We can’t measure the thickness of the polar ice with satellites or ships, so scientists from the UK, USA and Australia are using a Robotic Submarine to study and map the ice underwater. In a recently published study, 3D maps were made using the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (UAV) known as SeaBED. It was designed and built at Woods Hole in Massachusetts.
While most oceanographic survey instruments look down at the seafloor, SeaBED was fitted with an upward-looking sonar in order to measure and map the underside of sea ice floes. The AUV operated at a depth of 20 to 30 meters and was driven in a lawnmower pattern. The yellow SeaBED robot, which is approximately two meters long and weighs nearly 200 kilograms, has a twin-hull design that gives the robot enhanced stability for low-speed photographic surveys.
The cause of the ice buildup in the South Pole may be increased winds, which bring cooler temperatures. Apparently the growth of ice in the Antarctic is not as dramatic as the loss of ice in the Arctic, thereby not cancelling out the effects of climate change. You can see more at LiveScience and Woods Hole.