Study: Arctic Sea Ice Too Thick for Icebreakers

Global warming alarmists like to talk mostly about sea ice extent and how it’s rapidly declining. They fear that as sea ice recedes, that all the melted ice will cover coastal cities and islands.

But what they conveniently leave out of their discussion is sea ice thickness. Ice might recede, but it can also grow in thickness at the same time.

In terms of gauging how severe the conditions are for sea travel, ice thickness is the most important criterion. If the ice is extensive but thin, icebreaker ships won’t have any trouble getting through. But even if the ice is receding, it can be nearly impossible for ships to make their way through the ice if it’s too thick.

We saw this not too long ago when a team of scientists got stuck in Antarctic sea ice during their expedition to document the melting ice caps. They were stuck there for nine days before they were finally airlifted to safety. Three other icebreaker ships had tried rescuing them, but they all got stuck in the ice.

A recent study is showing that ice conditions in the Arctic are still too dangerous, even for icebreaker ships. The Daily Caller reported:

Scientists found that “even in today’s climate, ice conditions must still be considered severe.”

Scientists with York University carried out electromagnetic ice thickness surveys during April and May in 2011 and 2015 to measure the thickness of sea ice over the Northwest Passage — “a system of gulfs, straits, sounds, and channels in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago connecting the Beaufort Sea in the west with Baffin Bay in the east,” according to researchers.

“These show modal thicknesses between 1.8 and 2.0 m in all regions. Mean thicknesses over 3 m and thick, deformed ice were observed over some multi-year ice regimes shown to originate from the Arctic Ocean,” according to the study published by the American Geophysical Union.

“Thick ice features more than 100 m wide and thicker than 4 m occurred frequently,” reads the study. “Results indicate that even in today’s climate, ice conditions must still be considered severe.”

While the study was conducted in late winter, researchers say their results have major implications for potential shipping lanes during the summertime. Winter ice conditions influence spring ice melt, especially for thick sea ice, and change how scientists model Arctic summer ice breakup.

“This is the first-ever such survey in the Northwest Passage, and we were surprised to find this much thick ice in the region in late winter, despite the fact that there is more and more open water in recent years during late summer,” lead researcher Christian Haas said in a statement.

“This points to the importance of ice transport from the high Arctic and melt processes during the spring season, which critically depend on weather conditions and how they affect the melting of thick ice,” Haas said.

Interestingly enough, part of his data comes from late winter 2015 which was marked by rapid sea ice melt. It was “the second lowest April ice extent in the satellite record,” according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). Low April sea ice extent was followed by sea ice extent that “was at daily record low levels” during May.

But as Haas’ study shows, sea ice extent is only part of the story. What also matters in terms of Arctic navigability is sea ice thickness. Haas notes in his study that “[a]part from ice coverage and ice type, ice thickness is the most important sea ice property required to assess hazard potential and to initialize predictions of ice breakup, deformation, and melt.”

What do they mean by “even in today’s climate?” Do they mean that even in today’s climate of rapid global warming, sea ice still manages to pose a safety hazard for ships? Maybe they should rethink their opinion of our current climate. I’m not saying that the earth doesn’t heat up or cool off, depending on its own climatic cycles and solar activity. But their assumption from the beginning is that the earth is heating up, and it’s all due to SUVs and bovine flatulence. Their only solution to this man-created problem is to bankrupt the oil industry through taxation and regulations and subsidize the green industry with massive taxpayer-funded grants.

The whole thing is political. They can’t under any circumstances accept that humans just might not have much if anything to do with affecting the global climate. They must believe in manmade global warming, despite evidence to the contrary.