Thursday, May 14, 2009
The Catlin Arctic Survey Team Has Left the Ice
After futzing around in bitterly cold weather for 73 days, battling frostbite, living on half rations, lugging around equipment that proved utter rubbish, and traveling only a couple of hundred miles or so over the ice cap, the Brit showboaters have been safely picked up and returned to civilization at Resolute Bay in Nunavik, Canada. They just missed reaching the pole by 300 miles or so.
There is better and longer coverage of the coverage here. My favorite from the press:
The expedition has showed that the Arctic Ocean is cool enough for the airplanes to safely land in the middle of May, much later than what used to be considered as the limit back in 2003 (April 30th).
According to NSIDC charts above, compared to the route they traveled just over 2/5 of the way along, they were almost always on first year ice, which is between 1.5 and 2 meters thick. They measured, by boring holes in the ice, the average ice thickness, which was a perfectly normal 1.77 meters, yet have the cheek to claim that such measurement was unexpected. What? What was unexpected to them was that they failed to reach some of the older (that is, thicker) ice nearer the Pole. They are spinning their totally expected discovery to pretend that the ice is unexpectedly thin (because the ice extent is currently greater than this time last year and only slightly below the "normal" of 1979 to 2000). Thus, they add to the general "crisis" atmosphere when there is no reason to think anything is wrong in the Arctic.
In coverage of the packing it in, there is this continued Warmie nugget:
Al Gore says it will disappear in September, 2013, so this learned prediction is twice as long as that fear mongering.
At the same time, Peter Wadhams, head of the polar ocean physics group at the University of Cambridge has brought forward his estimate for the demise of summer sea-ice in the Arctic.
He believes the ice, which has been a permanent feature for at least 100,000 years, is now so thin that almost all of it will disappear in about a decade.
I'll take anyone's money straight up that on every September 21 for the next several decades, as measured by ASMR-E, the sea ice extent in the Northern Ocean will be 4 million square kilometers or more, generally much more. Peter Wadhams has the wit not to take my bet, I bet.
This "expedition" has been a near total failure, except to show us that the Northern Ocean is no place to be, due to extreme cold, even during the Spring. Who, except for the Catlin fools, didn't know that.
UPDATE: A multi-national scientific team headed by a German Institute flew in comfort (relatively) over large parts of the Arctic towing a ground penetrating radar and discovered that the new ice was often 4 meters thick, twice what the Warmies would have us believe. Nothing like exact measurements to bolster your cause.
Update 2: Peter Wadhams did indeed refuse to take the bet in a short but polite e-mail in which he said he had too much respect for nature's variability to take it. I don't know if that means he fears he will take my money or he fears I will take his.
UPDATE 3: Steven Goddard at Anthony Watts' site covers the same news with the same observations as I, although he, being a scientist, does a much better job of it.