Stung by some unusually constructive criticism from Anthony Watts we have (somewhat hurriedly) added several new pages to the Great White Con “Resources” section of this web site. They contain the sort of information that is rather tricky to update automatically on a daily basis, and concentrate on resources that help the interested searcher after truth get a handle on the thickness and hence volume of the sea ice in the Arctic, on a regional as well as pan Arctic scale.
[Graph by Chris Reynolds on the Dosbat blog]
The second section is entitled “Ice Mass Balance Buoys“. As the name hopefully suggests, this section displays data reported by the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory’s currently active ice mass balance buoys in a variety of novel formats. These buoys are deployed on a regular basis at selected locations across the Arctic, and report on a number of different parameters including snow depth, ice thickness and temperature. By way of example here’s a couple of reports from IMB 2013F, which was originally deployed last August on what was then classified as “first year” ice in the Beaufort Sea. First of all here’s the Google Maps/Earth view that reveals how the buoy has moved around the Arctic since then, and shows how clicking on one of the “pushpins” reveals the values of a variety of interesting metrics on a daily basis:
As you can see, last August the thickness of the ice floe that the buoy is located upon was 1.4 metres thick. If you click through to the live map and experiment you will discover, amongst a variety of other things, that the ice under the buoy is now 1.68 meters thick, with an additional 49 cm of snow on top of that.
A second set of images shows graphs revealing the temperature above, below and within the ice, currently on a monthly basis:
Click on the graph to view a larger version. This one requires a certain amount of interpretation, but the first thing to note is that the numbers across the top represent the position of thermistors spaced 10 cm apart on a pole that is mounted vertically through the ice floe. Number 1 is in the air above the floe, the rightmost side of the graph (number 26 in this case) is in the water below the ice floe, and somewhere in between those extremes the temperature sensors can also be in the midst of either ice or snow.
At the end of March the interface between ice and snow in this case was somewhere between sensors 8 and 9, and hence at a temperature of around – 7 degrees Celsius, by which time the buoy had moved from the Canadian waters where it started into the area of the Beaufort Sea north of Alaska.
For further discussion about the interpretation of our new resources please use the comment section on the “About Our Arctic Sea Ice Resources” page. For technical observations and suggestions for improvements feel free to comment below!