Another stupid polar publicity stunt – “Row To The Pole”

I thought when I saw the Catlin expedition and their faked biotelemetry on their website I had seen the epitome of stupid when it comes to polar publicity stunts. I was wrong.

Enter the new candidate:

Not only is it pointless, but misleading to nearly (see update below) the point of pushing a lie with the expedition name. Why?

Well you see they know they can’t make it to the real north pole at 90N, 0W, since there will be a formidable ice pack they won’t be able to row through. So what do they do? They aim for the magnetic pole and will tweet some caterwauling about the northwest passage being open (maybe) along the way.

Look at the proposed route:

I had to laugh though, when I clicked “The science” link on the homepage and read what the scientific justification was. Its as if nobody ever took salinity and temperature measurements in the Arctic before. Here’s what they say:

==============================================================

A chance for gathering ‘world first’ data

The extreme weather conditions and its remoteness make field research in the Arctic difficult, so chances to gather data are relatively rare. That is why The Old Pulteney Row To The Pole voyage provides a vital opportunity to conduct much needed research.

David Mans, one of the crew, is an oceanographer and he will be leading the science programme to capture data on the open water crossed during the expedition. This will be first data captured from these waters and will provide a base line for all future studies.

Using specialist equipment, David will be measuring the salinity and temperature of the water at different depths. This data will then be sent to the National Oceanography Centre at the University of Southampton where it will help researchers piece together a more detailed picture of the changing Arctic.

Once processed, the data will be useful for modellers seeking to project the pace and pattern of changes which are likely to occur in the future: not only in the Arctic, but in other parts of the world.

How the research will be undertaken?

  • Data will be collected every 10 nautical miles throughout the voyage.
  • A small probe, is lowered into the water down to a depth of 50 metres
  • The probe will be lowered over the side around 8 times a day
  • The probe will measure the conductivity, temperature and depth levels of the water
  • The probe’s readings will be recorded along with the exact location from the vessel’s GPS system at each sampling position

Research Diagram

  1. Boat GPS system accurately
    records the location.
  2. The probe is lowered over the side of the boat
    on a line released from a drum.
  3. As the probe descends it measures the conductance of the water,
    indicating salinity and records the water temperature at each depth.
  4. The probe can take measurements every few metres
    down to 50 metres or more.

With temperatures down to minus 15 degrees Centigrade, this will be hard and sometimes painful work to undertake as wet equipment in these temperatures can quickly freeze over.

================================================================

Gosh, “data useful for modelers”. And how do they reconcile this statement on the science page:

With temperatures down to minus 15 degrees Centigrade, this will be hard and sometimes painful work to undertake as wet equipment in these temperatures can quickly freeze over.

With this one at the top of the very same science page:

This once ice locked destination is going through rapid change as Global warming brings a great thaw to the region.

Hmmm. Too much Old Pulteney when they wrote this?

With the ‘world first’ data, I suppose this means the data gathered by NOAA drifting buoys and webcams since 2002 aren’t useful for modelers?

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

They actually start at the true North pole and relay thousands of data points as opposed to the few hundred points at best the row boaters might gather on the way to the magnetic pole.

In fact, there’s a whole bunch of satellite linked buoys in the Arctic operated by the US Military via the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory:

They measure data at depth too.

And then there’s the International Arctic Buoy Programme, which has a number of satellite linked buoys measuring sea water temperature and salinity, much closer to the actual North Pole:

So when the rowboat guys say:

A chance for gathering ‘world first’ data

I have to wonder what the “world first” aspect of the data is. It might be they mean this:

“Worlds first Arctic data gathered by a bunch of guys in a rowboat on a publicity stunt”

In case anybody thinks this isn’t a publicity stunt, meet the sponsor showcased on this page,    http://www.rowtothepole.com/the-whisky/    Old Pulteney:

=============================================================

UPDATE: I didn’t see this, because I was focused on the route map,  but our sharp readers did. Not only is the expedition pointless, it’s now an outright lie. They aren’t even going to the North Magnetic Pole!

Under the route map, they say this:

The expedition to the Magnetic North Pole (as certified in 1996) will set off from Resolute Bay in July/August 2011, the crew plan to row for 450 miles before finally reaching the Magnetic North Pole at 78 degrees, 35.724 minutes North, 104 degrees, 11.915 minutes West.

From Wikipedia:

The Canadian government has made several measurements since, which show that the North Magnetic Pole is moving continually northwestward. In 1996 an expedition certified its location by magnetometer and theodolite at 78°35.7′N 104°11.9′W / 78.595°N 104.1983°W / 78.595; -104.1983 (Magnetic North Pole 1996).[8] Its estimated 2005 position was 82°42′N 114°24′W / 82.7°N 114.4°W / 82.7; -114.4 (Magnetic North Pole 2005 est), to the west of Ellesmere Island in Canada.[9] During the 20th century it moved 1100 km, and since 1970 its rate of motion has accelerated from 9 km/year to approximately 41 km/year, or 1.3 mm/sec (2001–2003 average; see also Polar drift). If it maintained its present speed and direction it would reach Siberia in about 50 years, but it is expected to veer from its present course and slow its rate of motion.

Even drunken sailors could get closer than this:

click image to enlarge - Image from Google Earth, annotated by Anthony

 

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149 Responses to Another stupid polar publicity stunt – “Row To The Pole”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Oh here we go, here come the vitriolic debates about having a little water with your scotch…

  2. I appreciate the way you keep up with these things, but sometimes I wish you wouldn’t even give them the attention of mockery. Often I don’t even hear about these “publicity stunts” outside of WUWT.

  3. SandyInDerby says:

    Unfortunately the general public (in the UK at least) equate the the magnetic north pole with the terrestrial north pole. This is probably a marketing coup for the CAGW team.

  4. KnR says:

    Old Pulteney is very nice , but anyone want to take a guess on what the ‘findings’ will be ?
    Open water at the magnetic pole during the summer , perfectly normal , indeed read the stories of explores in the Arctic and you will see how open water can be found all over the place quite often during large parts of the year .
    Now lets remember how the TV program TOP Gear ‘drove ‘ to the North Pole.

  5. Ray says:

    Wonder what is their exit strategy? They might need it sooner than they think.

  6. Jeroen B. says:

    “Scotch on the Rocks instead of a tot of rum at the end of the day boys, keep rowing,remember It’s For The Planet!”
    /sarc

  7. Doug in Seattle says:

    They will at least have the services of the Canadian government ice breaker based in Resolute should they need it. And helicopter rescue services from Resolute make this expedition somewhat less stupid than the last one.

  8. Buffy Minton says:

    I spent 2 months last year somewhat north (81 degrees) doing CTDs (conductivity temperature depth) down to about 3000 metres from a research vessel, so I’m not sure what is unique or interesting about a dodgy 50m profile from a rowing boat but…hey…they’re saving the world. The word “wankers” really is in context here.

  9. Mikes says:

    While I generally don’t wish harm on anyone, I hope they freeze their arses off.

  10. the Rossshire Mannie says:

    Huh? I know about Old Pultney…. But… never heard a squeak on the local ( Scottish ) or englandistan wireless media. silly fools……… giving us a bad name
    Good night!

  11. biddyb says:

    I was looking for some information the other day and noticed that there is an expedition, including researchers from the University of Southampton, going around the British Isles measuring ocean acidification so I guess the university staff will be too busy doing their own thing to be too interested in the results coming back from the North Pole. It looked like the British Isles expedition was using a lot more sophisticated equipment that the odd bottle in a rowing boat. I was just wondering whether it was safe to go swimming in the waters around the UK anymore as it is probably so acid it’ll burn off my swimming costume but I suppose it’ll be good to have a skin peel at my age – cheaper than going to a beauty parlour.

  12. kuhnkat says:

    You just don’t understand data and data processing. If you manually gather data you can computerize its processing. If you automatically gather it with machines then you have to manually process it. Please catch up with modern Climate Science. 8>)

  13. DesertYote says:

    Maybe they will have a chance to test they can outrun a swimming, I mean drowning Polar Bear :)

  14. philincalifornia says:

    Jeremy says:
    June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    Oh here we go, here come the vitriolic debates about having a little water with your scotch…
    ————————————
    ….. well they won’t be able to find any ice, I’m sure !!

  15. Manfred says:

    Do they row behind an icebraker ?

  16. davek says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Top_Gear:_Polar_Special

    Driving may have been a better option.

  17. Andy says:

    If they are collecting “world first data” how do they know that it reflects a changing environment?

    Of course they don’t. What a crock. Any bets on how far they will get before they are blocked by ice and forced to abandon their trek due to “unseasonably cold” or “conditions more harsh than forecast”?

  18. Galvanize says:

    When did we start breeding such pillocks in the UK?

  19. Jimbo says:

    This will be first data captured from these waters and will provide a base line for all future studies.
    ………………..
    Once processed, the data will be useful for modellers seeking to project the pace and pattern of changes which are likely to occur in the future: not only in the Arctic, but in other parts of the world.

    Which they will compare to? WTF! This is even worse than looking at Arctic sea ice extent (on the satellite record – 1979 to 2000) and projecting.

    Ice-free central Arctic ocean during the last ~ 12,000 years
    USS Skate surfaces at North Pole in 1959
    Historic variations of Arctic ice

    Now, on the subject of projectons here are a few that have been observed.

    Reading Eagle – Apr 5, 1959
    “The ice mass covering the pole is slowly melting. The Arctic ice pack is 40 per cent thinner and 12 per cent small than it was at the beginning of he century. Experts predict that in not too many decades the region will melt altogether in the summer months.”

    Sarasota Journal – May 16, 1972
    Expert Sees Iceless Ocean By Year 2000
    WASHINGTON (AP) Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2,000.

    Exclusive: Scientists warn that there may be no ice at North Pole this summer
    Independent – 27 June 2008
    “It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. ”
    By Steve Connor, Science Editor

    CBS News – Dec. 13, 2007
    scientist Jay Zwally said:”At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions.”

    ABC News – April 7, 2008
    North Pole could be ice-free in a year: scientist

    BBC – 12 December 2007
    Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013
    Their latest modelling studies indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years. …….” So given that fact, you can argue that may be our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.”

    New York Times – August 20, 2000
    The last time scientists can be certain the pole was awash in water was more than 50 million years ago.

  20. wermet says:

    Actually, the term “Scotch on the Rocks” immediately comes to mind. I expect that even in mid summer they will encounter many small ice bergs and growlers. Not how I want to spend my summer vacation!

  21. Les Johnson says:

    Its not even the magnetic north pole. These gits are rowing to where the pole was in 1996.

    The magnetic pole is currently more than 7 degrees north of where it was in 1996. This is over 700 km.

    http://www.rowtothepole.com/the-expedition/the-route/

  22. TonyG says:

    I’m a whiskey drinker. That is one I believe I will ignore henceforth.

    Given the way the pole is moving, I’m thinking Vodka would be a better choice for a sponser anyways.

  23. Laurie Ridyard says:

    The theme tune for this

  24. John F. Hultquist says:

    If they will send a case of Old Pulteney to me I will subscribe to their updates and say something nice. Otherwise there are several sayings that come to mind, including “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” Albert Einstein

  25. Merrick says:

    It’s much worse than a “marketing coup”. They’re actually traveling to the “1996 Certified” North Pole, which is over 500 miles closer to their starting point than the current actual magnetic north. They might as well row to the 1961 position of magnetic north, in which case they would be done before they ever started.

  26. old44 says:

    Why don’t they just drive there like Clarkson, May and the Hampster?

  27. Theo Goodwin says:

    They are sponsored by an inferior whiskey. The best whiskey is Bushmills’ Ancient which is a single-malt that is aged 25 years. It is made by Scots in Ulster.

  28. DonS says:

    I look forward to these events each year. I think of them as “ABABS’ Annual British Arctic Boondoggles. Still, if it must happen, Old Pulteney is a single malt without which no Scotch collection is complete. No doubt the mission objectives were written by ad men.

  29. Andy G55 says:

    Question.. will their physical exertions release more or less CO2 than using a motor ?

    Also, note that they are doing it in summer, not winter. Still, I hope they iced in and have to be rescued !!

  30. Al Gored says:

    Perhaps it will be the world’s first fool-powered icebreaker.

  31. mr.artday says:

    Actually the general public is vulnerable to all sorts of lame lies because they are products of their nation’s compulsary Public Un-Education System.

  32. Arizona CJ says:

    Ummm… Are they proposing to do this journey in 1996? If not, they aren’t heading for the magnetic pole! They aren’t just being “clever”, their title is an outright fraud.

    Their destination appears to be Elef Rignes Island.. where the magnetic north pole was in 1996. But, perhaps hey don’t know it moves? By about 40 miles a year lately.

    They won’t come within 250 miles of its current location, even if they reach their destination.

  33. golf charley says:

    Last year Catlin sponsored a dash through the ice free north west passage, with a high powered RIB. Fortunately they had an ice breaker as a support vessel

  34. Colin Porter says:

    As a once proud Brit, may I apologise in advance to intelligent people around the world for this latest stunt, which follows those of other “intrepid” British explorers, Pugh in his kayak and Pen Hadow’s Catlin Expeditions.

    I feel deeply ashamed that a once great exploring nation with its great history in scientific endeavour, should these days be represented by these mirthful excuses for humanity, not just once, but for the last four consecutive years.

    Perhaps Jock Wishart will follow in his predecessors footsteps to become a successful after dinner speaker. It is about the only valuable spin off that this present survey will have.

  35. kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    Perhaps the polar bears are hungry and would like a snack…

    The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has been running lots of “Stop animal cruelty” fundraising ads lately. Many pictures of apparently abused and neglected cats, dogs, cats, dogs… Then they slip in the NatGeo photo of a cute white fluffy baby seal minding its own business on the snow and ice, happy in its native territory.

    Well then, if they want to help out these cute baby seals, might as well give their predators something else to eat so the big-eyed baby seals won’t get devoured. Volunteer Arctic explorers will make the polar bears very happy.

    Gee, after all the talk of drowning polar bears due to the melting Arctic sea ice, with the “poster child” image of a bear Stranded! on a small chunk of floating ice, do they even know the polar bears can swim right up to their puny little row boats? Are they planning on sleeping in them at night?

  36. Mark says:

    One would hope that their sponsor have booked the Russian or Canadian rescue party in advance, so not too much Scotch would be wasted on rocks in this misadventure.

  37. JDN says:

    Isn’t that a coal-fired steam ship right on the bottle? :)

    Old Pulteney appears to be a cheap, salty highland single-malt scotch with a lot of buzz in the “alternative” crowd. Yet, it doesn’t have any smoke (not made with peat), and, people are comparing it to Johnny Walker black (not good company). Probably not for me,but, I’m going to have to try it now. So, as a publicity stunt, this works out great for the company.

  38. Bill Marsh says:

    Well thanks Anthony. Thanks for ruining what was otherwise going to be a decent dinner. ;)
    This is almost beyond belief. Do these ‘scientists’ have no sense of pride or honor? I have no idea how a self-respecting ‘scientist’ could possibly associate himself/herself with an endeavor that is obviously a publicity stunt to advertize liquor.

  39. Green Sand says:

    I think I might be able to help.
    Instead of these poor guys expending all there energy rowing uphill to the North Pole we have a helicopter that can drop them off at the actual North Pole and they can then take their time coming back down on the tide.
    Let me know if you want a lift, Non-Virgin Flights.Com

  40. Billy Liar says:

    Perhaps they should take a look at N N Zubov’s book ‘Arctic Ice’ published in May 1943 and based on observations in the 30’s and early 40’s

    http://www.archive.org/stream/arcticice00zubo#page/398/mode/2up

    Plenty of depth vs salinity discussion and graphs in Chapter XII.

  41. DonS says:

    @Bill Marsh. Between an insurance underwriter (Catlin) and a Scotch whiskey (Old Pulteney), my choice of sponsors for the ABABS (Annual British Arctic Boondoggles) pseudo-scientific venture is clearly the Scotch. The tone of this expedition is not self-righteous, these guys are out to have some fun. Careful they don’t catch you being a little stiff.

  42. Curiousgeorge says:

    Everybody! Sing along!
    Row, row, row your boat
    Gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Gently down the stream.

  43. Jimbo says:

    Here is some more water based insanity sponsored by Old Pulteney, the sponsors of “row to the pole” stupidity.

    The Spaniard set a new world record for successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean on a jetski in 2002 with the expedition ‘Atlantik 2002’. …………During this time, Alvaro spent on average 12 hours per day standing up and this expedition represented the first ever attempt at travelling 10,000 nautical miles of open ocean by a person on a watercraft.
    Daily Telegraph

    LOL!

  44. Jimbo says:

    Despite my vitriol towards these scammers I do hope this does not end in tragedy. Catlin have had lucky scrapes.

  45. starzmom says:

    Every 10 nautical miles or 8 times a days? How far apart is 8 times a day? I bet most of the “data”is useless anyway.

  46. Gaylon says:

    Yea, right, Scotch for a sponsor. Actually that makes perfect sense given you’d have to be three-sheets to the wind to believe their dribble (pun intended).

  47. Jer0me says:

    Jeremy says:
    June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Oh here we go, here come the vitriolic debates about having a little water with your scotch…

    I have to say I used to shun any kind of water in mine. I then was pretty much forced to when drinking v good single malt in the tropics, as you need some ice to cool it. Tried those granite cube things, but found out it’s the melting, not the coldness, that cools it, so suffered the ice cubes…..

    And came to thoroughly enjoy the ‘thinning’ of the scotch as you drink it. The flavour changes throughout, and is well worth the experience. I now almost always have a little ice, preferably from spring water, unless it is too cold (ie below 20C from me).

    OK, OK, OT, but he started it!

  48. Ric Werme says:

    I don’t get it, apparently they’re only returning data, not water samples. They could’ve been so green – drink a bottle of Old Pulteney, recycle it as a water sample bottle.

  49. Moderate Republican says:

    Funny how the point being that this wouldn’t have been possible until very recently is totally missed in the comments….

    REPLY: Oh puhleeze. Read your history buddy, start with Nansen – Anthony

  50. Lee Klinger says:

    I have to chuckle at all the science they plan to do on this expedition. I have been on scientific expeditions in Arctic, navigating the open ocean north of 80 degrees latitude near Spitzbergen in a two-person kayak. It was sheer survival. Luckily, I was doing my science on land and only using the boat to get from place to place. I can’t imagine days on end in a small boat under those conditions trying to take measurements, while your puking!

  51. lowercasefred says:

    Please excuse, but this bears repeating:

    Buffy Minton says:

    June 15, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    I spent 2 months last year somewhat north (81 degrees) doing CTDs (conductivity temperature depth) down to about 3000 metres from a research vessel, so I’m not sure what is unique or interesting about a dodgy 50m profile from a rowing boat but…hey…they’re saving the world. The word “wankers” really is in context here.

    That’s right WANKERS (oh hell, that’s a pejorative – go ahead, shoot me).

  52. Jimbo says:

    My poor, misguided children. Who could have put you up to such ice folly?

    In the UK such people are commonly known as a bunch of wankers or sad gits. ;) When they make it back home they will tell delusional people how they hugged the sad polar bears in the tropical waters.

  53. H.R. says:

    ■Data will be collected every 10 nautical miles throughout the voyage.
    ■A small probe, is lowered into the water down to a depth of 50 metres
    ■The probe will be lowered over the side around 8 times a day
    ■The probe will measure the conductivity, temperature and depth levels of the water
    ■The probe’s readings will be recorded along with the exact location from the vessel’s GPS system at each sampling position

    I can see it now…

    “Dang-it, boys! We’ve been rowing for days and it’s still only 50 meters deep!”

  54. Bob Kutz says:

    “Well you see they know they can’t make it to the real north pole at 0N, 0W, since there will be a formidable ice pack they won’t be able to row through.”

    Just a quick correction; the North Pole is actually 90N, isn’t it?

    REPLY: Yup, thanks for catching the typo, dropped the 9

  55. Lloyd says:

    I still think they are idiots, but their choice of the 1996 magnetic pole is probably influenced by that being the Top Gear destination, and the destination of the annual Polar Challenge which is a race to the 1996 magnetic north on skis.

  56. cotwome says:

    Before Moderate Republican (@ June 15, 2011 at 5:22 pm) put their foot in their mouth, I was going to say how interesting it was so few people ‘troll’ threads like this. And by this, I mean, something so amazingly stupid from the AGW alliance one cannot possibly defend it’s relevance to science!

  57. johnb says:

    Taco Bell had a great publicity stunt when the MIR crashed into the ocean, this thing by Pulteney reminds me of the same sort of thing.

    http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=4152

    “Taco Bell has created a 40 by 40-foot target, painted with a Bell bull’s-eye and bold purple letters stating: “Free Taco Here.” The floating target will be placed in the South Pacific Ocean off the coast of Australia in advance of Mir’s descent.

    “Taco Bell is capturing the imagination of millions of people as they eagerly await Mir’s return to earth,” said Chris Becker, vice president of brand communications, Taco Bell Corp. “If Mir rings our bell, we will offer a free taco to everyone in the U.S.,” added Becker. “

  58. sophocles says:

    The end of a magnet which points (roughly) north is historically known as the “north pole” of the magnet, and the other end is known as the magnet’s “south pole”. Because opposite poles attract, the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole is physically actually a Magnetic North Pole. This means the “Row to the North Pole” crew are really rowing to the Magnetic South Pole which is the magnetic pole in the North instead of the Magnetic North Pole which is in the South …

    .

  59. Robert F. Scott’s expedition ended in tragedy, and Roald Amundsen won the race to the pole, because, in part, Scott disguised a chase for glory as a scientific enterprise. Scott wasted time collecting rocks when he could have been making time to or from the pole to the safety of base camp. The punchline to Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s __The Worst Journey in the World__, about a second prong of Scott’s expedition, to collect the eggs of the Emperor penguin, was that, after years, no one bothered to dissect the eggs that they collected at the cost of so much suffering. The science was a pathetic front for Scott’s grandstanding. Kinda like the space shuttle and NASA or this “row to the pole”.

  60. MattN says:

    They must have been drinking mass quantities of that stuff to come up with this stupid stunt.

    I hope they wreck on an iceberg and have to be rescued. Idiots….

  61. Gerald Machnee says:

    And they will find mushy ice like Barnard did.

  62. Ben H says:

    I see in the photo that they are all in T-shirts so I don’t think their equipment is going freeze too soon?!

  63. DCC says:

    sophocles said: “The end of a magnet which points (roughly) north is historically known as the “north pole” of the magnet, and the other end is known as the magnet’s “south pole”. Because opposite poles attract, the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole is physically actually a Magnetic North Pole. This means the “Row to the North Pole” crew are really rowing to the Magnetic South Pole which is the magnetic pole in the North instead of the Magnetic North Pole which is in the South.”

    I’ll have to ask you for a reference for that. I had always assumed that a magnetized compass arrow took all that into account. IOW, the south pole of the arrow is the one pointing north.

  64. Rod Gill says:

    Data will be collected every 10 nautical miles throughout the voyage.
    The probe will be lowered over the side around 8 times a day

    8 times a day every 10 miles (I’ll assume US miles, not Nautical miles which are longer) means they aim to row 80 miles a day. In no wind and flat seas on a straight line that’s 8mph for 10 hours. I doubt if a laden row boat does more then 5 mph. Then if it takes 30 minutes to take a reading that’s a 14 hour day in sub-zero(deg C) seas. Now add islands and icebergs and open leads that head in every direction but the one they want and consider bitter cold head winds and the time needed to cook and consume 8,000+ calories a day (just to stay alive) and I don’t see 8 readings as achievable unless they stop regardless of where they are.
    Probably end up with 8 a day, but over a very randon set of distances! Looks like simple arithmetic is already too much for these intrepid explorers.
    Comments above reminded me of Spike Milligan in the Goon show in a sketch where they were marooned in a lifeboat: “They rowed for days and days, until one day they found an outboard motor under a thwart. So they rowed with that instead!”

  65. David L says:

    Has anyone shown that an ice free north pole is actually a bad thing?

  66. sky says:

    I actually see a pedagogical value in the expedition. Let them freeze their buns off learning how cold the Arctic really is even in midsummer. The only downside is giving a good scotch a bad name. That is unforgivable!

  67. Ian W says:

    Jimbo says:
    June 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    My poor, misguided children. Who could have put you up to such ice folly?

    In the UK such people are commonly known as a bunch of wankers or sad gits. ;) When they make it back home they will tell delusional people how they hugged the sad polar bears in the tropical waters.

    The correct terminology is actually “Plonkers”
    The fact that they claim to be academics actually emphasizes the point.

  68. Pray for the polar bears, Should these fools be eaten, the polar bears may catch a loathsome disease!
    (Hey guys! It’s a JOKE!)

    What these fools are doing is dangerous. Lots of people have died exploring the arctic and they were much better equiped. I expect that they will abort when they find out the inconvienent truth (it is really, really, unpleasantly cold), or will put themselves at real risk and expect the world come to their rescue.

    This has been around before, but it encapsulates the subject. (The Love of My Life says it freaks her out, but then she is just a girl.) If you watch closely, you can see similarties between him and the Goracle.

    http://www.pieheaven.net/2009/11/21/tiny-tim-the-ice-caps-are-melting/

    Steamboat Jack (Jon Jewett’s evil twin.)

  69. jorgekafkazar says:

    How sad! A few years ago, we’d have all immediately recognized this as the joke I sure hope it is.

  70. GBees says:

    If they drink a bottle of Scotch in 18 nips along the way they can claim the world’s first Arctic Aqua Golf Course …

  71. David Hemmann says:

    “This will be first data captured from these waters and will provide a base line for all future studies.”

    I guess they’re working from the old Buddhist saying that you can’t step on the same river twice. By that logic, that specific water at 50 meters probably never has been measured.(along with 99.99999% of the rest of the water in the ocean. You can’t be too esoteric to push this stuff.

  72. P Wilson says:

    Colin Porter says:
    June 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm
    “As a once proud Brit, may I apologise in advance to intelligent people around the world for this latest stunt, which follows those of other “intrepid” British explorers, Pugh in his kayak and Pen Hadow’s Catlin Expeditions.

    I feel deeply ashamed that a once great exploring nation with its great history in scientific endeavour, should these days be represented by these mirthful excuses for humanity, not just once, but for the last four consecutive years.”

    Societies decay from the top. True, we used to be calm, outward looking and extrovert. Now we’re an island of aggressive, psycho babbling, intense and inward looking creatures.

    I don’t know how this came about, but all societies turn to barbarity at some stage. Barbarity in the sense of Matthew Arnold’s definition – Absence of culture and civilization – along the lines of “Shameless”

    Frank sociological rant over

  73. philincalifornia says:

    David L says:
    June 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm
    Has anyone shown that an ice free north pole is actually a bad thing?
    ————————————————————————————–
    In the world of left wing lies and their related internet myths and mainstream media BS, of course it’s a bad thing. So shut the f*** up and pay your taxes to them would ya.

    Meanwhile in the actual real world, has anyone noticed how many people actually look out of the window on a transatlantic flight over the Arctic ?? It’s usually approximately one on the numerous flights I’ve taken (me – and I have photographs to prove it). The crap movie usually takes precedence over 12 seconds of viewing this so wondrous and valuable planetary asset.

  74. bikermailman says:

    Jeremy says:
    Oh here we go, here come the vitriolic debates about having a little water with your scotch…

    No debate, I take mine neat. :D

  75. Chris says:

    Let them use hockey sticks on their return trip.

  76. SteveSadlov says:

    This reminded me. There has been much hoopla about fresh water input into northern oceans, mostly the Arctic and Atlantic. But in reality, that oft pimped scenario has not unfolded. Meanwhile, scads of fresh water pour into the Gulf of Mexico and will continue to do so. Instead of the scenario of the “Greater than Great Melt” dropping upper latitude glacial ice into the drink, the real scenario is Cordilleran snow pack with a bit of far northern plains snow pack making the Gulf of Mexico brackish. How about the models of that?

  77. James Sexton says:

    Steamboat Jack says:
    June 15, 2011 at 7:32 pm

    Pray for the polar bears, Should these fools be eaten, the polar bears may catch a loathsome disease!
    (Hey guys! It’s a JOKE!)

    What these fools are doing is dangerous. Lots of people have died exploring the arctic and they were much better equiped. I expect that they will abort when they find out the inconvienent truth (it is really, really, unpleasantly cold), or will put themselves at real risk and expect the world come to their rescue.
    ========================================================
    Tiny Tim never gets old for me!!!
    I think it likely they’ll expect the sane world to come to their rescue. If not, I believe the proper term would be “culling the herd”.

  78. scannit says:

    If they get ice bound, would they then be Scots on the Rocks? :-)
    As for the disparity between the location of the magnetic north pole, they do mention that in their “The Expedition” web page:

    http://www.rowtothepole.com/the-expedition/

    “Scots adventurer Jock Wishart is mounting an expedition to the Magnetic North Pole (as certified in 1996) to highlight the already dramatic effect of climate change on the ice around the Polar Regions.”

    Regards..

  79. Joanie says:

    Looking forward to some entertainment from this stunt. Caitlin came to mind the other day and I was missing those highly entertaining posts and updates. I hope that they seriously do allow GPS tracking in real time, and maybe some blog updates or something so that they can describe the bone wrenching coldness (do they have electric seat warmers maybe?)
    Still, it’s just a silly stunt, and they can be rescued easily unless the polar bear is very quick.

    Joanie

  80. Wellington says:

    I’m afraid you have missed the point.

    I think the Old Pulteney chaps studied their Zeno and realized that these clowns can’t ever reach the shifting Magnetic Pole. They can only arrive at the points where the pole has been before, just like Achilles racing the tortoise. There are an infinite number of points where they have to row first. Motion is just an illusion and this whisky campaign will go on forever.

    Very clever. I think I should try a bottle.

  81. brc says:

    Everyone who has watched Top Gear knows you have a Gin and Tonic for pointless polar expeditions, not a scotch.

    I predict failure to row but success in brand greenwashing.

  82. Bill Illis says:

    This would be the first time ever there has been open water and people in a row boat in the Arctic.

    Not including the Inuit, of course, who have used kayaks and seal-skin whaling boats for the past thousand or more years.

    How much foresight do you think it took to invent the Arctic-going boats a thousand years before they were needed due to today’s unprecedented Arctic warming.

  83. Cassie King says:

    Come on guys, these are young people wanting what all young uns crave, adventure and excitement paid for by the crumblies and coffin dodgers. When I was a rowdy youngster I would have told any lie to finance an adventure and that it what it is isnt it? The world is getting boring for the young, the search for challenges and excitement are fewer and there is less money, so its wholly reasonable and right that the young should pick the oldies pocket to pay for it, I mean look at it from from the their perspective, the money would only be utterly wasted on old gits stuff anyway so why not spend it on adventure and stuff. Every generation has done it, I told the most outrageous porkies in order to piss off to festivals and concerts and such like.
    We know the science is a load of tosh, the methods are a joke, the reasons are so tenuous as to be non existent but we are really talking about frisky youngsters finding a neat way to finance their adventures, in the olden days the young adventurers would tell the most outrageous lies to get funding for trips to the unknown places of the planet. No bullsh*t was to whiffy, it was all about extracting money and then laughing about how gullible crumblies are, once the expedition sets off of course!

  84. JeffT says:

    Top Gear’s Clarkson was reported to have done the trip from Resolute to the magnetic North powered by gin, so I suppose the Old Pulteney crew can do it on whisky.
    Only Clarkson did it in style, in a modified Toyota SR5, complete with camera, back-up and rescue crews.
    But these guys are just taking dangerous risks for a publicity stunt.
    Besides all the sensors and buoys that Anthony posted above, there is also the Russian Drifting station NP-38 at just above 81deg N, 171deg W. which is a staffed met station.

  85. AndyW says:

    I doubt they will even get to the 1996 magnetic north pole postion as that is normally ice bound all year round I think as it is north of the NW passage from the area ice comes from to fille the NW passage with bergs. Even last year when the NW passage had very little ice that area was still unpassable by boat.

    Why didn’t they just say they were going to row the NW passage, wouldn’t that have been enough.

    I don’t normally worry about these people going on a jolly and claiming science but this seems to be a step too far. I wonder if the Scotch whisky company know? Perhaps should someone should email them?

    Andy

  86. rbateman says:

    Every year, a new bunch of late season mountain climbers is lost on Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood and Mt. Shasta.
    One of these foolhardy ‘in the name of science’ expeditions into the Arctic is going to net a boatload of victims of a very cruel Arctic environment. They may even encourage further unprepared fools seeking to get in on the act.
    Borders on reckless negligence.
    GPS is useful only to find the living and the rescueable.

  87. PaddikJ says:

    “Theo Goodwin says:
    June 15, 2011 at 4:11 pm
    They are sponsored by an inferior whiskey. The best whiskey is Bushmills’ Ancient which is a single-malt that is aged 25 years. It is made by Scots in Ulster.”

    I can’t believe that no one yet has picked up that gauntlet & derailed this thread into a single-malt-snob pissing match. Talk about wankers.

  88. Keith Battye says:

    This is going to fall off the road almost as soon as it starts.

    Let’s hope the rescue service are ready/

  89. Dr. Dave says:

    I wish Anthony could run an on-line betting site. I’d bet a month’s pay they never make it. The smart money says they’ll have to be rescued. One good storm could shit in their Wheaties. They’re in a freakin’ row boat in the north Atlantic! I think polar bears are the least of their problems (although I am not discounting them as being potentially problematic). The idiocy is being in a damn row boat in those seas. Perhaps this is Darwinism at work…

  90. Jack Simmons says:

    David L says:
    June 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Has anyone shown that an ice free north pole is actually a bad thing?

    No.

  91. Dave Johnson says:

    “Cassie King says:
    June 15, 2011 at 9:48 pm
    Come on guys, these are young people wanting what all young uns crave, adventure and excitement paid for by the crumblies and coffin dodgers”
    How very true, I also applaud the rowers for managing to get a once in a lifetime adventure paid for by someone else!

  92. Rabe says:

    News, Views and some answers to your IQ’s…

  93. Patrick Davis says:

    Maybe they’ll need to be saved from sea ice by a Russian ice breaker? Lets hope so.

  94. jono says:

    Ive just emailed old pulteney and asked them to confirm that the team will be rowing to either the 1996 9r 2011 position of the north magnetic pole.

  95. Patrick Davis says:

    Wait! What season is it up there? Summer? They’ll come back saying they have evidence of AGW because Arctic ice…melted…in SUMMER! Lets hope for another successful trip like the Catlin fiasco.

  96. sandyinderby says:

    biddyb says:
    June 15, 2011 at 3:52 pm
    The water quality round the UK coast isn’t that great in a lot of places, personally I wouldn’t go swimming in most of it. However it’s nothing to do with atmospheric CO2, but that’s another story and non relevant here.

  97. Redneck says:

    Well in one weird way this is sort of a traditional Arctic Expedition, as it is sponsored by a distiller. Otto Sverdrup named Ellef Ringnes, Amund Ringnes and Axel Heiberg Islands after the sponsors of one of his expeditions. Ellef and Amund Ringnes were owners of a Norwegian brewery and Axel Hieberg was the financial director of the Ringnes brewery.

  98. Gareth Phillips says:

    I used to like Old Pulteney, it was a good northern whisky, in fact the most northerly on the UK mainland. It had a great slightly smoky and heather taste. Now it only smacks of idiocy and bias. I shall not buy it again.

  99. Adam Gallon says:

    I’ve just asked on their FB page, why they’re using the 1996 position, rather than the current one. I wonder if it’ll get deleted?

  100. Alexander K says:

    I much prefer the honesty and sheer fun of the Top Gear loons, Jeremy Clarkson and James May, driving a Toyota pick-up truck (‘Ute’ to Aussies and Kiws, and a ‘Bakkie’ to Saffers) to the North Pole. I was also highly amused that the Mother Grundys in the UK castigated the pair for ‘promoting drink driving’ by toasting each other in the cab of the truck with a small glass of champers each when they arrived at the Pole.
    While the Top Gear expedition had no pretence of being ‘scientific’, it spoke volumes about the remarkable mechanical toughness of modern production vehicles.

  101. John Marshall says:

    Rowing to the magnetic pole. The BBC program ‘Top Gear’ drove there in a truck. Far more dangerous over the melting ice.

    I was also under the impression that sea ice contained salt. It freezes at -20C, due to the salt content, so will include salt in its matrix. Melting will not reduce surface salinity.

    So a useless publicity stunt. I might invest in a bottle of Old Pulteney though it is one malt not tried.

  102. Viv Evans says:

    So – should a hungry poley bear see them as nice, easy dinner, would they feel forced to shoot that bear in self defense, or would they allow themselves to be eaten, seeing that poley bears are drowning by the bucketload, so one really really should not reduce their numbers?
    Wouldn’t kiiling a p.bear damage their green reputations?
    And would their sponsor be happy to be seen as sponsoring p.bear killers?

    I soo hope they’ve thought about this! Let’s see their policy statement!

  103. Steve C says:

    I have a suggestion for their next antic, approximately as relevant to “climate research” as this one. Perhaps next time round, they could do an expedition to the Equator by trekking across the Sahara Desert. They’s be able to measure some really scary high temperatures to “prove” GW, but the best bit would be towards the end: “Aaargh! OMG, the southern edge of the Sahara is greening! Even Earth’s precious desert environments are succumbing to … “ You get the idea.

  104. Cold Englishman says:

    Whatever happened to Pugh the intrepid arctic swimmer? Wasn’t he going to swim on Mount Everest too?
    Remember the Branson kid, who paddled a canoe for 2 hours found out his arse got cold, so declared victory, planted some flags on an ice floe, and went home. You couldn’t make it up, really you couldn’t.

  105. Mike M says:

    My only question is would a polar bear resort to easting a small rowboat full of frozen smelly people if they got hungry enough?

  106. New Brunswick Barry says:

    I fail to understand why the Canadian government even gives these wankers permission to set off in the first place. If they come to grief, I trust it will be the the booze company, not the Canadian taxpayer, that foots the bill for their rescue.

  107. ShrNfr says:

    The Shackleton expedition comes to mind. Sadly, these fruitcakes will not have somebody of the leadership capacity of Shackleton in their midst.

  108. Billy Liar says:

    AndyW says:
    June 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    AndyW is right, it’s highly unlikely they’ll get anywhere near the old N Magnetic pole. Take at look at the ice charts for August and September last year:

    http://ice-glaces.ec.gc.ca/app/WsvPageDsp.cfm?Lang=eng&lnid=3&ScndLvl=no&ID=11715

    Waaay toooo much 8, 9 and 10/10ths ice for them to row through. It’ll take forever (even if their boat doesn’t get crushed).

  109. elmer says:

    It’s called the “Northwest Passage” for a reason, it has been open many times and there are even ports up there.

  110. Gareth Phillips says:

    Sad news I’m afraid from our plucky adventurers. Here is a report on their progress so far.

    But first the crew has to get round the Isle of Wight. So far their training attempts have had to be abandoned because it was too windy. “We wanted to row around the island,” says Wishart. “But, in the end, the wind has not been in our favour. So we’ve rowed along the Solent from Calshot to Christchurch instead, which takes us about 10 hours.”

    A pleasant row along the south coast of England is proving a challenge to our plucky heroes. Perhaps Southampton port has been confused with the arctics Southampton island? It’s an understandable mistake for a thirsty crew with access to substantial supplies of Old Pulteney.

  111. Smokey says:

    Earth may be headed for a new ice age.

  112. Jimbo says:

    It’s not just Greenpeace that’s the problem but lead authors whose jobs are “very much attached to renewable energy.”

    They are listed and cross referenced at the following page:

    http://www.climate-resistance.org/2011/05/the-inter-ngo-panel-on-climate-change.html

  113. Jimbo says:

    Aparently there is no mention of peer review or non-peer reviewed according to Hilary.

    “One thing that is conspicuously absent from the official fanfares and verbiage surrounding this masterpiece is any mention of ‘peer-reviewed’ (or non-peer-reviewed for that matter). Or at least none that I could find!
    http://hro001.wordpress.com/2011/05/09/ipcc-plays-snakes-and-ladders-while-going-full-tilt-for-windmills/

    If anybody finds it can they let her know.

  114. Jimbo says:

    Can you trust Greenpeace to be impartial when it kneejerk blamed Israel’s worst ever fire on the “effects of climate change and global warming“? It turned out the fire was started by an environmentalist burning her toilet paper at the Rainbow Festival. ;>)

  115. Jimbo says:

    NOTE:
    Oh crap! My last 3 comments were meant for the IPCC Greenpeace blunder.
    (I wasn’t paying attention to the tabs)

  116. Staffan Lindström says:

    June 16, 2011 at 3:16 am ….”I was also under the impression that sea ice contained salt. It freezes at -20C, due to the salt content, so will include salt in its matrix. Melting will not reduce surface salinity.” …. I hope you mean -2 [TWO] C… Mostly a little less… Otherwise it would be very worrying with all that ice both in the Arctic and the Antarctic….:-)

  117. John Tofflemire says:

    Dr. Dave wishes that Anthony could start a betting site for expeditions such as these. Better yet, I suggest readers contact Intrade and put exhibitions such as these on their menu and let people put real money on it.

  118. Douglas DC says:

    Polar Bear feeding program?

  119. Mike Ozanne says:

    “Jeremy says:
    June 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm
    Oh here we go, here come the vitriolic debates about having a little water with your scotch…”

    Only if you bought it cask strength dear boy, else it’s a sin.

  120. Mark Wilson says:

    Colin Porter says:
    June 15, 2011 at 4:26 pm
    “As a once proud Brit, may I apologise in advance to intelligent people around the world for this latest stunt, which follows those of other “intrepid” British explorers, Pugh in his kayak and Pen Hadow’s Catlin Expeditions.

    —-
    Don’t beat yourself up too badly. We have our share of idiots on this side of the pond as well.
    Just look at Moderate Republican.

  121. Mark Wilson says:

    The water quality round the UK coast isn’t that great in a lot of places, personally I wouldn’t go swimming in most of it. However it’s nothing to do with atmospheric CO2, but that’s another story and non relevant here.

    That’s another question. Are these enlightened rowers packing their waste products, or are they dumping them over the side?

  122. Pamela Gray says:

    I have never understood the idea of putting water in with the alcohol. Mixed drinks yes, but why water down the whiskey when all you want is whiskey? Is whiskey that bad? I’m not a whiskey drinker myself but I don’t mind it at all in mixed drinks. It just seems like the thing about tabasco sauce. If you have to water it down, why have it at all?

  123. John Mason says:

    I see the row boat has some very nice solar panels on it and is propelled by manual labor.

    I presume this is an example of the future for all mankind.

    It’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up with currents.

  124. John Q. Galt says:

    Has the joke been made yet about Anthropogenic Magnetic Pole Shift?

  125. TonyG says:

    Pamela Gray says:
    I have never understood the idea of putting water in with the alcohol. Mixed drinks yes, but why water down the whiskey when all you want is whiskey?

    When you’re talking your typical bottle of Scotch or Irish Whiskey, I’m with you. However, a LITTLE water is good for cask strength – just a touch, to open it up some. It improves the aroma & flavor (as I understand it, it helps release some of the volatile esters – not quite sure of the mechanism)

    Bourbon, which is another world entirely, benefits greatly from chilling IMO – thus, it’s good ‘on the rocks’. But I would never think to do that to good Scotch / Irish whiskey.

    I think this is heading a bit OT, and I need to stop at the store on the way home :)

  126. Hu McCulloch says:

    This has perhaps already been remarked, but where they’re going isn’t far from the 1996 location 78.595N, 104.198W (dixit Wiki).

  127. M White says:

    Must also point out that the boat is designed so that it can be manually pulled over the ice. So in theory they could just tow the thing all the way

  128. DD More says:

    And just less than a week since NASA sent up the Aquarius satellite. The key instrument, will study ocean salinity, the concentration of dissolved salt on the surface of the sea.

  129. tmitsss says:

    From Delingpole’s latest column on the 10 Reason to Be Cheerful About the Coming New Ice Age

    “3. As the starving polar bears march southward on the new sheet ice now extending from the North Pole to Gibraltar, desperate citizens will be forced to make tough decisions about which sacrificial victim should be fed next to the ravening beasts so that they leave the rest of us alone. ”

    I think we have some new candidates who are being quite proactive.

  130. dtbronzich says:

    http://www.scotchmaltwhisky.co.uk/oldpulteneyiceboat.htm

    The only thing “new”or “groundbreaking” about this farce that I could find on the website is the construction of the boat, and even that isn’t that new. Clearly a publicity stunt by a second class distiller…

  131. Mark Wilson says:

    So – should a hungry poley bear see them as nice, easy dinner, would they feel forced to shoot that bear in self defense

    Given the background of these guys, I would be surprised if they even owned a gun. If they did happen to bring one along, I suspect that if they do try to fire it, they would pose more of a danger to each other and their boat, than they do the polar bear.

  132. SteveSadlov says:

    RE: Ben H says:
    June 15, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    I see in the photo that they are all in T-shirts so I don’t think their equipment is going freeze too soon?!

    =======================================================

    It’s hard to tell from the photo exactly where they were rowing when the photo was taken. However based on the s___ brown flat water my guess would be the mouth of the Thames.

  133. _Jim says:

    Dr. Dave says June 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I wish Anthony could run an on-line betting site. I’d bet a month’s pay they never make it. The smart money says they’ll have to be rescued. One good storm could shit in their Wheaties. …

    Does this, or does this not, beg for a poll??

    .

  134. marcoinpanama says:

    Earnest Shackleton must indeed be turning over in his grave…

    His mission was audacious on a scale not imagined by “modern” explorers – to sail to the coast of Antarctica, then trek to the South Pole and return, leaving caches of provisions for another expedition that would start the crossing from the opposite side. Oh yes, and then sail home through the ice – after two plus years of being trapped in the ice, watching their ship smashed, trekking many miles to find open water towing their lifeboats over the ice, eating their dogs and finally sailing to a rocky outcropping on Elephant Island, whereupon Shackelton and a selected crew set out to sail to South Georgia Island, 800 miles by dead reckoning across the Antarctic Ocean in a twenty-something foot boat. Upon reaching the island, they were forced to trek across a glacier in the middle of the island to reach the whaling station. Shackleton later returned to Elephant Island with a rescue expedition and all – that is ALL of the men who started with him survived. They just don’t make them like that any more.

    Excellent story and pics here: http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/History/Ernest%20Shackleton_Trans-Antarctic_expedition3.htm

    Just in case you thought crossing the Antarctic Ocean in a small sailboat was easy, consider this:

    On may 5th, the eleventh day out at sea, the sea became much rougher, Shackleton was at the tiller:

    “I called to the other men that the sky was clearing, and then a moment later I realized that what I had seen was not a rift in the clouds but the white crest of an enormous wave.

    During twenty-six years’ experience of the ocean in all its moods I had not encountered a wave so gigantic.

    It was a mighty upheaval of the ocean, a thing quite apart from the big white-capped seas that had been our tireless enemies for many days. I shouted ‘For God’s sake, hold on! It’s got us.’ Then came a moment of suspense that seemed drawn out into hours. White surged the foam of the breaking sea around us. We felt our boat lifted and flung forward like a cork in breaking surf. We were in a seething chaos of tortured water; but somehow the boat lived through it, half full of water, sagging to the dead weight and shuddering under the blow. We baled with the energy of men fighting for life, flinging the water over the sides with every receptacle that came to our hands, and after ten minutes of uncertainty we felt the boat renew her life beneath us”

    So I say, let the Old Pulteney guys just drive up there in a Volvo with the guys from Top Gear and not embarrass the good name of men with real balls.

  135. sophocles says:

    ” sophocles said: ‘The end of a magnet which points (roughly) north is historically known as the ‘north pole’ of the magnet, and the other end is known as the magnet’s “south pole”. Because opposite poles attract, the Earth’s South Magnetic Pole is physically actually a Magnetic North Pole. This means the ‘Row to the North Pole’ crew are really rowing to the Magnetic South Pole which is the magnetic pole in the North instead of the Magnetic North Pole which is in the South.’

    DCC says:
    I’ll have to ask you for a reference for that. I had always assumed that a magnetized compass arrow took all that into account. IOW, the south pole of the arrow is the one pointing north.

    Nope. The magnet ends were known and named hundreds of years before the magnetic field was understood (sic).
    You can look here:

    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/magnetic/elemag.html

    for a succinct summary, and of course (if you feel you can trust it) there’s always the wikipedia entries on magnetism, bar magnets, magnetic poles and the Earth’s Magnetic Poles. Lots of textbooks (elementary physics) in your local library you can check, too.

    Magnets were originally known as “lodestones” before they were known as magnets. The compass was developed hundreds of years ago, long before magnetism was understood. Lodestone was regarded as magical because one end of a needle made from it always pointed roughly North. When the polarised nature of it was discovered, the end pointing north was called the North Pole (‘cos it always pointed North) and the other end was called the South Pole (coz it always pointed South). Like poles were discovered to repel and unlike poles were discovered to attract. Once the magnetic field of a bar magnet was discovered, the planetary magnetic field and the planetary magnetic poles were deduced from these physical facts, and their positions calculated before anyone went to find them. The actual polarity of the planetary poles is, therefore, obvious.

  136. Moderate Republican says:

    Mark Wilson says @ june 16, 2011 at 9:57 am “Don’t beat yourself up too badly. We have our share of idiots on this side of the pond as well. Just look at Moderate Republican.”

    Now Mark, that sure sounds like a personal attack. It certainly doesn’t have any science content…

  137. Smokey says:

    Moderate Republican was full of angry bile, repeatedly telling everyone he disagreed with that they were “wrong.”

    Then he got put in his place by Anthony and gota time out by the moderator, and now he’s all kissy-face and polite. He brings to mind the Eric Hoffer quote:

    “People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them.”

  138. Latimer Alder says:

    @biddyb

    ‘I was just wondering whether it was safe to go swimming in the waters around the UK anymore as it is probably so acid it’ll burn off my swimming costume but I suppose it’ll be good to have a skin peel at my age – cheaper than going to a beauty parlour.’

    Rest assured that no matter how much the alarmists squeal about ‘acidification’ (correct term = neutralisation), the waters of the ocean will remain resolutely alkaline. There just isn’t enough CO2 – nor ever can be – to turn them acidic. Currently seawater everywhere is mildly alkaline. In the future it may be even slightly less alkaline.

    Do not allow the alarmists to fool you with unsicentific scare stories about ‘acidification’.
    But you’ll probably have to save your pennies for that beauty parlour……. ;-(

  139. Gary Pearse says:

    Salinity varies all over the map depending. On the year and time of year. You can drinkk the water from the surface layer during the melt period. This year’s will be different than last’s

  140. Beesaman says:

    Areas of open water are no new thing, this is an article from the NYT August 12th 1905 about just that, from the Ziegler Polar expedition and its rescue in 1905, note the bit about finding “much open water.”

    http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=2&res=9A00E0D61738EF32A25751C1A96E9C946497D6CF&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

  141. Darwib says:

    They are going to take readings every 10 miles and take 8 readings a day. If math still works the way it did when I was in school, that comes out to 80 miles per day in a rowboat. Bravo for them. I hate to invoke my own name, but they sound like future recipients of the Darwin Award

  142. chas p says:

    “It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

    Nuff Said

  143. Annei says:

    PhilinCalifornia @ 8.07

    I have noticed the same thing on flights. Nobody bothered to look at the Maldives as we flew over them a year or two back; I think the cabin crew thought I was mad for being glued to the window watching them. The same again when flying over Greenland and NE Canada; the snow and ice seemed to go on forever…just wonderful. The same when flying along the Iranian mountains in February…miles and miles of beautiful snowy mountains. What was everyone else doing?…watching a dreary old movie or dozing!

  144. M White says:

    Interviewed on CNN

    http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/06/15/exp.nr.rowing.north.pole.cnn?iref=allsearch

    “Adventurer Jock Wishart discusses the dangers he will face trying to be the first to row a boat to the North Pole”

  145. Mark davis says:

    Whilst I am a bid advocate of free speech I think you guys should cut this crew some slack. May be a little appreciation that what they are trying to achieve wouldn’t go amiss – not so much the science but the adventurous spirit and pioneering go get it attitude. If the world was full of synods it would be a much less interesting, not to mention far less progressive place and I for one admire their courage and determination to push the boundaries of exploration and physical achievement. I wish them luck and will follow their progress with pride as they attempt to get to a position they have clearly stated is not the modern day mag north pole…a fact that appears lost on some of you

  146. John Taylor says:

    Anthony – you and your rather sad family of followers have got way too much time on your hands.Get off your backside and go and do something of some benefit, instead of merely criticisng others who are trying to make the most of their lives.

  147. Phoenix_Murphy says:

    I actually cannot be bothered to find out what the magnetic north pole is now, BUT it has been shown that it has shifted by a small number of degrees since the earthquake in Japan. (I don’t know how that is possible, but some scientists far cleverer than me claim this to be the case). Is it possible that this shift accounts for how the co-ordinates that this mission is aiming for seems not to tie in with your data which is at its most recent, from 6 years ago?

    Sensible discussion aside, I really do have to laugh at the audacity that you have to slate this mission. The men involved may have an aim that you don’t see the point of but you have no right to call it a “publicity stunt”. They will be risking their lives doing this.

    [Snip. ~dbs, mod.]

    Oh finally, as a “scientist” I’m sure even you can appreciate that the POLE of the planet is called so because of the location of the magnetic north & south POLES of the planet. So you’re comment that they are lying because they are aiming for the magnetic and not the geographic pole is totally inaccurate.

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