Is the Pack Ice Visibly Diminishing ?

By going off on expeditions each year to the Arctic Ocean for the past ten years or so, I have become aware that things are changing. Because the ice is kept in movement, an effect of the Earth's rotation, there are times when the ice breaks up and when the water beneath becomes visible. You can then see the thickness of the ice which lies above the water.

Since we know that 4/5 of the ice is below the surface of the water, we can approximate the total thickness of the ice. Sometimes also, when these huge blocks of ice topple over, we are able to see their thickness as a whole.

This is how we can now see a change in the ice thickness, a change which has occurred not over one year but over the past 15 years. There is a lot more water in the Arctic Ocean in the springtime because the ice melts much more quickly on its sides (a phenomenon likely to spread) but also because the ice is much thinner than it used to be.

I may be wrong, although I don't think so, but I believe there is a significant difference between the overall thickness of the ice today - a difference of perhaps 1.5 metres or even 2 metres sometimes - and what it was fifteen years ago.


All videos, quizzes, animations and photos are copyrighted to the IPF or to their authors. Please contact us before using them.

Latest Pictures

All picture galleries

Focus on

COP22 – time to act on climate change!

COP22 – time to act on climate change!

The International Polar Foundation (IPF) participated in the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties…

Stay up to date

Subscribe to Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get updates about our educational projects and free educational resources.

This is a low trafic mailing list. We usually send no more than 10 mails a year and only for targetted communication.



RSS Feeds

Subscribe to our RSS feeds to be warned in real time when the website is updated.

Here is a list of all available feeds:

Support the IPF

Support us

All donations to the IPF are tax deductible.

Donations can be made by various means, depending if they are made by a company or by individuals.

Support Us