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Climate Change: How Can We Measure The Volume Of Sea Ice Of The Arctic Ocean..?

Sea Ice

ESA Satellites Looking Deeper Into Sea Ice

  • This year, satellites saw the extent of Arctic oceanic ice hit a record low since measurements began in the 1970s. ESA’s SMOS and CryoSat satellites are now taking a deeper look by measuring the volume of the sea-ice cover.
  • Measurements from ESA’s Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission show that ice has thinned significantly in the seasonal ice zones, with extensive areas less than half a metre thick.
This image shows the Arctic as observed by the...

This image shows the Arctic as observed by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite on September 16, 2007. The image shows a record sea ice minimum in the Arctic. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Sea ice has a large influence on the heat exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere. The heat flux can change depending on the thickness of ice on the sea and the air temperature. Sea ice is also affecting atmospheric circulation at mid-latitudes.
  • Although not originally designed for looking at ice, the SMOS satellite’s data are being evaluated to monitor Arctic sea ice.
  • The results reveal that radiation emitted by the ice allows SMOS to penetrate the surface, yielding ice-thickness measurements down to 50 cm– mainly the thinner and younger ice at the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

Evaluating The Volume Of Young Ice… / Sea Ice

  • This allows improved evaluation of the volume of the young ice, which is the basis of old ice in subsequent years. Thick, multi-year ice indicates the health of the Arctic Ocean’s ice cover.
  • “The amount of thin ice expected during the next freeze-up is about 12 million sq km, covering a larger part of the Arctic Ocean than ever before,” said Lars Kaleschke from the University of Hamburg’s Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability.
  • “The thick ice that has survived the summer, however, covers only 2.2 million sq km.”

Arctic Sea Ice Extent

Arctic Sea Ice Extent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • The advantage of SMOS is it covers the entire Arctic Ocean on a daily basis, though the resolution is relatively low, at 35×35 sq km per pixel.
  • For a more detailed look at thick oceanic ice and ice shield thickness, ESA’s dedicated ice mission, CryoSat, uses a different technique and higher resolution along its ground track – about 300 m.
  • Earlier this year, the first seasonal variation map of Arctic sea-ice thickness from CryoSat was revealed. It was the first map of its kind generated using data from a radar altimeter and at such a high resolution.

CryoSat Measures Winter Sea Ice In The Arctic…

  • With the freeze-up now in progress, CryoSat has resumed measurements of winter ice on the sea in the Arctic. Over the coming months, CryoSat data will reveal the effect of this summer’s record minimum on ice thickness and volume.
  • The combination of the daily SMOS data on thin ice and the very detailed measurements from CryoSat provides a unique monitoring capability of the volume of polar ice.
NOAA Projected Arctic changes.

NOAA Projected Arctic changes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • It is important to keep a close watch on the Arctic because this inaccessible and very sensitive ecosystem is rapidly changing. The disappearance of ice has a major effect on the northern hemisphere.
  • ESA will continue to monitor the Arctic with the upcoming Sentinel series of Earth-observing satellites for Europe’s Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) program.
  • The new sea ice thickness results are part of SMOS Ice project funded by the ESA’s Support To Science Element (STSE).

by ESA

Sea Ice

Arctic Ice Melt, Psychopathic Capitalism and the Corporate Media

Truth-Out, on Sat, 06 Oct 2012 08:12:25 -0700

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, warns that the Arcticmay be ice-free in summer as soon as 2015. Such a massive loss would have a warming effect roughly equivalent to all human activity to date. In other words, a 

‘Arctic Ocean’s  ice could be gone in 25 years’

Ynetnews, on Sat, 06 Oct 2012 00:20:39 -0700

A recent report complied by environmental experts stated an alarming find: The rapid rate in which the Arctic Ocean‘s ice caps are melting may mean that the ice on the sea will cease to exist within the next 20-25 years. Scientists from the National Snow and 

Canada poised for massive undersea land grab off Arctic, Atlantic coasts

Ottawa Citizen, on Thu, 04 Oct 2012 19:14:56 -0700

One of the other papers concerned the Lomonosov Ridge, another undersea mountain range that federal scientists believe is an extension of North America running from Greenland and Ellesmere Island to the Siberian side of the Arctic Ocean.



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