicker stuff’ real? What do you think, Steven?

    Here’s the last available ice thickness map (for May 23rd) before PIPS went offline.

  3. Neven says:

    Thanks for that. That was interesting.

    I still think it’s an artefact (PIPS is a model after all). The ice in the Beaufort region was about 2.5 meters before it started piling up to 5 meters into a huge blob. That means that there was an area twice the size of the red blob that doubled over to form 5 meter thick ice. Just eyeballing it seems possible, but it wasn’t all compaction back then. There was a considerable amount of melting going on as well (take for instance the high SSTs at the time).

    But okay, let’s say it isn’t an artefact and it is possible for ice to be compressed to a thickness of 5 meters (even if there’s no shore to push up against). The thing is: that huge red blob appears towards the very end of the melting season. We’re first of half July now. July 2007 also had a pretty big Beaufort Gyre if I’m not mistaken. And ice was probably thicker at the start of the melting season then it was at the start of this one.

  4. Neven says:

    OK, you could be right. We’ll see how this one develops. The BG is going to turn at least a couple of days more. The ratio between area and extent is showing that there is some compression going on.

  5. Neven says:

    Thanks, that was helpful.

  6. Neven says:

    Steven, did you see the latest NRL announcement on the PIPS website?

    Since late April/early May 2011, PIPS 2.0 has developed an unrealistic opening in the North Pole region. On 22 May 2011, PIPS 2.0 stopped running because of a numerical instability. Since that time, we have been carefully trying to diagnose this problem (checking for anomalous atmospheric forcing, initial fields, boundary conditions, assimilated satellite ice fields, etc). During this process, the system’s ocean model time step was reduced and the system is currently running again. The unobserved opening near the North Pole is still present and can be seen in the ice concentration and ice thickness fields. PLEASE USE THESE FIELDS WITH CAUTION! We have subsequently filled in the period from October 2010 to present with the hindcast using the reduced ocean model time step. Because PIPS 2.0 is a legacy system and will soon be replaced with a new ice nowcast/forecast system (see below), little additional effort will be expended to keep it running.

    • Is there some reason why I should care about that small hole near the pole?

      • Travis says:

        The “small” hole at the pole, or at least the hole and the unrealistically thin area around it, does not appear on the MODIS satellite imagery, and is about as big as the thick-ice areas you wrote about. If the missing ice at the pole is an artifact, does that not imply that the thick-ice spots might also be an artifact?

  7. Scott says:

    Neven, weren’t you just making the same comments on ?

    Nice to see you expanding your horizons.

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