Adventures in Arctic Kayaking – Update: we’re stuck

UPDATE: kayakers already “stuck” in ice at 80.52397 degrees N

I had this post up for all of an hour before this news rolled in from PolarDefense. Hat tips to Tom Nelson, who’s report is presented below, and to Brian Koochel in comments. – Anthony

Polar Defense Project » We’re Stuck

“We’re stuck”

I have slept poorly. The floating ice, while thin, is so prevalent that, throughout the night, it grinds noisily against the side of the boat in a slightly alarming fashion – imagine someone scraping their nails across an old-fashioned blackboard.The then begins earlier than normal and, unusually, I am not woken by Robbie bounding into my room. Instead the ship’s engine roars to life earlier than normal – at around 5.30 – and the MV ‘Havsel’ begins to judder ominously. I clamber out of bed and scramble up to the bridge – all the ship’s crew are there, and they look serious. I look outside and I can see why. The sea is almost entirely congested with ice floes – I would estimate 80% plus of the sea is covered by them. There is a real risk that we could get stuck up here. We have drifted in the night into a much icier area than where we stopped last night. I wake up the team, and everyone groggily makes their way to the bridge. There’s a mixed reaction in the team to the prospect of getting stuck up here.

See the location on Google Maps, 80.52397, 12.21224

After awaking to find their vessel frozen in ice the team are steaming around looking for a path that’s navigable by kayak.
No paddling today.

At about 69 miles per degree of latitude, it would seem that they’re still 600+ miles from the North Pole.


My original post follows:

Place your bets now folks. If only Robert Peary could have had CNN tag along. – Anthony

Entries from Sam Branson’s Arctic diary – In the mirror.co.uk

My split feelings about this news remind me of another paradox of my expedition up here – the fact that I am spending my days paddling in ice-cold water, with a frozen, painful backside, trying to bring to the attention of the world and its leaders the necessity of stopping the world heating up.

[Sept 1:] Travel this morning was tough. The temperature has dropped dramatically and each time the guys get in the water in is a notch harder. We are starting to see larger chunks of ice, which instead of weaving through, they have to paddle around. The occasional chunk hits the bow of the ship sending small pieces out to the side into the route of travel for our paddlers. One nearly knocked Lewis of his kayak. The water is now below zero and a spill could be quite painful. The moving water by the feet of the guys has started to freeze and this could take a toll on their much needed warmth. I know that Robbie has been struggling with his toes.

day5

[Aug 31:] The ship is noticeably colder and we are all wearing an extra layer. I have been on deck loading the kayaks and boats back onto the ship. The water soaked ropes seep moisture into your gloves and it saps the heat from my hands fast. I can only imagine what it is like for Lewis and Robbie holding on to a cold paddle with waves crashing over them. The first thing Lewis said when he got back in was ‘I can’t feel my backside!’

[Aug 28:] Some may know this place from the book ‘The northern lights’ by Phillip Pullman, where he calls it, ‘The land of the ice bears’. From what I’ve heard, this name could not be closer to the truth. The boat we are on has just returned from a trip in the ice and along the way they encountered eighty eight bears.


Gosh, that’s a lot of bears.

Just in case you might be thinking the two kayakers are doing this all alone, on a shoe-string budget, with only strength and determination….

Here is the support vessel: 300-ton fossil-fueled MV Havsel

Polar Defense writes: The support boat we loaded our kit onto is not the QE2. She is an old fishing boat called MV ‘Havsel’ – this means ‘ocean seal’ in Norwegian. She is a tough, grubby, working boat with a strengthened hull and a big engine for a boat of her size – she will perform very well up in the pack ice.

Thanks to Tom Nelson for references in this story

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180 thoughts on “Adventures in Arctic Kayaking – Update: we’re stuck

  1. “along the way they encountered eighty eight bears”

    You go on a random ice linear route for 1,000 miles, and you can count bears as far as 3 miles to each side of your boat. That’s 6,000 square miles.

    There are over 1,000,000 square miles of arctic sea ice right now, and millions more of continental and island square miles that are polar bear environment.

    Enough said.

  2. HA! Eco snobs going about their Ecosnobbery.

    They are gliding over the water in their presumably multi-kilobuck kyaks with what looks like carbon fiber paddles whining about the cold and inconvenient chunks of frozen water in their path while being followed by a huge ship possibly filled with wine and cheese and hot cocoa.

    The Eskimo hunter does not approve…. panzies…

  3. Not betting on something where the brash young man has already hedged his bet by saying that it’s just a stunt to highlight the Arctic warming, even if he doesn’t make it to the pole. Wait till they get too far north but don’t make it to the pole and the route home gets frozen over and they end up in frozen solid ice.

    Whoops.

  4. I love Google Earth, it’s got to be the coolest thing ever. Guiweather offers these plug ins where you can see the exact locations of ships and see the current weather reports from those ship in near real time.

    Currently I am seeing about 4 ships off the coast of Svalbaard, and my bet is that they are hating life right about now. Currently the wind is blowing out of the North at 30-50 MPH and the temps are a balmy 36 degrees F.

    Any idea about the call letters on this ship? I have been trying to look it up, but can not seem to find it listed. It would be interesting to follow thier progress in real time. My bet is that today they are sitting in that ship trying thier best to sip hot chocolate wondering why they did not choose a cruise down to the Canary Islands instead.

  5. Anthony,
    Someone should point out to Sam Branson that he is working his way up the proverbial creek without a paddle. This story is much like the Dutch television’s reporter who in July was sent to document the “ice free” North Pole predicted earlier this year by some 10 “scientists”, or the group of “bien pensant” eco tourists who in early June got stuck in massive ice for 6 days in the Western end of the NW Passage on one the world’s most powerful ice breakers. Reality is that there is some 500,000 sq km more ice in the Arctic than at the same time in 2007[ which makes 2008 more like 2005 than 2007] More importantly temperatures are dropping earlier and faster than in previous years, resulting in more multi year ice for 2009. My sense is that when we look back in a few years, 2007 will be seen as the low turning point. As far as the bears are concerned, what a surprise! While the WWF keeps on telling us they are all drowning, the people with snow boots on the ground in Alaska and the Canadian Arctic are all reporting record populations. Good blog. Keep up the good work.

  6. Its so refreshing to see that self flagellation is alive and well in the 21st century.
    I think the whip would be a greener choice!!

  7. Wait until the slush ice forms – it occurs nearly overnight.

    I’ll bet the water will freeze faster than they can paddle out.

    If they are not careful, they could get stuck.

  8. 3 Sept 2008
    Stop the presses Pugh’s captain is worried that his 300 tonne diesel trawler may get stuck in melting seasonal thin ice. Unprecedented in Arctic warming history.

  9. Well at least he’ll have a good story to tell his grandchildren.

    Oops. Nope.

    Grandpa will have been revealed to be a clueless doofus.

    They’ll just pull the covers up under his quivering chin,

    throw another log on the guttering fire,

    and smile indulgently as he babbles about his cold tuckus.

  10. 88 polar bears? Yikes! I don’t imagine you’d have much of a chance if a polar bear decided to swim after you and make lunch of you and your kayak.

  11. Would be quite ironic if they end up being rescued from the ice; though I notice he’s already got his spin in:

    “One thing that strikes me is the change in the sea ice when I compare it to my Arctic trip last year. Last year at this latitude (around 82°C North) I saw lots of three meter thick ice – multi-year ice. This year, out in the kayak, I am only paddling past single-year ice which is significantly thinner, about one metre in depth. It is no surprise to me this is a record-setting year for thinness of Arctic summer sea ice.”

  12. I must say before smiling and cooking – THANK YOU ANTHONY (and mods, guest posters and readers).

    I look forward every day to “having a gander” at your site. Not only is it one of the few breaths of fresh air in the “sphere” but the quality, restraint and integrity of your contributors nearly equals your own.

    I am going to make shepherds pie tonight because it fortifies against the cold and even though it has been sunny in Somerset today it is still cold and the kids feel it.
    Not as cold as those poor deluded fools in their canoes, but a lot cooler than it should be ;-)

  13. Notes from the arctic kayakers:

    Ice floes everywhere… it is arctic…

    What we’ve noticed is… the sea temperatue has decreased… all over the place you’ve got these little icebergs… it’s surreal… can’t think of anyplace that would be more frightening to kayak than here…

    unprecedented.

  14. I might sound harsh but I think these people are lunatics. Man still thinks he can bend nature to his will. There are some tree hugging nature lovers who probably dream at night that if they were alive some 12,000 years ago they could have stopped the Last Glacial Maximum from melting, thereby avoiding a series of worldwide calamatous floods which drastically altered our earth. They must certainly still dream that somehow mankind can still alter the next hot age or ice age and stop it. This is akin to the belief that they can somehow stop the world from spinning, stop or alter the affects of sunlight or gravity for that matter.

    In my view they should pack up their foolish little boats and put their energies into pressuring Brazil into more competent policing of the Amazon forests which are the true lungs of the earth. The Northern waters will take care of themselves thank you very much. The Amazon forests cannot.

    BTW, I strongly recommend a book I’m reading through by Graham Hancock”Underworld”. Much of the book concerns the most recent discoveries of places that were once inhabited by mankind but now lie under the oceans that rose after the long warming I mentioned above. Remarkable now how much of history will have to be re-written and how much older civilizations really are.

  15. Considering the blokes from Top Gear drove to the North Pole recently I would say reports of it being ice free are somewhat premature.

  16. More notes:

    We labor on… the ice scraping across our bows… a short rest at the mother ship for hot chocolate and a nappie… now we’re back in it, the water… cold as, well, cold as ice water… Meanwhile the response from world leaders is tepid. Here I am, protecting the Arctic, and they’re being tepid…

  17. Offtopic:

    1 hour of climate change debate at the geologists’ congress in norway:

    http://www.33igc.org/coco/EntryPage.aspx?guid=1&PageID=5100&ContainerID=11823&ObjectID=12520

    the interesting points in my view:

    – in the 8 person panel, there were 2 sceptics, one of them H. Svensmark (comic ray cloud formation…). However most questions from the audience were sceptical. I think this is a quite typical difference for scientifc institutions and the majority opinion of their membership.

    – one panel member was the Danish minister of energy and ecology. Her main point appeared to be her bias towards “action”. She thinks action is necessary, even if the scientific basis is not solid. And even if it is all wrong actions (such as energy conservation) etc. are good for other reasons. So she just wants to act, as she feels she has to as a politicain. (I think David Henderson has explained quite convincingly where this bias towards action comes from: http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/clare_mar08.htm )

    – Few words about the moderation: I think the moderator comes from Germany. I’m also German, so I had a special interest at his performance and also Mr. Haugs. I was diappointed that Mr. Svensmark only had the chance to talk in the beginning (at 9:31) though some questions related directly to his work. On the other side, the moderator asked Mr. Haug for an answer in every round. I think we Germans are not very good in discussing things balanced, so I was not surprised about the quality of the moderation and I was even less surprised, that Mr. Haug came up with the extremest positions of tipping points, desaster and all well beyond the IPCC’s reports.

    – Interesting contributions from the audience, was for example a person from indian (21:23) who discribed the IPCC as a “closed circle” and strongly critized the nobel prices for “incorrect conclusions”.
    – At 46:45 a reknown geologist asked the question of question: how many years of cooling does it take until we know that the world is not warming…?

    – And does anyone know the person at 50:45 ? He discribed himself as a climate scientist (what he thinks puts him above usual geologists…). While he belittled not less than 3 of the sceptical speakers before him (to the first he said: “don’t know who he is”, the second had a “graph misused”, the third was “…the person before, whoever he was”, he kissed quite obviously andnastily up to the Danish minister with his “gratitude for her wisdom, etc.” ). Is this person related with the IPCC ?

  18. I am curious as to what his reaction will be when he returns without reaching the N.P. Will he begin to doubt or will he look for excuses? I noticed he’s downloaded into the “thin” ice argument so realism still has a lot of denial shell to penetrate. What does he have riding on it? A book? Does he have a contract with a publishing company? As I know a guy who tried to be the first one to circumnavigate the world on bike and boat only, I would say the internal drive was much more strongly related to publishing value than to “save the planet”. (We’ll ignore how he had to transport his boat by truck to Alaska before being able to row across the Bering Sea).

    I would strongly suggest Mr. Branson turn his stern south and start paddling hard.

  19. Hey Anthony!

    My husband just tossed me Investor’s Business Daily because he knew I’d be interested in an article titled ‘There Goes The Sun”.

    Congrats! They quote you and reference wattsupwiththat.com.

    Cool.

    REPLY: I had no idea. Thanks, Anthony

  20. I wonder if they’re smart enough eventually to realize that practical experience will resolve this ‘paradox’ for them.

  21. Another myth to debunk.

    The Amazon is not “the lungs of the world”.

    Plant life in the oceans (cellular and multicellular) are responsible for some 2/3rds of the planets oxygen. Of the portion due to land, the Amazon is responsible for less than a third, and even if every try in that land were cut down, the grasslands that replaced it would continue to produce almost as much oxygen.

  22. Did this expedition buy the carbon offsets required by the green community?

    While we’re at it, who is going to present the government of Russia with a bill for the carbon offsets for their invasion of Georgia?

  23. If these idiots had checked out Cryosphere Today before they left, they would have noticed a huge ice sheet was blocking their path to the North Pole almost as soon as they got started. This is quite possibly the most poorly planned expedition ever.

  24. My sense is that when we look back in a few years, 2007 will be seen as the low turning point.

    I believe the correct term in climate science is “Tipping Point”!!!

  25. “Here I am , protecting the arctic…”

    I can’t even think of the words to say to this person, but they are not good words…

  26. I wager that those fools are going to have to be rescued by the navy and this is as far North as they make it. Funny though, its almost like they did this intentionally to mock global warming believers.

  27. simon (09:32:06) :

    Anyone opened a book on when they give up?

    REPLY: I give it less than a week – Anthony

    I’ll take the under

  28. Well, BBC has news for us

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7595441.stm

    “Major ice-shelf loss for Canada

    The ice shelves in Canada’s High Arctic have lost a colossal area this year, scientists report.

    The floating tongues of ice attached to Ellesmere Island, which have lasted for thousands of years, have seen almost a quarter of their cover break away.

    One of them, the 50 sq km (20 sq miles) Markham shelf, has completely broken off to become floating sea-ice. ”

    You win some, you lose some.

  29. what a peculiar expedition! It’s hard to figure out what message they’re trying to convey, other than shooting themselves into their (frozen) feet.

    Or, is this simply a manifestation of a politicized version of the British sporting spirit? Obviously, it now requires heavy support with large vessels complete with camera crews, cooks, etc. – I’d recommend comparing this to Matty McNair’s account of leading a female expedition to the Pole (March to May 1997). Since then, Matty has carried out many unsupported Polar expeditions, North and South.

    http://www.northwinds-arctic.com/matty.html

    In a larger context, I believe that in 2009 we’ll see a pronounced sea ice rebound from the 2007 minimum. It may all be quite simple: Arctic ice cover changes lag behind atmospheric temperature adjustments because of the different circulation and heat-capacity constraints of sea water.

  30. anna v:

    “The floating tongues of ice attached to Ellesmere Island, which have lasted for thousands of years…”

    Which means that the climate was warmer thousands of years ago. Or maybe colder, since the planet was emerging from the last Ice Age. Or maybe we’re right in the middle of the climate’s completely natural and normal cyclical variation.

    As Goldilocks would say, “…it’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, it’s ju-u-u-u-st right.

  31. Despite what looks to be abysmal failure of the expedition, I doubt that he’ll change his rhetoric much, if any. Here’s what he says in his first paragraph of his “Message to world leaders”: “Global warming is, I believe, a significantly greater threat to us, to our economies and to our way of life than any or all of recent issues that have headed national agendas: the credit crunch, global terrorism, the price of oil, healthcare, ageing populations etc. World leaders need to attack this threat head-on. This response will need to be as aggressive, and as global, as the world’s response to fascism and Nazism in the mid-twentieth century. And I think the best way to approach this problem is as though a war is being fought, a war whose outcome will determine the fate of all of us.”
    The spin will be something like, sure, I didn’t make it this year, but the ice is much thinner, blah-blah, and will be even more susceptible to melting in the future, and I’ll be back again next year, because “From what I have seen over the past week it is not a question of ‘whether’ but simply ‘when’ the Arctic will be free of summer sea ice.”

  32. Go to

    http://www.lewispugh.com/

    Scroll to the bottom and check it out

    AL GORE – 29 November 2007
    Tomorrow I am the warm up act for Al Gore.  He will be addressing a group of property financers in London.  I will give a personal account of the climate change I have witnessed in the Arctic.

  33. Well, BBC has news for us

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7595441.stm

    “Major ice-shelf loss for Canada

    The ice shelves in Canada’s High Arctic have lost a colossal area this year, scientists report.

    The floating tongues of ice attached to Ellesmere Island, which have lasted for thousands of years, have seen almost a quarter of their cover break away.

    One of them, the 50 sq km (20 sq miles) Markham shelf, has completely broken off to become floating sea-ice. ”

    You win some, you lose some.
    almost 5 million sq km of ice up there and they report on 50 of it.

  34. Anna V,

    “The floating tongues of ice attached to Ellesmere Island, which have lasted for thousands of years, have seen almost a quarter of their cover break away.”

    Since we’ve only had reliable monitoring of Arctic ice extent since 1979, when the satellites went up, what exactly do they base this claim on?

    It appears that that area was ice free as recently as 1922, as described in the NOAA achieved article that claims the Arctic was ‘ice free’ beyond 81N — farther north than these ‘gentlemen’ have been able to get.

  35. Personally I think it takes a damn naive fool to think one can simply paddle on up there like its a hospitable region.
    The guy deserves the Moron-of-the-Year award.

  36. Well let’s look at the bright side. If they get stuck in the ice they can provide a tasty meal for the 88 starving polar bears they passed thus single handedly saving an endangered species, and it looks like the bears won’t even have to swim 100 miles for lunch. At least the expedition won’t be a total bust.

  37. Captain Obviousness (12:42:16) :

    The Polar Defense blog claims that both the Northwest and Northeast passages are open. Is this true?

    Looking at the AMSR-E Sea Ice Maps site it looks like it could be true

  38. How you obtain the position of kayaking in the artic, let me guess, it’s tax payer money and a science project?

  39. Haha you know these people really crack me up…
    Where is the logic in this trip?? Oh wait…there is none at all! If they wanted to make a big deal about it they should have gone kayaking when the ice was in the middle of melting, not at the end!
    Clearly, common sense isn’t so common!
    Yes when are the August temps coming out? There’s an article on CO2 sceptics talking about the current temperature being the same as it was in 1900…How is this possible? 1900 appears to be at a lower level than 2008 on the charts…

  40. @anna v

    The article you link to is written to make it sound like a sudden and recent catastrophic event has caused an ice shelf to suddenly and unexpectedly collapse.

    It then goes on to say (much nearer the end) that in actual fact the ice shelf has been gradually shrinking for 100 years and 90% of it had already gone by the time of the recent shrinkage.

    In other words the article has been written to trick people into thinking “oh my god the sky is falling the ice suddenly melted its unprecedented” and its that type of spin that gets people who read this blog annoyed.

  41. This ridiculous voyage in icebreaker kayak reminded me this story:

    http://www.ecoenquirer.com/south-pole-tragedy.htm

    I must be a horrible person because I could not stop laughing at this story.

    REPLY: At the same website, ecoenquirer, try this story. Don’t drink any milk while you read.

    http://www.ecoenquirer.com/levitating-islands.htm

    This is so beyond absurd I’m wondering if this “eco” site isn’t actually designed to be like “The Onion” Ah…answered by own question:

    http://www.ecoenquirer.com/Terms-Conditions.htm

    -Anthony

  42. M White (11:17:52) :

    Go to

    http://www.lewispugh.com/

    Scroll to the bottom and check it out

    AL GORE – 29 November 2007
    Tomorrow I am the warm up act for Al Gore. He will be addressing a group of property financers in London.

    I’ve been wondering who is bankrolling this boondoggle. Perhaps this is a big clue. Gore has a thick skin, but “financers” tend to want something in return. It’s tempting to get us all in a big virtual circle and laugh at them.

  43. Of the portion due to land, the Amazon is responsible for less than a third, and even if every try in that land were cut down, the grasslands that replaced it would continue to produce almost as much oxygen.

    A lot of the land down there might have been grassland 600 years ago, as before 1492 the natives were using fire in ways similar to how they burned north america from coast to coast. Look up “terra preta” for the rich soil which they created. How much of south america was grassland is unknown; a lot of trees can grow in 600 years.

  44. Manfred: I linked the debate, which I found very interesting. When warmers actually submit to such debate, it can be very illuminating. I share many of your impressions, including your reaction to the very arrogant gentleman near the end, who embodies the dogmatic adherence to AGW theory, and denigrates anyone holding beliefs other than his own.

    A member of the audience made a strong case for “insuring” ourselves against catastrophe, however low the risk, by taking action now. Bob Carter, evidently from much practice, struck the right tone in response to such calls to “take action”, the need for which was echoed by several panelists. Carter points out that there is undeniably, a cooling trend occurring, a point never refuted by the others, and stated forcefully that we simply do not and cannot know what the climate is going to do well enough to “protect ourselves” against its exigencies.

    To the extent that the surface and satellite records can support a statement that it is cooling, we can be thankful. That we must constantly question the degree of their accuracy is a continual irritation, especially when their problems are noticeable and fixable.

  45. The east and west passages open?

    West: As far as i can see, it was open perhaps 2 days up to around 28/8, thereafter it closed.
    East: I opened around 29/8. And today it seems that it might soon close again.
    So there may have been a very short overlap. But if the ice was studied as today in the 1930´ies and 40´ies which opening would have been found when??

    But most important: To me 28/8 seems to be a turning point on the pictures. Allthough there has been some melting far east, northern Soviet, the overall new ice areas are definetely bigger!!

    If you compare 28/8 with any day after 28/8 i think you see that 28/8 was the artic ice minumum.
    Places og new ice: island north of Canada. Artic se North of Canada. in the 28/8 – 3/9 compare

    you see that the entire iceline northeast of Svalbard/Spitsbergen has moved south. And many places along shorelines has icedevelopment begun over most of the artic area.

    Unless there is some new story that “Ice extend 28/8 was shown too low”, then 28/8 appears to be a minimum on the pictures. I know this does not show on graphs, but i just tell what i see anyway :-)

    Am i right or do i need glasses??

  46. Manfred (09:54:37) :
    “Offtopic:

    1 hour of climate change debate at the geologists’ congress in norway:

    http://www.33igc.org/coco/EntryPage.aspx?guid=1&PageID=5100&ContainerID=11823&ObjectID=12520

    Astonishing. Loved it.

    I just got to the 51 minutes mark…wow that is one oleaginous performance. We should all know who he is – as in know your enemy. I cannot place him.

    Another brown nosed, blinkered, pompous bounder. And him.

    We need a hard copy of this.

    I would love to have a tinnie with Bob Carter and Henrik Svensmark.

    As for the kayak kid and his little icecapade?

    British farce. An ITV crew are with him and they can make a drama out of a crisis.

    It will be a best seller.

  47. Thank you, Mike. It looks like the NW passage is mostly all open, but a choke point may still be clogged. Hard to say.

  48. Greenpeace argues criminal damage protest was in the public interest

    James Hansen is in Britain acting for the defence of 6 greenpeace activists who vandalised a power station.

    http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/greenpeace+argues+criminal+damage+protest+was+in+the+public+interest/2441812

    The BBC did a television series in 2006 called IF. One of the programs was called “If the lights go out.” It was set in 2020, the pipeline bringing gas from Russia had been destroyed by terrorists. The program indicated that by that time Britain will have only one nuclear and one coalfired power station fully operational in this country, the rest of our electricity coming from gas fired power stations and renewables.
    If we do have a number of cold and snowy winters this country will probably come to a stand still. Chaos on the roads and power cuts due to one snow fall breaking power lines are not uncommon.
    Britains electricity supply supposedly has a capacity of 130%, but only last year several of our nuclear sites shut down for maintainance

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/file_on_4/6205908.stm

    Given the ‘consensus on global warming’ we may have a rude awakening much sooner than 2020.

    James Hansen go home.

  49. Vadim, thanks for introducing me to ecoenquirer,

    i’ve been giggling for ages.

    And well done for researching it Anthony. Respect, as usual.

  50. Captain Obviousness (12:42:16) and Mike Westrich (13:12:27

    regarding the NW and NE passages being open simultaneously, there is a surprisingly balanced assessment at dot earth, saying ‘not quite':

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/03/open-water-circling-north-pole-not-quite/

    The story of the fully navigable circumpolar seas appears to be one main argument for the upcoming UN resolution on sea level change put forward by small island states:

    http://www.avaaz.org/en/sos_small_islands/98.php/?cl_tf_sign=1

    Has there been any recent threat on the sea level change topic?

  51. Revkin’s post actually answers my question…the Cryosphere pictures need interpretation like everything else, and can be very misleading

    thank you deepslope!

  52. Thanks “deepslope” interesting article. From remarks of the Kayakers seems unlikely it will happen anyway

  53. This impending Darwin incident demos once agin: It’s all modern medical science’s fault!!!!

    The genepool is not being effectively purged. And they’re wasting our oxygen! h/t Russ S.

  54. It looks like they have progressed about 250 miles in about 4 days. But more than half of it was the first day. Since they’ve gotten into the ice field progress has been less than 20 miles per day, and not directly toward the North Pole. They have about 660 miles (straight line) to go. At 20, very generous, miles per day that’s 33 days. In 33 days the north pole will be in darkness all day. I hope nobody gets hurt.

    Some people just don’t realize that in order to promote a cause with credibility you should try to live it. I propose a new way of life for the enviro-alarmist community: Go green, stay home.

  55. Here is an interesting story which you won’t be reading about at the BBC. Freeze up at the North Pole arrived more than three weeks earlier this year than it did in 2003.

    2003 – First snow and freeze on September 7

    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_untersteiner3.html

    2008 – First snow and -2C on August 16. Note the temperature in the upper left, and the fresh snow on the ground.

  56. The end of their adventure?

    (Looks like moonbattery.com is an interesting, politically incorrect blog)

  57. Among his list of team selection criteria:
    “I am looking for integrity – I am trying to communicate to world leaders what is happening up here, and I want all my team to do that with total honesty and fidelity to the truth.”
    He wouldn’t know the truth if it bit him you-know-where.
    What a misguided AGW-addled fool. It would all make for a good SNL skit, however.

  58. To be fair to these chaps they did say before embarking on their adventure that they hoped not to succeed.

    They must be overjoyed to be failing so comprehensively.

  59. “Here I am , protecting the arctic…”

    So many elements of irony in this adventure are so beautiful! The ecoadventurers paddling forth to save the arctic from GHG. Sleeping on a diesel powered 300 ton ship, guarded every miniute in the water by Steinar in the zodiac riding shotgun to protect them from the evil arctic walrus and polar bear.

    I wonder how many walruses and bears have been shot to protect the ecowarriors who see themselves as saviors?

    I wonder if in the hours spent freezing their toes and dodging icebergs they think for a minute the origin of the kayak itself– the finest arctic hunting vessel known to man.

    http://polardefenseproject.org/blog/?p=131

    “Steinar steers our zodiac (the small boat) that we use to help us get the kayaks in and out of MS ‘Havsel’. He plays a critical role in ensuring that we are safe in the sea. He also keeps an eye out for polar bears and walruses, both of which are dangerous animals up here.”

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  61. “One thing that strikes me is the change in the sea ice when I compare it to my Arctic trip last year. Last year at this latitude (around 82°C North) I saw lots of three meter thick ice – multi-year ice. This year, out in the kayak, I am only paddling past single-year ice which is significantly thinner, about one metre in depth. It is no surprise to me this is a record-setting year for thinness of Arctic summer sea ice.”

    Wow, poor propaganda!

  62. Somebody bet on a September thaw aka 2007. And now he is trying to chip frozen egg off his face.

    I’ve been sayin it! Trust bats! Not batty humans! All my bats are gone. This is WAY earlier than last year. They left in a hurry two weeks ago. I had no less than 5 bats find their way into my bedroom as they tried to fly out of the attic and on to their south migration. Because there were so few of them, the less intelligent (and just-weened teenage set) didn’t know the route out of the attic so they crawled through the floor joists and into my quarters! The near freezing, and now freezing, night time temperatures we have been experiencing here in NE Oregon is a clear sign that bitter cold is on its way. This dude in his little skinny rowboat must have a brain smaller than a bat.

  63. Here’s an update from the fellas…

    “We are still struggling to get beyond 81 degrees north. The MV ‘Havsel’ continues to push east in the hope of finding a break in the ice so that Robbie and I can paddle further north. So far, to no avail – we are right up against the edge of the ice wall. ”

    Note the guy says that they are headed East? Makes me wonder if these guys even have maps. Since all of us know how to use a map and know their last location, we all know that they are headed into nothing but “ice wall”.

    You know what these jokers remind me of? When Laurie David and Sheryl Crow went on that Global Warming bus tour across the US about the same time an unusual cold front hit the US. Then Sheryl Crow told us all to save the Earth by cutting down to one square of toilet paper.

    What can I say, some people should just stick to their original goals of “having fun” and “Drinking beer before noon on a workday.”

  64. “Here I am , protecting the arctic…”

    Pamela maybe you can hire him to keep your bats from returning come spring.

    “Here I am , protecting the attic…”

  65. Anthony,

    You were right.

    He’s getting ready to plant his flags. He’s packing it in and in less than a week.

    No paddling today – we don’t find a break in the ice. However, we do come across a substantial ice floe, and I decide now is the time to plant the 192 flags I have brought from London.

  66. Nay. I have my Clarence honey for that. He is a redneck conservative multiple gun owner who can’t hurt a fly (did plenty of that in Nam). He carefully catches the bats in cheese cloth or fish nets and lets them go free out the back door while I hide under the blankets. I once caught him trying to free a mouse from a sticky pad. He had a pair of nose hair scissors and was trying to cut the fur off of the little legs that were stuck to the sticky glue pad. The mouse died in his hands. He suffered for days. Not the mouse, Clarence.

  67. After a lot of pre-expedition coverage, the UK media seem to be shunning him, as far as I can tell online. Is he getting any TV exposure anywhere?

    Perhaps they see him as an embarrassment to their AGW agenda.

    In that case this site may be the most publicity he ever gets. Unless he is eaten by a bear, or has to be rescued.

  68. I agree with old man Winter – that was my first thought (litter).

    I suspect that the flags and poles are not made of bio-degradable materials.

    Being bright and flashy – one might choke a curious penguin or seal to death…

  69. Are there any bets on him being eaten by a bear?

    If a bear did eat him – would it hurt the bear….

  70. These unfortunate campaigners are obviously victims of the AGW hysteria in the British media. How else could they have got the idea that there might be enough open water north of Svalbard. Without naming any newspapers, I think their publishers should be sued and forced to pay compensation to the families of the unfortunate kayakers, if they die or lose limbs. We’ve seen much more frivolous litigation lately.

  71. Typo

    Fax mentis incendium gloriae

    The passion for glory is the torch of the mind.

    He will need the torch to warm his bum!

  72. Getting stuck that far south at this time of year is really remarkable. As a comparison the Swedish “Sofia” expedition got to 81.7 degrees in the same area at the tail end of the Little Ice Age in 1868.

  73. to DR,

    Check Sea Ice Extent Thread on ClimateAudit for lots of info regarding state of sea ice in Artic.

  74. I rather suspect Lewis Pugh has paddled his kayak right into the grateful hands of the sceptic establishment. What a bitter realization it will be for him to be disowned by the zealots and immortalized by sceptics. Not the outcome he was expecting but you have to remember, when these people read stories about ice free north pole, they actually believe it! Matty, Perth, Western Australia

  75. Graeme Rodaughan:

    Since the headline is 180 degrees out of phase with what has been circulating the news headlines, it seems odd to not have been dissected. I mean, compare these two with barely a week separating them:

    As Arctic Sea Ice Melts, Experts Expect New Low

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/science/earth/28seaice.html?ref=science

    vs

    Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage

    http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=12851&red=y#340331

    I see the same link at CA, but no comments. The entire thread is a bit ridiculous IMO. It’s like watching a TV commercial arguing whether the beer is less filling or tastes great.

    It’s funny. Several years of no additional warming is said to be too short a time to analyze climatology, but two years of anomalous ice melt is treated as if the demise of the planet is at stake depending on whether 2008 is greater or less than 2007.

    Considering there is no evidence its much different than events 70-80 years ago in the Arctic, discussion appears to be a matter of bragging rights at best.

  76. The bot ate my post; will try again.

    Graeme Rodaughan:

    Since the headline is 180 degrees out of phase with what has been circulating the news headlines, it seems odd to not have been dissected. I mean, compare these two with barely a week separating them:

    As Arctic Sea Ice Melts, Experts Expect New Low
    URL=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/science/earth/28seaice.html?ref=science

    vs

    Arctic Sees Massive Gain in Ice Coverage
    URL=http://www.dailytech.com/Article.aspx?newsid=12851&red=y#340331

    I see the same link at CA, but no comments. The entire thread is a bit ridiculous IMO. It’s like watching a TV commercial arguing whether the beer is less filling or tastes great.

    It’s funny. Several years of no additional warming is said to be too short a time to analyze climatology, but two years of anomalous ice melt is treated as if the demise of the planet is at stake depending on whether 2008 is greater or less than 2007.

    Considering there is no evidence its much different than events 70-80 years ago in the Arctic, the discussion appears to be a matter of bragging rights at best.

  77. I wonder why the next paragraph was not printed here?

    “Thinner Ice
    One thing that strikes me is the change in the sea ice when I compare it to my Arctic trip last year. Last year at this latitude (around 82°C North) I saw lots of three meter thick ice – multi-year ice. This year, out in the kayak, I am only paddling past single-year ice which is significantly thinner, about one metre in depth. It is no surprise to me this is a record-setting year for thinness of Arctic summer sea ice.”

    Surely not more cherry-picking, distortion and lies?

  78. Yay!!! My comment made it through moderation on his blog!

    I said:

    “I expect that the symbolism of your venture won’t be forgotten soon.”

  79. The misadventures of the North Pole kayakers reminds me of arctic explorer Ann Bancroft and her companion who abandoned an effort to travel across the Arctic Ocean by sled in March 2007 because of cold temperatures and blizzard conditions. The trip was supposed to demonstrate the efforts of AGW and draw public attention to the cause. All it did was to reveal Ms Bancroft as a very brave but naive ideologue.

  80. MA – the only distortion is the claim that he’s paddling through anything at all, being, as he is by his own admission and along with his support ship, ever so slightly stuck.

    Still, there’s always next year which must surely be easier for him if he truly believes that the ice is doomed.

  81. Beth – Imagine the publicity.

    All that way, in a kayak, with every expectation of photographing doomed polar bears. Only to be responsible for having them shot.

  82. Now the summer melt is ending, a great idea for their next adventure would be an exact re-run of the famously successful Franklin Expedition (1845-1847) to navigate the Northwest Passage. Rather than unfairly using Inuit technology such as kayaks and parkas, they could rely on Victorian sailpower and sheer fortitude to get them through (no nasty CO2-emitting coal though, sorry.) The BBC could provide their environmental reporters, and I’m sure the Guardian and Independent could spare George Monbiot and Johann Hari to go along. Maybe James Hansen and David Suzuki could be persuaded to take part, too. It would be the environmental expedition of the century, and I’m sure we would wish them all God speed and bon voyage.

  83. Ma:

    As for why it wasn’t printed, I can’t answer for Anthony, but my thoughts are a link was provided and generally statements of the obvious aren’t worth posting. What would one expect as the ice reverts from its cyclic minimum? Thicker ice?

    There is plenty of anecdotal evidence supporting similar artic ice reductions in the past. So evidence strongly suggests Arctic ice sheets grow and decline in cycles. Satellites have only been around since ’79 so we can’t compare the levels in detail. As AGW believers are fond of saying, 10 years isn’t long enough to determine a trend and they are right. Neither is 30.

    The idea a few deg. upward shift will drive the melting of the ice sheets per say has always been a very poor argument for AGWers as far as I’m concerned. When 90% of floating ice lies underwater, the greater driver of melting has to be water temp. As I sure you know, the specific heat of water is much higher than air and the miniscule increase in global temp. isn’t going to significantly effect ocean water temp. a whole lot anytime soon.

    As I’m sure you have read about the thermohaline circulation, I won’t go on about cold water pushing warm water north and declining ice means declining cold water pushing the supply chain, etc., etc. etc.

    If you don’t agree with me, do a couple of personal experiments. When your house is at room temp, put an ice cube on a plate and time the melt. Then do the same on a nice warm day when the A/C is off and it is a few degrees warmer. You won’t see much melt time difference. Another fun thing to do is join a polar bear club. Even though the air temps are usually colder, people can stand in the air far longer than the water. You can do it on your own if you wish. Find a nice cold day around 32F or less and see how long you can stand out side in your shorts. Then fill your bathtub with ice/water, get in there and see how long you last compared to the standing outside. Don’t do it if you have a weak heart and if you do so, suggest you have somebody with you (preferably outside of the tub). Finally, don’t be a martyr and stay in longer just to prove a point. Hypothermia isn’t fun.

  84. Love the bit on Google Maps – “Destination: North Pole
    Follow Lewis Gordon Pugh’s journey by Kayak towards the North Pole” – note the “towards”.

    Has anybody told them “YOU’RE GOING THE WRONG WAY!”?

    Might save them a bit of time if they headed up the way.

  85. When he unfreezes and returns to civilization, Sam Branson will be a walking laboratory for cognitive dissonance studies.

  86. Any way of contacting these ducks? I would like ask them why they are interfering with the ecosystem, and weakening next years ice, by mixing heavier salty water with the lighter, relatively fresher water on the surface (by using the ships propellers).

    Normally, just before freezing, heavier salty water gets denser, and sinks (driving the Halocline, BTW). This leaves relatively fresher water, plus fresher ice melt water, on the surface. Ice with lower salt is stronger, with fewer salt inclusions; and melts at a LOWER temperature than saltier water.

    While its sounds trivial, the knock on effect may not be. Hundreds of ships crossing the arctic will leave thousands of linear km of weaker seams of salty ice.

  87. I think I read the goal was to paddle north and place flags as far north as possible. (Read “Should he reach the North Pole, Pugh will raise 192 national flags to highlight how melting ice caps affects all countries.” news article)

    They assembled flags yesterday, drilled holes in the ice and evidently flew them. post

    Evidently, the forgot a Hungarian flag (Whoops!)

    I don’t know if this is the official final end, or if this is just practice for the final. But maybe they already failed just as they hoped?

  88. Off topic, but about the Antarctic. Going through NASA’s Earth Observatory records, I found that the Antarctic had cooled A LOT 1982-2004 (almost 4 deg C):
    less cold 1982-2005 but still cool;
    cool 1982-2006;
    but then it even warmed up a bit 1981-2007.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17257

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17698

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17553

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17838

    Did the data change? A calibration?

    Eyeballing it, it looks like a 4 deg C change in 4 years.

  89. Wow! You get other posts from Somerset! Jock ward – check out last Wednesday’s Western Daily Press – I was invited to write an article on ‘have we got the climate wrong?’ – and earlier in the Central Somerset Gazette also – we are a hotbed of rebellion down here – George Monbiot eat your heart out! Next target is the Guardian and Independent – they used to publish my stuff, but have turned down every offer of an article on the power of natural cycles. It won’t be long.

    The NAO and PDO have turned negative – once the warm water off Ireland goes – it’s heat is being sucked out at a rate by the shifted jetstream, we in Somerset will get our first cold winter for a long long time – we are getting the insulation done right now!

  90. Eco fanatics leaving their mark in the form of flags? Proof they care little for the environment, just their own aggrandizement.

  91. I just read Lewis’ exerpt from Sept 3 titled, “the bear” and was compelled to share. I am sincerely getting worried they are at risk of becoming bear food. If for no other reason, can’t we call off this insanity in defence of our gentle polar bear friends?

    “We are still struggling to get beyond 81 degrees north. The MV ‘Havsel’ continues to push east in the hope of finding a break in the ice so that Robbie and I can paddle further north. So far, to no avail – we are right up against the edge of the ice wall. My disappointment, however, is tempered by a special sight. Steinar spots an adult male polar bear out on the ice, a couple of hundred meters in front of the boat. For many of the team, this is the first polar bear they have seen outside of a nature programme on television. It is a magical moment – they are such wonderful creatures. This one looks at us with a degree of curiosity, stands up, sniffs the air, pauses; and then pads leisurely on. Polar bears are an extraordinary mix: although huge – adult males typically get to 400 kg – they are as graceful and nimble as a domestic cat. They are also frighteningly quick, both in and out of the water. You can forget outrunning them.”

  92. Pugh’s video of last year’s swim just seems fishy to me. I must be
    overly skeptical, but I’ve watched it several times. He makes a “test” swim a couple days before the Russian icebreaker reached the Pole itself, and the expanse of open water he swam in looks suspiciously like the last shots of the alleged Pole swim. Yet when they reach the Pole, they show only narrow open water, like what an icebreaker would make. The background looks suspiciously alike as well, with more than one ship in the background at both the test area and Pole. A publicity stunt for sure, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t have faked this swim at the Pole and got away with it, riding on a Russian icebreaker intent on claiming rights in the Arctic and setting a flag on the ocean floor, could he?

  93. dipole (20:48:57) :

    They have removed the link to the “We’re stuck!” entry from the front page of their site. Address still works however:

    http://polardefenseproject.org/blog/?p=153

    Nothing there for p=154 through 160.

    The links on the left seem to be the most recent. The “We’re stuck!” entry is the bottommost entry for Sept 3.

    I think the “p” number includes the category an article is assigned to. I haven’t
    investigated.

  94. The odd thing is that UK ITV news were filming Pugh`s attempt, there was NO mention of Pugh in news at ten last night Sept 04, I think they have pulled the plug, shame, they should have stayed for the laugh.

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  97. But wait folks, we must all be wrong, I read it here ;-

    http://www.itv.com/News/newsspecial/KayaktotheArctic/default.html

    The National Snow and Ice Data centre says both the north western and north eastern passages to the North Pole are open

    On the day before the trip’s launch, melting Arctic sea ice reached the second lowest level for thirty years

    If the journalists at itv say there’s no ice, it must be right ok?

    On the other hand, if there really is a book on this, I’ll give em another 48 hours, and they have to call it a day or they really will be stuck, and imagine the bad publicity of being rescued 1000 km from the pole. Oh the shame of it.

  98. Slightly off-topic, but I wondered if Mr. Pugh’s support boat is the very same Havsel, “Norwegian seal-hunting vessel”, which sprang a leak after being pierced by an ice floe between Jan Mayen and Greenland in 2004? (see http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article786116.ece) If so, it doesn’t quite square with his stance of “integrity…total honesty and fidelity to the truth” on ecological matters, does it?

  99. It’s bizarre but when you read Pugh’s site and Branson’s journal they don’t seem to have any recognition that their hare-brained adventure has been a complete failure. They are so pumped up with their own self-worth and self-righteousness that reality has no place in their minds.

    I wonder how much this fiasco cost. At least, by giving up almost straightaway, they avoided the need to be rescued and put meaningful lives at risk.

  100. “Slightly off-topic, but I wondered if Mr. Pugh’s support boat is the very same Havsel, “Norwegian seal-hunting vessel”, which sprang a leak after being pierced by an ice floe between Jan Mayen and Greenland in 2004?”

    It is the very same vessel. You can also compare the photos for verification. Still the same colour as well.

  101. “This will be one of the last team member portraits for this expedition. I wanted to save the Captain till around this point, as he is a special man. The Captain is called Bjorne Kvernmo, and the MV ‘Havsel’ belongs to him.”

    Same seal hunting captain as well.

  102. RE: Alison Wright

    Seems you are correct. From Pugh’s Blog today:

    “This will be one of the last team member portraits for this expedition. I wanted to save the Captain till around this point, as he is a special man. The Captain is called Bjorne Kvernmo, and the MV ‘Havsel’ belongs to him.”

    From your aftenposten link:

    “The vessel, called Havsel…Bjørne Kvernmo, who was making his first voyage as the vessel’s new captain …Kvernmo, 52, is an experienced seal hunter with a long record of defending Norway’s controversial seal hunts.”

    Seems to be one and the same Havsel and Bjorne Kvernmo. Not off topic at all in my humble opinion. Maybe you should post the aftenposten link to Pugh’s Blog…

  103. Sorry to repeat you Mike. We were both moderated at same time and I didn’t see your post.

    I wonder if we should send this “new” information about Pugh’s choice of vessel and captain off to PETA…

  104. Bruce Foutch (09:30:14) :

    “The vessel, called Havsel…Bjørne Kvernmo, who was making his first voyage as the vessel’s new captain …Kvernmo, 52, is an experienced seal hunter with a long record of defending Norway’s controversial seal hunts.”

    Seems to be one and the same Havsel and Bjorne Kvernmo. Not off topic at all in my humble opinion. Maybe you should post the aftenposten link to Pugh’s Blog…

    Do it – the moderator let me ask a science question.

    Or, perhaps you can add it at

    http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&ie=UTF8&t=h&msa=19&msid=105384431693060155128.0004559ae4a5303345bd7

    The map viewing has only come from four sites:

    721 from http://www.itv.com/News/newsspecia
    301 from http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/
    285 from http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.co
    164 from http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2008/
    123 from http://planetgore.nationalreview.com/

  105. Dear Diary…

    Day 6

    “One has to not be mistaken that the ice here means that the ice is so thick that we can’t move. It is all very superficial ice; surface level ice. It is not the thick pack ice that is normal for the Arctic Ocean. This year, the ice here is thinner than ever before.”

    Day 8

    “We have now left the realms of the ice and are heading south to Spitsbergen.”

    Funny stuff.

  106. No, Rob, ITV have not given up, they were on again tonight, paddling away up and down in open water, going apparently nowhere. ITV news really is the pits. It is noticeable that ITV never give their position in their broadcast but tell us to go to the website knowing that most of their viewers won’t bother.

  107. RE: Ric Werme

    I tried to post Alison’s aftenposten link to Pugh’s Blog. It did not get accepted. Can’t imagine why…

  108. RE: Ric

    I did post a comment and included the aftenposten link to the maps.google.co.uk link you posted in your comment. Lets see how long it takes before someone flags it as “inappropriate” !

  109. If you go to the ITN website and type “Lewis Pugh” or even Lewis Gordon Pugh” into the search box, you get “No stories found for Lewis Pugh”. In fact, all reference to it has disappeared off their site!

    I’ve been trying to add my comments to Lewis’s Polar Defense Project site but they don’t get posted. I had an email back from them saying, “When many of the comments descended from scientific debate to outright vitriol and epithets, like “I hope you #$% get your heads bitten off by polar bears” we made an editorial decision to focus on those contributors who were supporting our mission. Partially because, for Lewis and team, who are in the midst of an extremely challenging, the comments and messages serve as inspiration to keep going. Put forth a well-reasoned and respectful argument and we will post it.”

    That’s simply not true, I’m afraid, they won’t post it!

  110. They haven’t removed the link to “We’re Stuck”…simply, the posts’ numbers are not in simple progression, so #153 looks like posted earlier than #150

  111. Alison Wright (08:29:09) :

    Slightly off-topic, but I wondered if Mr. Pugh’s support boat is the very same Havsel, “Norwegian seal-hunting vessel”, which sprang a leak after being pierced by an ice floe between Jan Mayen and Greenland in 2004? (see http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article786116.ece) If so, it doesn’t quite square with his stance of “integrity…total honesty and fidelity to the truth” on ecological matters, does it?

    Well the journalist behind that article from 2004 is Ole Magnus Rapp, the very same journalist who covered the story about Lewis Gordon Pugh in Aftenposten 28. July this year: http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/iriks/article2563654.ece (norwegian language). He can be contacted at ole.magnus.rapp@aftenposten.no
    He should be able to answer that question maybe.

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  113. Carsten Arnholm, Norway (16:39:17) :

    I tried to post the message below to http://polardefenseproject.org/blog/?p=197

    Hi Lewis,

    MS Havsel is a seal hunting boat. Interesting to see you joined forces to protect the arctic!

    But not too surprisingly, it did not survive moderation. You will have to read it here, Lewis!

    Sorry, zero points for subtlety, zero points for ambiguity. Dreamin’s “I expect that the symbolism of your venture won’t be forgotten soon” is almost too good. Heck, someone even posted a “me-too” followup.

    However, I bet it shocked the moderator, you get points for that.

    All in all, it seems like a pretty decent trip to nowhere. Beats shuffleboard in the Carribbean. The bears go hungry tonight.

  114. “It’s on CNN, it must be true” Wow guys I just can’t understand how this kind of emotionalized garbage get’s any attention. How this pathetic story has even gotten
    this far, is a sad reflection of the times we live in. I want to thank all the posters here who taken the time to shine a light on this stunt, and that’s all it is a stunt.

    I think this guy is just trying to set himself up like his hero Al Gore, and make
    millions while being a hypocrite.

  115. From CNN

    “Lewis Gordon has paddled further north than anyone has paddled before” …

    How hard/easy would it be to find contrary evidence on this? I’m sure you guys must have some good links. It certainly looks to me as if he didn’t get very far at all.

  116. “Wow guys I just can’t understand how this kind of emotionalized garbage get’s any attention. How this pathetic story has even gotten
    this far, is a sad reflection of the times we live in. I want to thank all the posters here who taken the time to shine a light on this stunt, and that’s all it is a stunt. ”

    I agree 100%. But here’s a question: Who is more likely to get rock-star treatment? Lewis Pugh or Anthony Watts? The fact is that being a Pugh-like shameless self promoter, engaged in a hypocritical and dishonest pursuit of empty symbolism really can pay off.

    There are probably 1000 girls willing to have Pugh’s baby now.

    Here’s another comment from his blog, from “Michelle”

    “The simple fact – Lewis and his team are passionately and physically communicating that they care and are doing all they can to reach world leaders. Isn’t that enough!? Most of us sit on our bottoms and do nothing. Listen to him at congress and you will change your mind. Did you know he is trying to legally protect the arctic, for all of us?”

    See, it doesn’t matter how wrong-headed Pugh’s ideas are. He just needs to make a big show of altruism/caring and his status is raised substantially.

  117. Lewis is now back in Port chatting to Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister
    He then anticipates peddling his ideas to the US congress
    This guy is a Media Genius.
    He is showing us how to turn total failure into success!

  118. Here is Email I just sent to the Select Committee about Pugh’s visit:

    To: The Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming

    Note – Your comment posting software and my editor may make this difficult to
    read, a Web version of this is at http://wermenh.com/climate/index.html

    I understand that you will soon hear from a British explorer, Lewis Gordon
    Pugh, in a self-appointed role as ambassador for the Arctic. Apparently he
    has been invited due to his recent attempt at paddling a kayak from
    Spitzbergen to the North Pole. He was forced to abandon the attempt 1000 Km
    from the North Pole

    The impetus for the attempt was a forecast from Canadian and US researchers of
    a 50-50 chance that ice would melt at the Pole, a forecast that failed
    miserably – Pugh completed only 10% of the trip he originally planned.

    Our accurate record of Arctic ice cover only dates back to the development of
    satellites that record images of the planet, approximately 1979. That was
    also about the time a circulation pattern called the Pacific Decadal
    Oscillation flipped from a cool phase to a warm phase, it has only recently
    flipped back to a cool phase. In other warm periods people have reported that
    the Arctic Ice Cap was melting. In 1969 the New York Times quoted Col. Bernt
    Bachen claiming “the Arctic pack ice is thinning and that the ocean at the
    North Pole may become an open sea within a decade or two.” Only a few years
    later the frigid winters of the late 1970s brought concerns about a coming
    Ice Age.

    The cool PDO will bring us a golden opportunity to determine just what effect
    CO2 has on climate. Solar activity has also declined and we are in a broad
    solar minimum that some people thought would end in 2006. This will be a
    wonderful time for real science, and we will learn more in the next decade
    than we have in the last five.

    In Pugh’s writings, I’ve found him to be so convinced that the Arctic is
    melting and will soon be open that I don’t think he realizes there is a good
    possibility that it won’t happen. The ice cover this summer tracked well
    ahead of last year’s for most of the summer and may well not exceed it. Some
    scientists expected that the thin, new ice that formed last year would melt
    quickly and that melting would be much greater this year.

    Is this a sign that we are entering a cool period or is it just an example of
    weather’s wide variability that makes teasing out climate signals so
    difficult. I suspect the former and I hope that the committee listen to Pugh
    with interest, but remember that the science is nowhere near settled and if
    anything is becoming less settled.

  119. Full text of “Farthest North”, Nansen’s account of his 1893 attempt to reach the pole, is available online. See around p244 of volume 2 for kayaking N. of 82 degrees. Quite a story.

  120. Another story about Pugh and his stunt in another Norwegian newspaper today

    – Nordpolisen har smeltet to tredeler på ett år
    (“- North Pole ice has melted to thirds in a year”)

    http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2008/09/07/546022.html

    – I fjor på denne breddegraden så jeg tre meter tjukk is. Nå kan jeg bare se en meter tjukk is.
    (“- Last year at this latitude I saw 3 meter thick ice. Now I can only see 1 meter thick ice”)

    The coverage of this story is very untruthful and irresponsible, IMHO.

  121. It is quite depressing, really

    Same story also in Aftenposten today

    Mot Nordpolen i Kajakk
    (“Towards the North Pole in kayak”)

    http://www.aftenposten.no/klima/article2639305.ece

    – I fjor på denne breddegraden så jeg tre meter tykk is. Nå kan jeg bare se en meter tykk is. I 2007 spådde jeg at Arktis ville være mer eller mindre uten is på sjøen om sommeren innen ti år. Alt jeg har sett på ekspedisjonen min, bekrefter den spådommen, sa han fredag.

    (“- Last year at this latitude I saw 3 meter thick ice. Now I can only see 1 meter thick ice. In 2007 I predicted that the Arctic would be more or less without ice at sea during the summer within ten years. Everything I have seen on this ekspedition of mine, confirms that prediction, he sais Friday”)

    There is just no limit to how this stunt is exploited, completely disregarding all facts.

  122. How much of south america was grassland is unknown; a lot of trees can grow in 600 years.

    I have read about this before. But I think one would have to look closely at the early Portuguese colonization records, such as may exist. They’d no doubt make comment on the state of the thicket.

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  124. On August 25 2003 my wife & I were on the expedition cruise ship Professor Molchanov when it became stuck in the ice at 80deg 22″N 25deg 35″E (N of Nordaustlandet) . The skill of the captain got us out of it. It was a good year for ice. It would appear that this is about as far as one can get.

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