But The Ice Is Getting Thicker, Mr Shukman!
By Paul Homewood
As part of their propaganda drive for Paris, the BBC’s “Science” Editor has taken a fossil fuel powered trip to the Arctic, to call in on a fossil fuel powered Norwegian scientific expedition, which is measuring and monitoring Arctic ice.
The expedition ship has been escorted into the ice pack by an icebreaker, the KV Svalbard, which will no doubt help to break up the ice a little bit more!
Changes in the Arctic Ocean are so profound that the region is entering what amounts to "a new era", according to Norwegian scientists.
A switch from a permanent cover of thick ice to a new state where thinner ice vanishes in the summer will have far-reaching implications, they say.
The Norwegian Polar Institute has been mounting an expedition to the Arctic Ocean during the year’s coldest months.
Scientists have to brave extreme temperatures and total darkness.
Their aim is to gather data on the condition of the ice as it freezes during the polar winter.
A research vessel, the Lance, has been deployed to an area about 500 miles from the North Pole and allowed to drift with the pack-ice.
The director of the institute, Jan-Gunnar Winther, said that measuring what happens in the winter was vital to improving scenarios for future climate change.
A major focus of the expedition is to examine the consequences of having less so-called multi-year ice and a greater proportion of younger ice
We have almost no data from the Arctic Ocean in winter – with few exceptions – so this information is very important to be able understand the processes when the ice is freezing in early winter and we’ll also stay here when it melts in the summer," he explained.
"A new era has entered, we are going from old ice to young ice, thinner ice and the climate models used today have not captured this new regime or ice situation.
"So knowing how it is today can improve climate models which again improve the projection for global climate change."
A major focus of the expedition is to examine the consequences of the Arctic Ocean having less of the so-called multi-year ice – older, tougher floes which have survived for several years – and a greater proportion of younger ice which is thinner.
Apparently, nobody has told them that multi year ice has been steadily building back up for the last few years, and now stands at the highest level since the winter of 2007, before much of it was swept out of the Arctic basin in 2007 and 2008.
Volume too has been growing rapidly and is back to 2006 levels.
Note, particularly, the big increase in 3-year ice this winter, converted from last year’s 2-year ice.
Multi year ice, by definition, takes a long time to build back up, and nobody knows what might happen to it this summer.
But what is indisputable is that, currently, it is on the increase again and not declining.
You can check out on the stills below how, progressively, how 1-year ice turned into 2-year, then into 3-year and so on.