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Overview
2-dimensional sea ice extent
measurements don’t give us a full
understanding of sea ice. Sea ice ranges in
thickn...
Overview (cont.)
With sea ice floating out in the vast ocean
in the coldest parts of the world, measuring
sea ice thicknes...
From the Surface
 Drilling holes: Simple and
straightforward. Just drill & measure.
 Sled radar: Scientists sometimes pu...
From the Air
Aircraft and satellites allow scientists to cover a lot more ground.
However, data records don’t go back very...
Learn More
 Climate Central Blog: Drilling Holes…
http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/extreme-science-
drilling-holes-in-...
Measuring Sea Ice Thickness Power Point
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Measuring Sea Ice Thickness Power Point

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Measuring Sea Ice Thickness Power Point

  1. 1. Overview 2-dimensional sea ice extent measurements don’t give us a full understanding of sea ice. Sea ice ranges in thickness from just a few millimeters to more than 15 feet thick. Knowing sea ice thickness helps scientists identify regions most vulnerable to melting during warm summer months.
  2. 2. Overview (cont.) With sea ice floating out in the vast ocean in the coldest parts of the world, measuring sea ice thickness can be extremely difficult. Let’s find out about some of the tools and techniques scientists use to determine sea ice thickness.
  3. 3. From the Surface  Drilling holes: Simple and straightforward. Just drill & measure.  Sled radar: Scientists sometimes pull sleds equipped with ground-penetrating radar sensors, across the ice.  Submarines: Upward-looking sonar lets scientists measure thickness from below. Sea ice drilling. Image source: NSIDC/Martin Hartley Upward-looking sonar. Image source: Science Direct Although not practical on large scales, field measurements can give provide details about how ice moves, melts, or grows in a particular area.
  4. 4. From the Air Aircraft and satellites allow scientists to cover a lot more ground. However, data records don’t go back very far and measurement accuracy is more difficult than with ground observations. Example: CryoSat-2 The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 uses a radar altimeter to measure the thickness of floating sea ice & detect annual variations. CryoSat-2 determines thickness by measuring the freeboard of ice floes, the height by which the ice extends above the water surface. Cryo-Sat 2 freeboard measurement. Image source: ESA/AOES MediaLab
  5. 5. Learn More  Climate Central Blog: Drilling Holes… http://www.climatecentral.org/blogs/extreme-science- drilling-holes-in-arctic-sea-ice/  CryoSat: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Eart h/CryoSat  ICESat: http://icesat.gsfc.nasa.gov/ Want to learn more about how sea ice thickness is measured? Here are a few good resources to get you started.

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