Measurement of Arctic sea-ice thickness by submarine 5 years after SCICEX

Nick Hughes, Peter Wadhams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In April 2004 the Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless became the first UK submarine to conduct environmental monitoring in the Arctic Ocean since 1996. As the last US SCICEX (Scientific Ice Expeditions) cruise was in 2000, this has been the only opportunity for a civilian scientist to carry out measurement of ice draft and oceanography over a wide area of the Arctic. This paper presents preliminary results and compares them with similar investigations in the 1970s-90s. The route of Tireless covered a large area of the European sector of the Arctic from 5 degrees E to 62 degrees W. Transects were carried out from the marginal ice zone in Fram Strait up to the North Pole and along the 85 degrees N parallel north of Greenland. As part of work for the European Commission IRIS project, image intensity from the advanced synthetic aperture radar instrument on the European Space Agency's Envisat satellite has been compared with ice draft from the submarine. The raw data were found to be highly variable, so a moving average was applied, producing a correlation of 0.79. Tireless carried a full oceanographic sensor suite and expendable probes for investigation into changes in the Arctic Ocean. The results from these show further erosion of the Arctic cold halocline layer by advancing Atlantic Water compared to previous climatologies and fieldwork expeditions. Preliminary ice-draft data from 85 degrees N show deeper ice keels than those encountered by a submarine on the same route in 1987.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-204
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • Geosciences, Multidisciplinary


Dive into the research topics of 'Measurement of Arctic sea-ice thickness by submarine 5 years after SCICEX'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this