Environment

CryoSat records small decrease in Arctic ice volume

CryoSat records small decrease...
The new CryoSat measurements show a 6.4 percent decrease in the volume of Arctic sea ice (Image: ESA)
The new CryoSat measurements show a 6.4 percent decrease in the volume of Arctic sea ice (Image: ESA)
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A map of Arctic ice thickness for operational purposes (Image: ESA)
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A map of Arctic ice thickness for operational purposes (Image: ESA)
The new CryoSat measurements show a 6.4 percent decrease in the volume of Arctic sea ice (Image: ESA)
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The new CryoSat measurements show a 6.4 percent decrease in the volume of Arctic sea ice (Image: ESA)
A map of Arctic sea ice thickness in October/November 2014 (Image: ESA)
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A map of Arctic sea ice thickness in October/November 2014 (Image: ESA)
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The European Space Agency’s CryoSat mission has returned its latest map of Arctic sea ice volumes, recording a slight decrease in thickness over previous measurements. The data flies in the face of the previous downward trend, which was much greater, but is unlikely to indicate a shift in the accepted pattern of degradation.

Long-term satellite records show that Arctic ice volume fluctuates from season to season, but details a consistent downward trend throughout the year. The new CryoSat measurements, which were recorded in October and November 2014, show a 6.4 percent decrease in the volume of arctic sea ice, with 10,200 cubic km (6,338 cubic miles) now remaining.

However, despite the drop, the figure is actually the second-highest recorded since the satellite started collecting data in 2010. The team is keen to point out that this likely doesn’t indicate a shift away from the long-term downward trend, recommending that the new data be viewed in the context of more established climate records.

A map of Arctic sea ice thickness in October/November 2014 (Image: ESA)
A map of Arctic sea ice thickness in October/November 2014 (Image: ESA)

CryoSat orbits at 700 km (435 miles), and was launched in 2010 with a planned 3-year life span. However, the mission has been extended far beyond its original timeframe, and is still going strong today. The project is designed to monitor polar sea ice across the entire Arctic ocean, observing changes in thickness, with the goal of contributing to our understanding of the long-term downward trend in volume.

To do so, it carries a radar altimeter designed specifically for the detection of ice. Known as the Synthetic Aperture Interferometric Radar Altimeter (SIRAL), the instrument is able to observe tiny variations in the heights of ice and sea level.

"For reliable predictions, we should try other approaches, like considering what is forcing the changes, incorporating the CryoSat data into predictive models based on solid physics, or simple waiting until more measurements have been collected," said Professor Andrew Shepherd of University College London.

With the project now officially extended to 2017, the team has begun looking into other uses for the satellite. For example, there are plans to use data collected over the last month to help vessels navigate the tricky waters north of Alaska and eastern Russia.

Source: ESA

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4 comments
christopher
Yay. More data about a subject that our race, no matter how much we might wish otherwise, is powerless to change the direction of. 7.3+ billion people are not going to stop, nor even change direction noticeably.
Synchro
There are some important details missing from this article that are present in the original. The 6.4% drop (10,900 -> 10,200km^3) is since October last year, and the 'reduction' is when compared with an apparently larger drop the year before. I've not been able to find the previous year's figure on their site; they do mention a 1,479km^3 decrease, but it's not clear what date range this is for. Regardless, 6.4% is one year is massive. If it continues even at this lower rate, it will be all gone in 16 years.
It was nice to read that they verify the satellite data by physical measurements too.
Robert in Vancouver
So this satellite shows the ice is thicker than normal, and other tests show the same results, yet the enviro's say we should disregard all the scientific facts.
Looks like the scare mongering enviro-nuts have run out scary lies they can tell, and are now telling us to just 'believe' in global warming, like the religious belief that it is.
Lbrewer42
I can almost laugh at the ridiculousness of modern "science" and trends - but its just so sad. AGW is one of the only "scientific" theories that is never wrong. No matter what happens - they claim it is a part of their science.
When they first stated out they said palm trees would be growing on the Great Lakes' shores by 2000. Then as things got cooler through the coming years they started saying that they knew this would happen b/c global warming actually causes global cooling (convenient they could not be wrong no matter what) - and the public STILL bought it.
Record ice developed (was it two Christmases ago already?) when the ship/people from the UN were trapped in ice. It was the warmest part of the year for that hemisphere - and there were still record levels of ice. Some of their "mission" was to get data of the lack of ice to sacrifice to their sacred cow of AGW (of course we ignore they were there in the summer so there likely would have been less ice anyway). They get stuck, and AGW still persists by saying to ignore it since its not part of the AGW mantra.
The IPCC data was compiled an showed no AGW for the last 15 years - even admitted on many AGW pro websites. And although all this time they said it was undeniable fact that AGW was occurring, laugh at anyone saying otherwise, and were claiming that without a doubt the science was sound, they have had to say there has been a 15 year hiatus.
So the AGW crowd's reality says that there was no AGW going on (with no apologies to those they ridiculed), don't worry - it still HAS to be true... b/c, well... b/c, uh... we say it is.
So just like in this report - ignore the recorded facts of the satellite. Despite there being more ice - let's focus on the still record amount of ice has lost a little and therefore say the lie of AGW is still true.
Welcome to the modern Dark Ages. Anyone believing man can, and will actually change is foolish for ignoring history. Even the intellectual WE of the 21st century, playing with our technological toys, still have to put up with the archaic powermonging crowd who don't care about fact and honestly making things better for everyone. All they want is their own way and to be able to control everybody and everything.
AGW theory has been a powerful tool for new laws, controlling systems, and promoting globalism. Its sad people no longer know what science is.