Originally Posted by newhaul
Jack that's an idea but I have no idea how to submit the hypothesis to the appropriate people. I'm an engineer
not a scientist.
Here are some general ideas on the numbers. An ice breaker escorting will leave a broken swath of sea ice approximately 300 meters wide. By about 5 km or a bit more. Multiplied by the number of ice breakers that are active on a given day . ThAt could add up to lots of now open sea that will absorb solar
radiation verses the reflection that would have happened if not for the icebreakers.
Was hoping to be the 3000th poster, but what the hell...
Hopefully I can put this 'worry' to rest for you.
As an engineer, I would think you would provide the numbers, but since you haven't, please allow me.
I know all 51 of the Rooskies breakers aren't nuclear but let's just assume they are. So, using a combination of your and the internets' figures:
300 yds equal .16 mile X 10 miles per hour x 24 = 38 square miles per day. 38 square miles per day x 51 icebreakers = 1958 square miles per day for the entire fleet. 365 x 1958 = 714670 square miles per year total.
That sounds like (and is) a lot, until one considers a few things:
The maximum total arctic sea ice is roughly 14-15,000,000 square miles.
The icebreakers don't operate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
They're not all nuclear powered.
10 miles an hour is a maximum, theoretical speed in ideal conditions through 2.5 meter ice.
Now let's throw in a little geophysical data.
The first picture is an overall satellite
view of the Arctic from the day before yesterday, available daily from NASA here. Rapid Response - LANCE - Arctic Mosaic - Terra 4km True Color 2016/090 (03/30)
(If you're diligent and use the magnification tools on the website, sometimes you can actually see icebreaker tracks, especially if you concentrate around Alert)
The blue square is the Canadian/Alaskan side, the red square is the Ruskies. You will notice that both are heavily fractured naturally, if anything the Western Hemisphere side is even more heavily fractured than the Eastern. It's hard to believe the icebreakers could do a better job if they tried.
Also, here's a link to an animation showing ice loss and movements, based on age of the ice, since 1990. Maybe this will illustrate more clearly to you what happens to the ice in it's natural evolution through the Arctic Ocean, and why the 'icebreaker hypothesis' is not valid.
And finally, directly from the NSIDC (even though I know they're in on the conspiracy), this;
Do icebreakers contribute to climate change?
When icebreakers travel through sea ice, they leave trails of open water
in their wake. Dark open water
does not reflect nearly as much sunlight as ice does, so sometimes people wonder if icebreakers speed up or exacerbate sea ice decline.
In summer, the passages created by icebreakers do increase local
summertime melting because the ships cut through the ice and expose new areas of water to warm air. However, the melt caused by an icebreaker is small and localized. Channels created by icebreakers are quite narrow and few in number compared to natural gaps in the ice. In winter, any openings caused by icebreakers will quickly freeze over again. So, scientists do not think that icebreakers play a significant role in accelerating the decline in Arctic sea ice.