The Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Ocean Research of the Helmholtz Association here reports that its Polar 5 research plane, loaded with measurement instruments, has just completed a 6-week expedition over the high Arctic, along with 2 other planes from the European and American space agencies ESA and NASA, to measure, among other things, the thickness of the ice.
On May 6 the Polar 5 Arctic expedition plane returned to Bremerhaven, Germany, where scientists will evaluate the volumes of data on sea ice, trace gases, aerosols and meteorological parameters that have been collected.
The Polar 5 route started in Barrow (Alaska) went over Inuvik, Resolute Bay, Eureka, Alert (all in North Canada), Station Nord (Greenland) and all the way to Longyearbyen at Spitzbergen. These locations were the base stations for the measurement flights over the uninhabited Arctic regions. The total flight time for measurement and travel was 130 hours. One of the main tasks was large-area sea ice thickness measurement in the inner Arctic, and this was done in close cooperation with the University of Alberta.
Preliminary results show thinner ice?
They used a four-metre long electromagnetic ice thickness probe, also called an EM-Bird. The Polar 5 towed the probe on an 80-meter long cable at a height of 15 meters over the ice surface. The AWI press release states:
A preliminary evaluation shows that one-year ice in the Beaufort Sea (north of Canada/Alaska ) is about 20-30 centimeters thinner this year than in the last 2 years. Ice thickness in 2009 was on average 1.7 meters, 2010 at 1.6 meters and 2011 at 1.4 meters. ‘I would expect this one-year thin sea ice will not survive the melt season this year“, estimates Dr. Stefan Hendricks. In a few weeks his colleagues at the sea ice group at the Alfred Wegener Institute will introduce their model calculations for the 2011 sea ice minimum.”
So the ice in the Beaufort Sea has gotten thinner? How does this assertion compare with PIPS, see here? Here are the PIPS ice thickness charts for the last three years, all for May 1st. Green is thicker and blue is thinner (see their site for the scale). For 2009:
and for 2010:
and for 2011:
Hmm. Clearly we see that somebody is overflowingly filled with crap. The charts show that Arctic sea ice is getting thicker.
So what is going on? We do know that the AWI is funded by the government, which happens not to be interested in any news that may suggest they have been going down the wrong path and living in a planet-rescue fantasy. No, the ice has to be getting thinner – even if it is getting thicker – and their masterminded plan to rush into renewable energy indeed is going to rescue the planet. The scientists were probably summoned by the Klimateburo and told to watch what they release to the public, or else get the big cut-off! Who knows.
In the meantime maybe we can find an explanation for the huge discrepancy.