April 13, 2024

Enduring Antarctic Sea Ice – Icebreaker Cut Through on Expedition That Located Shackleton’s Lost Ship

Natural color– February 23, 2022. (Click image for wide view.).
Enhanced natural color– February 23, 2022.
An icebreaker cut through relentless sea ice in the Weddell Sea during an expedition that ultimately situated Shackletons lost ship.
A global exploration has actually located the lost ship of Antarctic explorer Ernest Shackleton more than 100 years after it was squashed by ice and sank. The discovery of Endurance on the flooring of the Weddell Sea happened on March 5, 2022– late in the austral summer season, after much of the sea ice around Antarctica had disappeared.
Even throughout this yearly low point for sea ice, the Weddell Sea maintains at least some ice. One reason is that the Weddell reaches farther south than other parts of the Southern Ocean. This keeps the water colder and ice growing for a longer duration in winter season.

But the primary factor associates with how the ice circulates with the currents and winds. In other places around Antarctica, ice tends to wander north into warmer water and melt; in the Weddell Sea, it is normally captured up in a clockwise vortex. “This helps the ice to remain around and become multi-year ice,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice researcher at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
First-year ice, and likely some thicker multi-year ice and icebergs, show up in this image obtained on February 23, 2022, with the Operational Land Imager-2 ( OLI-2) on Landsat 9. Notification the line meandering through the ice on the Weddell Sea. This is the course cut by the South African polar research and logistics vessel S.A. Agulhas II during the exploration teams search for Endurance. (Note that the line has been enhanced to assist it stand out.).
March 5, 2022.
The large view above shows sea ice level (pink line) and the area of the icebreaker when Endurance was discovered on March 5 at a depth of 3,008 meters (9,869 feet). One week earlier, sea ice around Antarctica reached the lowest extent ever observed since the start of the satellite record in 1979. In the Weddell Sea, there was more ice than normal on the east side (towards the prime meridian) in 2022 and less ice than typical along the peninsula.
To access the search area, the Agulhas II ( envisioned listed below) needed to travel deep into pack ice. While multi-year ice in the Arctic can reach 4 meters (13 feet) thick, multi-year ice around Antarctica is normally around 2 meters (7 feet). Thats a sensible density for big icebreakers to manage, however less so for wood ships like Endurance. “Because of the presence of ice through the summer season and the usually thicker multi-year ice,” Meier said, “the Weddell is never ever a friendly location for a ship that is not ice-strengthened.”.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, utilizing Landsat information from the U.S. Geological Survey with extra processing by Norman Kuring, bathymetry and topography information from the General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans (GEBCO), and sea ice degree from Global Change Observation Mission 1st-Water (GCOM-W1) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Image courtesy of James Blake/Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust. The Endurance22 expedition was arranged and moneyed by The Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust.

Even throughout this yearly low point for sea ice, the Weddell Sea maintains at least some ice. “This helps the ice to remain around and become multi-year ice,” stated Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
In the Weddell Sea, there was more ice than normal on the east side (toward the prime meridian) in 2022 and less ice than normal along the peninsula.
While multi-year ice in the Arctic can reach 4 meters (13 feet) thick, multi-year ice around Antarctica is usually around 2 meters (7 feet). “Because of the existence of ice through the summer and the usually thicker multi-year ice,” Meier said, “the Weddell is never a friendly place for a ship that is not ice-strengthened.”.