The Plot Thickens

I smashed my toe up pretty good this week in a skiing mishap.  Those who have smashed their big toe will know how hard it is to walk without it.  So, I had some extra time to sit by the computer.  One of my favorite pastimes is observing arctic sea ice formation.  The information age being what it is, I can gather real time data on the state of nearly everything from half a world away.Gif Created on Make A Gif

In my downtime, I  put together this short animation of ice thickness.  It’s been steadily increasing for the last few years.  Don’t wait for anyone in the MSM to correct themselves after they continually talked about declining polar ice.
I pulled the above images from the US Navy archive and used a GIF maker to animate them.  You can see that Arctic ice sheet has been spectacularly gaining mass for the last few years.  Looking at the wind and temperature chart below, it’s not hard to see how ice gains thickness even as it remains steady in area.

Here is a snap shot of ice formation occurring yesterday(Feb 4 2011) off the coast of the Russian island of Novya Zemlya.  Also below is the sea temperature, wave height and direction, and air temperature from the next day. You can clearly see how calm seas are promoting new ice growth (light blue on the sat. map) in the top right corner.  Further west,  south of the Svalbard Islands, the 6-8m waves are clearly hindering new ice area (less light blue on satellite map.)  Further to this point is the observation that wind and water has more to do with ice extent than just air temperature.  With big waves splashing -1 degree water and  ice around the ice shelf in -10 degree air temperatures, you can easily see how ice would continuously coat itself and sink.  The area doesn’t expand much but the volume would.

(note on weather map: color bands with arrows are wave height and direction, light colored numbers are air temperatures, and ocean temperatures are opaque layer underneath wave data.)

So until my toe heals I’ll be watching the ice.  My guess is by Monday that bay will freeze over but who knows.  It’s my version of a reality show!

Source material:

satellite map of Barentz Sea ice from  University of Illinois

weather map of Barentz Sea wind, water, and air temperatures from Norwegian Meterological Institute

US Navy PIPS archive of ice thickness from US Navy

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2 Responses to The Plot Thickens

  1. geof says:

    It’s a really weird thing, watching ice. Even though nothing much happens, there still is something interesting going on every day.

    You probably heard of the new satellite that can actually measure ice thickness wot just went up, ESA’s CryoSat.
    Haven’t looked at anything myself, as it only went live a few days/weeks ago.

    On the toe front: keeping a lividity log?

    • Dave says:

      Yep, I’m excited to see some data collection by cryosat though I haven’t heard how public the data will be. Curious to see how good sat data will compare to the Navy PIPS data.

      re toe:
      Ha! Weren’t we designing a game where we were assigned a triffling injury to blog about? Memory fails me a little. Going to try to get my ski boots on tomorrow as I’ve got several trips in the next 7 days planed.

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