Polar Defense Project Deletes The Tough Questions

You may be familiar with the much ballyhooed “Polar Defense Project” which aimed to get two kayakers into the arctic sea as far north as possible. While it’s difficult to find a succinct mission statement on their web page, this is about as close as one can get:

Lewis Gordon Pugh will kayak from the Island of Spitsbergen (in northern Europe) across the Arctic Ocean, into the Arctic ice pack, and as close to the North Pole as possible. The journey, across some of the most dangerous seas in the world, is scheduled to depart on the 30th of August. The expedition will highlight how thin the sea ice has become in recent years.

We are calling for world leaders to take a stand against the destruction of the Arctic.

Let me say that being the leader of my own volunteer project on climate (www.sufacestations.org) I understand the drive to want to do something you believe in. I don’t fault anyone for that, and have respect for anyone who puts out the effort. At the same time, this project doesn’t seem to have clearly defined goals other than “The expedition will highlight how thin the sea ice has become in recent years.”.

OK fair enough, but the expedition lasted just a few short days, and the kayakers had to give up the trek because they became “stuck” in sea ice. See my report from last week “Adventures in Arctic Kayaking: we’re stuck“. Basically they gave up, planted their 192 world flags, and went home. It seemed anticlimactic in view of what the leader, Lewis Gordon Pugh said to the London Times in a July 16th, 2008 interview:

“I’m going to try and get all the way to the North Pole to show the world what is happening,” the 38-year-old said after launching his Polar Defense Project expedition on the River Thames in London. (Link to story is still available in the India Times here )

So I was surprised then to read about this “success” in their follow up post:

“On this trip I am delighted with many things – the fact that we got as far north as we did, further north than anyone has ever kayaked before…”

It reminded me of a previous post I made about reported conditions in the arctic back in 1922. So last Friday, September 5th I posted this comment on their expedition blog:

  • “…the fact that we got as far north as we did, further north than anyone has ever kayaked before…”

    Just wondering if that claim can be validated anywhere or if you are just making it up?

    It stands to reason that Eskimos and other native people of the north may have made it further north in the past. For example in August 1922. See this report from the Norwegian Consul in the Monthly Weather Review:


    Do you know for certain that natives of the area did not kayak further north then or in the past few hundred years?….in August 1922 the expedition made it to 81° 29′ north.

    Your last position where you reported that you got “stuck” was 80.52397, 12.21224 which is 80° 31′ 26″, 12° 12′ 44″

    Not that far from 1922…so given that it was possible to get about the same distance north then, it would stand to reason that:

    1) Ice melt was similar back then in 1922

    2) kayaking by native people may have matched or exceeded your feat in the past when conditions were similar

    3) Since previous records show similar reports to what you’ve experienced today, melts today are not unique nor catastrophic events.

    Here is a screencap image of that posting:

    Yet as of today, 4 days later, still no answer. The comment has been skipped over and many other comments have been posted since then. I’ll have to assume it has been ignored and/or deleted.

    Thus, it would seem that the Polar Defense Project won’t answer the tough questions, or even allow comments about them. The lack of basic planning and the inflated claims on this project are stunning, the lack of tolerance for anything that questions the project is also telling.

    Sadly it appears that the expedition was nothing more than a poorly executed publicity stunt.

    The goal set by Mr. Pugh in July’s Times interview was of course impossible, but apparently this fact was unknown to him, or he wouldn’t have allowed such a statement to be published worldwide. Surely with links to NSIDC and Cryosphere Today on his website, he must have been aware at some point, or maybe he was just going on the buzz of an “Ice Free North Pole” from earlier this year? With their splash screen for their website saying “The North Pole is Melting”, it seems plausible. Rumor has it that some folks “in the know” told him not to try this trip, but he went anyway.

    But it seems that even the premise of this expedition was not well researched, as Bill Illis points out in comments on this blog:

    Look at the compare images from Cryosphere for Sept. 5, 1979 versus Sept. 5 2008.

    The expedition could have travelled at least 300 miles farther north 29 years ago.


    And another commenter, “dipole” adds this:

    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.

    Nansen and Johansen in two kayaks turned into a catamaran.

    Source: The Polarship FRAM

    So much for Mr. Pugh’s claim of “…the fact that we got as far north as we did, further north than anyone has ever kayaked before…”.

    Yes it seems that the Polar Defense Project didn’t do much research at all, and I suspect they operated mostly on emotion and adrenaline. Because if anyone had bothered to read some of the history, Pugh certainly wouldn’t have made the grand claim of “I’m going to try and get all the way to the North Pole to show the world what is happening,”

    I suppose though this may be partly due to whom he rubs shoulders with, from his own web page: http://www.lewispugh.com/

    AL GORE – 29 November 2007

    Tomorrow I am the warm up act for Al Gore.  He will be addressing a group of property financiers in London.  I will give a personal account of the climate change I have witnessed in the Arctic.

    Gore has a penchant for exaggeration when it comes to arctic sea ice and polar bears, so perhaps this has rubbed off on Mr. Pugh.

    So next year, if this project goes asking for donations again, perhaps a few people or companies whom otherwise might throw their money away sponsoring such silly stunts will think twice before opening their pocketbooks.

  • 103 thoughts on “Polar Defense Project Deletes The Tough Questions

    1. They rode a modern ship to the location and kayaked from there.
      This was what Rheinhold Messner wrote about in his essay Murder of the Impossible.
      The fact that one good gale could have trapped them all in the ice for the winter also shows that they imperiled themselves and others on a stupid stunt.

    2. Anthony,
      “So next year, if this project goes asking for donations again, perhaps a few people or companies whom otherwise might throw their money away sponsoring such silly stunts will think twice before opening their pocketbooks.”
      I doubt it. it has been my experience that these folk make those types of claims repeatedly. The “unprecedented, for the first time in recorded history, first time in human history,” etc and nobody seems to care if they are shown to be full of it. It seems once the claim is made there is no interest in ‘disproving’ the claim as the claim makes such good press.
      For instance in the radio debate between Monkton and the AGW blogger, the claim was made many times that temperatures were higher than at any time in the history of the world, the Arctic was about to melt completely for the first time in human history, etc, etc and his claims were not questioned.

    3. At least with P.T. Barnum, you got to see his clowns juggle on their unicycles. All AlGore’s clowns seem to be able to do is backpedal on theirs. 🙂

    4. They got their 1 min of fleeting fame. Natives laughing in the background at the white-eye. Might of got farther with a native guide.
      Of course they wouldn’t post your comment , Anthony, it would have been embarrassing to them.

    5. Further proof that facts aren’t necessary when it comes to AGW. In fact, facts are left at the door.

    6. Perhaps they should use steel kayaks and break through the ice. Of course, there isn’t really any ice up there, so this would be a waste of time.
      They paddle a ways, get into a warm support ship, rest, then get back into their kayaks and paddle a bit more. With support like that, I could swim the Pacific Ocean. Might take many years, but still…
      How much CO2 and soot did their support ship dump into the environment? Did they buy carbon offsets? $5 says they get listed as the guys who paddled to the North Pole when they do the intro for Al Gore.
      Ol’ PT would be proud.

    7. What I haven’t gotten an answer on is why they went the way they did. They were trying to go through a locked front door when the back of the house was wide open.
      Here’s the present ice concentration

    8. I posted about this on the first blog entry, it’s worth a second note, I think just us diehards saw the first.
      http://polardefenseproject.org/blog/?p=205 announces that Pugh will be addressing the US Congress’ Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. I sent them a note and saved it at http://wermenh.com/climate/sceigw-lgp.html . I never heard back from them. No surprise.
      Amazing what you have to accomplish to talk to the SCEIGW!
      http://globalwarming.house.gov/ is the committee’s web site. You can view educational videos, e.g. “Attacking Big Oil” and “Big Oil Opening Statement.”

    9. Of course one might consider the working class answer to this elitist expedition, Ice Road Truckers. I would think that the opinion of the Ice Road Truckers, and an examination of their log books over the last 30-50 years would be far more telling about the true condition of the sea ice, rather than some elitist publicity hound.
      Another group of working class people who I would think would have much better knowledge of the Arctic would be fishermen and seal hunters in that area. Of course, these guys did have the common sense to hire a working class fisherman/ seal hunter to do the real brainwork to make thier little arctic vaction possible, but for some reason our congress would rather listen to European elitists rather than working class Canadians with whom we share this continent.
      All of my comments to their little web page have been deleted too. I wonder why?

    10. I often wonder about people like them . . . so committed, yet so ignorant. How can there be so many who shun common sense and practical reasoning in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?
      Then we get those tree sitters in Berkeley — Huck, Air, Mysteryman, and the other guy. They reveled in the news coverage of four helicopters and ten sat trucks in the last days. One would think the tree sitters would have given up a year earlier just to avoid avoid the unnecessary emissions.

    11. Nobody is going to remember in a couple of years anyway. 2009’s ice season is going to have more multiyear ice and thicker ice than 2008 did since 2008 started at such a deficit from normal because of 2007’s winds and unusually sunny summer in the arctic. I am fairly confident that there will be no repeat of the feat in 2009.
      Those facts might be “lost” on those people, though, because they might honestly believe the poles are melting and if that is the case, then they are in for a huge shock next year when the ice actually increases. Or maybe they are simply interested in publicity and donations. Nice work if you can get it.

    12. If you can learn the date, time and committee to which Mr. Pugh will testify . Mail a copy of your posting and reference to the news article to members of the committee. If there is any objectivity in the committee it will be brought up to rebut any anecdotal ramblings of Mr. Pugh.

    13. This blog is a testiment to the incredible varied and immediate information available these days. A lie simply can not survive 500,000 amature historians with the time to look up facts.
      Polar Defence has been exposed for what it was, a stunt…a poorly thought out naive stunt.

    14. Ecoactivists and ecotourists – so fashionably chic and gullible.
      Get stuck in the thin arctic ice {everybody knows it to be true that it’s thin because all the right people say it’s so} on a powerful icebreaker for a week.
      Try to trek across Greenland to highlight how warm it is and how rapidly it’s melting and end up getting rescued a few days later under life threatening conditions of wind and cold.
      So now we have yet another display of the True Believers of The Cause failing miserably on another much ballyhooed mission to save the Arctic and the planet after only a few days on an adventure, the start of which was delayed {too much ice perhaps?}.
      Do we see a pattern starting to emerge here?

    15. Maybe Pughesy forgot to add a bit when making his claim of “…further North than anyone has ever kayaked before…”.
      Did he forget to add “in this particular kayak that I paddled in”?
      Maybe? Perhaps?
      As if!

    16. Imagine this… book a cruise to “Warming Island”, drop off the greens on Cozumel. After enough Margaritas they would probably get a big laugh out of it.

    17. I wouldn’t even try to argue for these guys, their claim is indefensible… in my opinion you have been very restrained in your criticism – his claim, by your proof alone, is a bald-faced LIE, at least three times over (further in 1922, further in 1893, PLUS a settlement further north that certainly would have hosted a kayak or three at some point)
      Although I respected their goal (but not their attempt, clearly they chose the completely wrong place to start from, it seemed so obvious to me as it did to another poster here), I have -zero- respect for them now after this complete farce… they give AGWers a bad name, there are plenty who are respectable, but these are not them.

    18. Pingback: Talkayak - Kayaking News and Information » Polar Defense Project Deletes The Tough Questions

    19. JP,
      “there are plenty (0f AGWers) who are respectable”
      I guess that depends on who is giving the respect…

    20. Do not assume for a moment that these people are naive or guilible. They know exactly what they are doing by opening up a fiat market for fake green carbon credits they all stand to make a bundle of money. What’s better is after employment figures drop, it will be much easier for them to be able to hire good help.
      These people dispise the middle class, whither it be working middle class or upper middle class, they do not care, they hate you! Imagine how unique travel would be if you lousy middle class people were not allowed to participate. Authentic culture could be enjoyed by the elite without the nuisance of tourists, it would be wonderful to them.
      Their goal is to not only destroy the vile middle class, limit their economic, social and physical mobility, but make a pile of money while doing it! Yeah! The good old days of feudalism will be here again, where we common serfs will serve out lord and masters by financing the carbon credit market while the elite will enjoy all of the benefit.
      Unlike traditional industrialism and capitalism, these people are going to get rich by making us all poor, while the industrialist got rich by improving all of our lives by making things like factories, which greatly increased everyone’s material wealth. No, these people want us common folk to essentially pay taxes indirectly to the uber rich who are setting these deals up.
      If something has to be “done” about Global Warming, the Government should use their power to tax so that the funds go directly to the public treasury, not these elitist bums setting up the carbon bourse.

    21. It’s obvious they knew that they would reach ice, where else would they plant the flags that they brought?

    22. Doesn’t matter where these guys would have started from, they never would have got anywhere near the North Pole. Still, at least they could have made the claim of “kayaking further north” than anyone before more believable that way…

    23. I have, over the last few weeks, sent 5 messages to Lewis Pugh and none of them was included in his forum. The final one [somewhat derogatory one] pointed out my view that Lewis Pugh’s ego was getting in the way of the fact that he failed miserably in his quest and he should try something other than climbing on the Greenie Hysteria, Global Warming, Carbon Offset Trading bandwagon. I suggested that whatever else happened we wouldn’t be hearing of his exploits at the South Pole any time soon. In fact maybe he should consider a totally new means of seeking funds to aid his self promotion. Leave the Al Gore’s of this world to their modern day version of Papal Indulgences, etc. I didn’t really expect that one to go unmoderated!

    24. A few very minor points. While Nansen’s expedition started in 1893, his kayaking occured in 1895, and strictly speaking it started at 81 deg 45 min, not 82 degrees.
      As for getting to 81 deg 29 min in 1922, the Swedish “Sofia” expedition actually got to 81 deg 42 min in the same area in 1868, right at the end of the little ice age.

    25. I, for one, will be sending Anthony’s article to every contact I have. If everyone who supports this blog did the same, it’s just possible that the MSM might decide to further disseminate the news. Newspapers like to rain on a parade, as we know. T’is worth a try.

    26. Here is a part from an interview with a solo sailor (he sailed around the world many times and sailed many seas, including the northern seas).
      In a response to the question if he’s anxious to sail around the North Pole now:
      “Well, the situation isn’t as good as it sounds. Why is everybody talking about summer ice? Last year in the Bering Sea the ice was just as far south as it was 30 years ago.
      “I checked with friends in Murmansk and Tisksi. They say we have to thank the strong southern winds for the open passage. They are the best icebreakers, but when the wind changes to the usual Northwest it will be closed in no time.
      “When I look at the satellite images a lot of ice is gone, but not all. At Spitzbergen there is more ice now then there was in 2001, and on the Canadian site there is more ice now.
      “On the Canadian site the islands give you a lot of shelter. If you wait for the right time, you can sail to Cambridge Bay almost EVERY year, and, with a good forecast, continue behind King Williams Island, and then 900km to ice-free water.
      “The Russian Northeast Passage is much harder. It’s longer (5500km), so there is more ice variation, and there are no harbors except Tisksi. From experience I know there are more ice fields floating there than the satellites show, and the Russians never let a ship go through without the assistance of a icebreaker.”
      I translated this from an interview in a Dutch newspaper. (Anthony, feel free to to correct the syntax, spelling and typo errors)
      [Reply – Happy to copy edit! ~ Evan]

    27. BarryW (18:49:12) :
      What I haven’t gotten an answer on is why they went the way they did. They were trying to go through a locked front door when the back of the house was wide open.
      Well that is an easy one: There are regular flights to Longearbyen, Svalbard.

    28. Email to Richard Black, BBC Environment Correspondent.
      Dear Mr Black,
      Further to my email of 7th September, here is Anthony Watt’s article about his efforts to gain the attention of Mr Pugh’s group who failed in their attempts to paddle to the North Pole.
      I doubt you will have the courtesy to acknowledge my efforts to inform you about the AGW scam, but that’s not a problem, as I am committed to the truth and shall not be discouraged by your marked reluctance to defend your position. Over the next few months, it will be interesting to watch you try and deal with the reality of cooling global temperatures. I think you are on a hiding to nothing, but time will tell. Of course, I shall do the decent thing and unreservedly apologise to you, if AGW turns out to be correct, but really, the science is on my side.
      Yours truly,
      Perry Debell

    29. Different thread – same result – nothing……
      To Richard Black BBC – regarding Black trumpeting the Mann revised ‘Hockey Stick’
      You really must avoid printing anything to do with Michael Mann as though it were true!
      When the Steve McIntyres [Climate Audit] of this world shoot Mann’s claims down using accurate scientific data will you print a retraction?
      Somehow with the BBC bias towards AGW I doubt it.
      Brian J

    30. Ummm….something about second marriages being the triumph of hope over experience comes to mind.
      You didn’t seriously think it was ever something other than a poorly executed publicity stunt did you? Seriously. Be honest.

    31. tty (23:29:22) says:
      A few very minor points…
      Thanks for the clarification about Nansen’s expedition. I hadn’t expected that post to get cited in a main story or I would have tried to be a bit less ambiguous. You are right they were returning from their attempt on the pole in 1895. On p244 they give their position as 82deg 19′ while preparing the kayaks. Then p250:
      So then we set off across the blue waves on our first long voyage
      Then on p256 they again give their position as 82deg 4.3′.

    32. Don’t forget the one about the Britsh yachtsman who believed so much in AGW that he took a yacht to sail around the Artic in August ’07, getting stuck fairly quickly in ice that shouldn’t have been there! He then requested a Russian ice breaker be sent to resuce him, never made it to UK press as usual, qel surprise!
      Correct me if I am wrong, but is current progess in the (non) AGW debate going from Global Warming, 1980’s-90’s, to the present Climate Change, 1990’s onwards, to the very recent terminaology that I suspect will soon loom large of Climate Chaos? This of course is so much more catastrophic than boring old mundane Climatge Change. I will wait & see what gestates! after all we in the UK have been having chaotic weather patterns this summer, so I dare say that new expression fits the bill nicely!

    33. “I think they did it for the chicks.”
      I didn’t know that “chicks” dug failing self-indulgent ego maniacs. I am putting some kind of huge failure (and promoting it beforehand) on my “To do” list for the next time I am looking for a date.

    34. This episode reminds me of what my dear old grand Dad used to call Flem-flam artist. I think also it might be called bait and switch. They advertised one thing knowing that the outcome would be entirely different from what was indicated in the advertisement.
      One day these shenanigans will come back to haunt these AGW folks. Credibility is hard won but easily lost.
      Bill Derryberry

    35. This “expedition” was adopted by ITN news in the UK and I e-mailed them twice pointing out the sheer ignorance of the claims being made. I got no reply so I reported them to Ofcom, (sauce for the goose and all that). I have had an acknowledgement but I’m not holding my breath.
      This is what I sent:
      “I wish to complain about the current item in ITN news where they are featuring an “explorer” who is purportedly demonstrating the reality of global warming by canoing in clear water in the Arctic. Their claim is that no-one has ever been able to traverse clear water here to this extent. Their canoist claims that he wishes to prove to World leaders that the Arctic is melting rapidly because he is able to canoe for some distance.
      Whilst there are many claims by some scientists that the Arctic will be ice free in x number of years, (it varies with the scientist) there are many others who fiercely challenge this view. Regardless of the scientific conflict there is hard documentary evidence that clear water is not unique and is a natural feature of the Arctic Ocean. I have e-mailed ITN news twice and have given them links to evidence which shows their claims are unjustified and are wifully misleading the public. I have had no reply from the news editors although my messages have been acknowledged by their reception service.
      The evidence presented to them against their claims included the following: http://www.john-daly.com/polar/arctic.htm: As well as as clear science it has many photos of open water at the North Pole over the last century. These images are US Navy images and totally valid.
      The explorer Roald Amundsen negotiated the North West Passage in the early 1900’s: Amundsen: THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE – BEING THE RECORD OF A VOYAGE OF EXPLORATION OF THE SHIP “GJOA” 1903 – 1907 BY ROALD AMUNDSEN
      These comments are from that record: Of large Polar ice we saw absolutely nothing. Between the ice and the land, on either side, there were large and perfectly clear channels, through which we passed easily and unimpeded.
      The entire accumulation of ice was not very extensive. We were soon out again in open water. Outside the promontories, some pieces of ice had accumulated; otherwise the sea was free from ice.The water to the south was open, the impenetrable wall of ice was not there.
      The ice of the Arctic Ocean is never at rest. Even in the coldest winters it is liable to displacement and pressure by the currents of air and water. The expansion and contraction, due to changes in temperature, also assist in this disturbance. At times the pack itself opens in leads, by which it may be penetrated for several miles.”
      “On August 26, 1905 Amundsen and his 6-man crew encountered a ship bearing down on them from the west. They were through the Northwest Passage!” (http://www.athropolis.com/)
      A few decades earlier: THERMAL PATHS TO THE POLE, THE CURRENTS OF THE OCEAN, BY SILAS BENT, SAINT LOUIS: 1872. This is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) archives
      “Just as the work was completed upon these currents in the North Pacific, in 1855, the news was received in the United States that Dr. Hane had discovered an open sea near the Pole, and people began to ask how that could be possible, when it was well known that a belt or region of ice several hundred miles in width must lie to the south of that sea, and which was never dissolved.”
      ITN constantly claim that the ice is melting rapidly, in fact ice levels recovered significantly this year. Current measurements only go back to 1978 when satellite monitoring began. Prior to that in the 1930’s there had been a similar situation in the Arctic as recorded here: Controlling the Planet’s Climate, J. 0. Fletcher (Rand corporation) From the book “Omega – Murder of the Eco-system and the Suicide of Man , Paul K Anderson, 1971
      “For example, suppose that the warming of the Arctic, which by 1940 had greatly reduced the thickness of the pack ice, had continued? As the ice receded farther in summer and the thinner ice became more fractured in winter, evaporation would have increased, thus increasing the density of the surface waters both by increasing the salt concentration and by cooling; this would tend to decrease the vertical stability of the upper layers of the ocean.”
      These extracts from a letter by the President of the Royal Society addressed to the British Admiralty, recommended they send a ship to the Arctic to investigate the dramatic changes in ice cover described thus: “2000 square leagues of ice with which the Greenland Seas between the latitudes of 74° and 80°N have been hitherto covered, has in the last two years entirely disappeared.” The letter was written in 1817.
      The Danish Foreign Ministry has a History of Greenland which includes the following passage:
      “Towards the end of the 10th century the climate became warmer, and the change affected all those living in the northern hemisphere. Much of the ice in the seas around the Canadian archipelago disappeared, and baleen whales moved into the area to search for food. Eskimo whalers from northern Alaska sailed east in their large, skin-covered boats and reached Greenland in the 12th century.”
      This is a journey of a minimum 3000 miles as shown on this map of the Arctic Ocean. http://www.athropolis.com/map2.htm
      The theme is continued on the ITV web site and one discovers just how woefully poor their knowledge of the Arctic really is:
      “Adventurer Lewis Gordon Pugh plans to become the first person to kayak to the North Pole. His journey will show how cracks in the ice have made it possible to travel through what used to be permafrost.”
      This statement is so bad it qualifies as a schoolboy howler. The term “permafrost” refers to frozen land and has no context for sea ice whatsoever. The cracks are leads which open naturally, as described by Amundsen. Deep within the ice pack, leads provide vital access to the ocean for seals and penguins, and breathing holes for whales.
      The promulgation of this false information as factual news content from a major National broadcaster is totally irresponsible and not in the Public Interest. It is possible that members of the public convinced of their accuracy will lobby politicians for unnecessary draconian measures in the mistaken belief that we can control the amount of ice in the Arctic and that we should do so as a matter of urgency. This can only harm the economy and vulnerable sections of the population.
      Having presented them with contrary evidence to their claims I believe they should have taken a step back and examined it. The fact that they have not done so shows they are not interested in veracity, only gimmicks to improve viewing figures.
      I believe they should now stop further presentations of this falsity and redress the balance by stating the historical facts.”
      Of course I didn’t have it checked out at RealClimate beforehand…

    36. An adventure that is sufficiently audacious will always attract the ladies. They will never know how lame the attempt was.

    37. Me too, I sent a question to their web site, basically asking why the reporting of their failure was so triumphalistically slanted as if they had succeeded beyond expections (perhaps those were rather low), or if instead their reporting was an exercise in surrealism.
      Surprise surprise no joy as yet.

    38. Unfortunately here in Australia the Channel 7 news reported that they had reached the North Pole and planted their flags there (nice picture – but no facts). I just about broke my nice young LCD TV! It was only a 30 second filler – and I couldn’t get any hard copy of the broadcast so that I could protest about it.

    39. Meanwhile, the Arctic will go into 24 hours of darkness on September 21st and it will get very cold there just like it has every year since the earth’s axis was tilted 4.45 billion years ago.
      The average annual temperature at the North Pole is -24.5C. There will always be ice there (for at least 11 months of the year anyway.)

    40. This thread (and my parallel enthralment at just successful shots at the LHC at Cern) has given me an idea – I don’t get many but please don’t feel happy for me 😉
      I wonder, when the taxes kick in and the knock on effect has, well knocked on, where the income break will be between those who can afford, for example, holidays abroad, a swimming pool, etc and those who cannot, where will the average journalist fall.
      I know from personal experience that attempted education of a hack is hard, bordering on difficult, but maybe, just maybe, some of them would wake up if they realise that they are the very “middle class” that is targeted and most likely to hurt from all this.
      Mr Black from the BBC?

    41. Look at the compare images from Cryosphere for Sept. 5, 1979 versus Sept. 5 2008.
      The expedition could have travelled at least 300 miles farther north 29 years ago.

      It looks like there was a lot more ice cover 29 years ago, I don’t see how they could have gotten 300 miles further north at any point.

    42. Anthony,
      In related ‘nonresponse’ areas, did you ever receive any response to your queries about the ‘delayed sunspot’ from NASA?
      REPLY: I wrote to SIDC, twice, sinc ethey were the ones that made the decision. Non response.

    43. Hi Anthony,
      Great article! I, like several other posters here, have not had some of my less-than-congratulatory comments posted (although the comment I made regarding my previous comments on the Polar Defense blog WAS posted, asking where my previous comments were…).
      Maybe, like the IPCC, these guys think “the debate is over” and that global warming is responsible for cooling (?) temperatures and the recovery of sea ice…I may not be a scientist, and might have less education than some, but my military training prepared me for understanding the principles of heat dissipation, measuring of frequencies/vibrations, pressure (high and low), etc., and, well, no matter how hard I try to wrack my brain, search through my notes and old manuals…I cannot come up with any reasonable explanation as to WHY supposedly rising temperatures will create COLDER conditions to produce ice…
      …must be part of the new math…
      Michael in sunny-ish Florida

    44. Got these quotes from the Polar Defense Project and various media websites.
      Day 1 – To get here, “We took three small one and a half hour flights. We are taking this voyage on an old fishing boat called the HV Havsel. Conditions on board are luxurious… There’s a hot shower and there’s a cook from one of the restaurants in Longyearbyen. In the evening he serves us duck in a red wine sauce, which tastes rather good. The glacier around us sends the occasional crack of thunder as large chunks of her break off, reminding us of the main purpose of this mission, to tell the world of the ice loss which is happening here on such a large scale.”
      Day 2 – “the team set off about two hours ago. We are all in good spirits…”
      Day 3 – “It is great to see the guys paddle out into the open ocean with its huge expanse filling the horizon.”
      Day 4 – “The waters today are much rougher and the wind is coming from the northeast. The ship is noticeably colder… 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!’ Whilst paddling, they are having to avoid many small and some large chunks of ice scattered on the waters surface.” I can see a faint ice wall on the horizon ahead.”
      Day 5 – “The temperature has dropped dramatically…We are starting to see larger chunks of ice, which instead of weaving through, they have to paddle around.” Turning in, we were warned by the captain that if the wind shifted over the night that we would have to move as we could be trapped in the ice.”
      Day 6 – “We were abruptly woken at 5.45am this morning by Lewis. He had come in to tell us that the wind had shifted to the south and the ice had jammed us in. As the engine strained, it grinded its noises into our small bunks. After breakfast we headed northeast to find a way through the ice to arrive at the same latitude that we had left. We have been trying to find a clear route ever since (it is now 4.40pm) and the ship is constantly being shoved from side to side as thunderous shudders pass through her as she hits the ice.”
      Day 7 – “I have slept poorly. We wake up to find we’re trapped. Overnight we’ve been drifting amongst the ice floes and the wind has blown them together, tight around the MV Havsel. The captain grinds the engine backwards and forwards in an attempt to free us. Finally the Havsel breaks free. What’s clear is that there cannot be any paddling from where we are, so we steam around looking for a path that’s navigable by kayak. So far, to no avail – we are right up against the edge of the ice wall.”
      Day 8 – “We have now left the realms of the ice and are heading south back to Spitsbergen.”
      The expedition reached 80.52397 degrees N latitude, about 651 miles from the North Pole. Here is a link to a bulletin from the US National Weather Service about a Norwegian Department of Commerce oceanographic ship, which sailed from Spitzbergen to in ice-free waters to 81.48333 degrees N latitude (66 miles further north than our intrepid kayakers got) – in the summer of 1922. http://docs.lib.noaa.gov/rescue/mwr/050/mwr-050-11-0589a.pdf
      A degree of latitude is defined as 60 nautical miles, or 69.04 statute miles. Conceptually, degrees of latitude are the same distance apart no matter where you go on earth. However, in reality it varies from 68.70 statute miles per degree at the poles to 69.41 statute miles per degree at the equator, due to the earth bulging slightly near the equator due to centrifugal force from its rotational spin.
      The ship the Polar Defense Project hired was a Norwegian seal-hunting boat, owned and captained by Bjørne Kvernmo, 52, an experienced seal hunter with a long record of defending Norway’s seal hunts. (Not sure how seal hunting is done – harpooning or clubbing baby seals to death?)
      One of the dangers for our explorers in their kayaks was their documented encounters with wildlife, including whales, walruses and polar bears.
      This “expedition” was a great example of environmentalists drinking to much “global warming Kool-Aid”, and then literally bumping into REALITY. After jetting to the Arctic, renting a seal-hunting ship with a large diesel engine and dining on roast duck, they discovered that the edge of the Artic sea ice is further south than it was in 1922, and that there are polar bears up there.
      But, these jet-setting kayakers made out better than Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen, who started off to hike to the North Pole in the spring of 2007, planning to make online posts with photographic evidence of global warming. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/12/AR2007031200997.html
      They had to be evacuated from Ward Hunt Island, Canada when the extreme cold caused Arnesen to suffer three frostbitten toes and froze their cameras. According to Ann Atwood, one of the trips organizers, “One night they measured the temperature inside their tent at 58 degrees below zero and outside temperatures were exceeding 100 below zero at times.” “They were experiencing temperatures that weren’t expected with global warming,”

    45. Not that far from 1922…so given that it was possible to get about the same distance north then, it would stand to reason that:
      1) Ice melt was similar back then in 1922
      2) kayaking by native people may have matched or exceeded your feat in the past when conditions were similar
      3) Since previous records show similar reports to what you’ve experienced today, melts today are not unique nor catastrophic events.

      Have you seen this chart:
      are you claiming that the data is completely false and the summer 1922 measurement should be in fact 5 million km^2 lower?

    46. Geo (23:27:53) says:
      I think they did it for the chicks.

      Safe for work. There’s another one too. More of the same.

    47. I had also sent an email to the BBC news and to the Daily Telegraph with a copy of a picture of 3 US submarines at an ice free north pole in 1986. No response and not printed or commented on later bulletins.
      Perhaps I should complain to the BBC Governors?
      I accused them of sloppy, unresearched journalism.

    48. ___________________
      In related ‘nonresponse’ areas, did you ever receive any response to your queries about the ‘delayed sunspot’ from NASA?
      REPLY: I wrote to SIDC, twice, sinc ethey were the ones that made the decision. Non response.
      Interesting that dxlc still has not updated their website to reflect the ‘new’ sunspot
      on their activity chart, but they do reflect the .5 sunspot activity in their solar cycle sunspot activity for August.

    49. Pugh says he was “delighted” at how far north they got?
      Shouldn’t he have become more and more “discouraged” the further north they got given that their mission was to determine to what extent the arctic has been “destroyed”?
      Unless, of course, their “mission” all along was the pursuit of glory and not science.

    50. Rick Werme,
      I read your letter to the committee on energy, and appreciated your expression of scepticism of the Pugh “gesture” in a balanced comment. It was well-written and informative. I wondered, however, about a statement comparing last and this year’s sea ice. Would you clarify for a non-scientist:
      “The ice cover this summer tracked well ahead of last year’s for most of the summer and may well not exceed it.”
      Also, you point out that “accurate” records of sea ice have been available since we have had satellite images of the earth. Can satellites give an impression of ice density? If not, perhaps this should read, “Accurate records of sea ice extent…” (?)

    51. Pieter Folkens (18:54:35) :
      I often wonder about people like them . . . so committed, yet so ignorant. How can there be so many who shun common sense and practical reasoning in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

      They’re rich kids. They’ve been told their entire lives that they are smart enough to do anything they wish. No teacher or parent ever tells them what they want to do is unrealistic, in fact, the opposite – no one wants to discourage them from attempting anything. A relatively easy life can leave one feeling rather spiritually empty, however, so there’s the need to do something ‘important’ or meaningful. Unfortunately for types like that, optimism can quickly turn into sheer hubris.
      (or perhaps there’s some sort of special climate-alarmist psychology where there’s no such thing as negative feed-backs :))

    52. dipole:
      I did not count Nansen and Johansens first short kayak trips across open leads, only the long voyage from Evas Island to Jacksons Island 7-26 August 1895. There is no latitude mentioned in the text for the start of this, but at least in Vol. 2 of “Med Frem over Polarhavet” there is a detailed map that shows that they started at about 81 deg 45 min.

    53. Bill P (08:52:40) :

      Would you clarify for a non-scientist:
      “The ice cover this summer tracked well ahead of last year’s for most of the summer and may well not exceed it.”

      Let’s just call that wrong. I was thinking of the ice melt this year not execeeding last year’s melt. However, the sentence’s context was ice cover. The relevant pretty picture is http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/daily_images/N_timeseries.png where you can see that only for a little time in June has this year’s Ice _Extent_ been less than last year’s.

      Also, you point out that “accurate” records of sea ice have been available since we have had satellite images of the earth. Can satellites give an impression of ice density? If not, perhaps this should read, “Accurate records of sea ice extent…” (?)

      Yeah, I should have said extent, but given my target audience, I figured they aren’t interested in the details. They’re probably not even interested in Email from people who are unimpressed by Pugh’s accomplishment.
      Maybe I’ll clean up the text and add some links like this page and send it as an update a few days before the hearing. Whenever that will be. They’ll probably want it soon before the ice starts growing. Last year’s freeze started a bit late, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re only a few days from the minimum extent.

    54. If you cannot get to the North Pole in a kayak why not drive there in a 4×4. Two TV presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May in a Toyota pick-up truck raced a third presenter Richard Hammond who was doing the journey using a team of ten Inuit dogs and a wooden sled.
      “Jeremy and James were attempting to become the first men ever to drive a car to the Pole, using a heavily modified Toyota pick-up truck, while Richard was going the full-Amundsen by using a sled pulled by a tried-and-tested team of dogs.”

    55. RE: Johnnyb (21:05:55) :
      They will only do this in the West. Then, the industrial civilizations of the East, will own the world after a short struggle (which unfortunately will be quite fatal for most Westerners, rich, or, poor). Game over. Say hello to the 10K year Dark Age.

    56. RE: DennisA (05:22:36) :
      Gjoa’s ultimate destinate was San Francisco. After being at the docks for a while, for the inevitable publicity and tours, she was towed back out the gate, then purposely beached at Ocean Beach. She was then pulled ashore and awarded to the City of SF as a monument to sit in perpetuity in Golden Gate Park. There she sat for years. However, during the 60s, hippies, drug addicts and bums started to live in her hull. Much defacement and incipient structural damage happened. Several small fires occurred. At that point, the Norwegian Embassy intervened and had her taken out of Golden Gate Park, partially restored, then shipped via freighter to Oslo for complete restoration. Where she now sits at the Norse Maritime Museum. Just a bit of local color I thought I’d share.

    57. Ric,
      Thanks for your reply and further links. From Congressman Markey’s intro to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, “a website for people who want to save the planet…” I take it Gordon Pugh will feel right at home.

    58. hahaha and groan… crazy thinking happens reading this stuff… how about the new ABC…. people are [snip] to do this sort of thing, they spout [doublesnip] because the science they draw on is [triplesnip]
      Reply: No implied profanity please ~ charles the moderator.

    59. M. White:
      The Top Gear folks opted for the North Magnetic Pole, which despite their total misunderstanding (they have things reversed on their website), is well south of the geographic North Pole. In fact, it is (or was IIRC when I was there) on Cornwallis Island in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago so the goals of the two ‘expeditions’ were different. I’ve flown over the North Magnetic Pole from the north, so the north needle on the compass pointed south… I won’t go into dip angles and 40 degree directional oscillations.
      Among the dumber things attempted by the kayakers was using modern composite kayaks and modern wearing apparel. If I was foolish enough to kayak in the High Arctic (and as I’ve been there, I’m not that dumb), it would be wearing furs and in a sealskin boat. Pugh et al’s frozen bums were the result of not using native knowledge and relying on Temperate Zone technology.

    60. On a more serious note, I’m taking apart BBC Richard Black’s “Skeptics Top Ten” which was Gavin S’s answers to Fred singer’s Top Ten (at a guess) because without this, he has nothing to stand on IMHO. Thanks to BBC’s report of the Mann zombie resurrection for leading me to this prime material. When you see that Schmidt could pick apart Singer but Singer was not allowed the same courtesy, it seems only fair that someone else should do this.
      I’m trying to channel the hot air from hot-air-breathers to dissolve the floating bits of ice they are standing on.

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    62. RE: omnologos (15:15:35) :
      It’s book cooking, you have busted them. I know you have, because I have also busted them in the past. Once a serious effort is undertaken to audit so called “Arctic Sea Ice Extent” and “Arctic Sea Ice Area” plots and graphics, I believe many irregularities will be uncovered. Steve M has a thread going about a horse race between last year and this year, but it’s not a proper audit. A proper audit is badly needed, because, where there’s smoke, there is sure to be fire.

    63. Any audit of sea ice must also include the ultimate source of the “data” – namely, the remote sensing data collection satellite based arrays. It must include all the issues with that collection. There may be no real way to take it the ultimate step of trying to validate the satellite “data” against absolute measurements taken on the ground. However, one could indeed perform an expose of the technology involved, its known failure modes, other known pitfalls, and other error factors and sources of uncontrolled variation in the arrays. Then there is the “processing” of the raw collected data (typically passive microwave, however, other remote sensing techniques are known to be used). The routines used to “process” the data themselves are sources of errors and variation. I would want to see an end to end stack up of all error factors. I would also want to see an analysis of what the sum of error terms is due to the various interpolation methods and other interpretive steps required to turn the raw data into estimates of extent and area.

    64. “‘I didn’t know that “chicks” dug failing self-indulgent ego maniacs. ‘
      You didn’t? Really?”
      Unfortunately, being a lying self-deceiving, hypocritical sanctimonious a**hole is a valid reproductive strategy and has been for thousands of years. Which is why there are so many people like Pugh floating around.
      If I wanted to bang a steady stream of hot white chicks, and was willing to say anything to do so, then of course I would constantly toe the green party line. And I would get laid every week in the back of my Prius.

    65. I just play guitar at the park in my hemp pants with no shirt on. It’s too hot to wear a shirt cuz of all the carbon. Chicks dig that.

    66. Sea ice extent… We had a positive day. Arctic sea ice increased today. There might still be setbacks but today was a plus… If it’s not adjusted to negative in the morning. I hope Jeez sees this.

    67. Hi Guys,
      With all this talk about the “top” end of the globe, is there any data/comments about ice levels in the “bottom” end (Antarctic) to do with changes over the ages? I’m guessing that kayaking would be a bit more difficult (without the metal runners)

    68. Just re-read my post: I realise penguins are in the Antactic but they need the leads just the seals and walrusses do!

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    81. Dear Lucy Skywalker (14:31:36) ,

      I’m taking apart BBC Richard Black’s “Skeptics Top Ten”

      Would you please be so kind as to share your results when you complete your task? I would really appreciate the extra material as I am engaged in a rather long and fierce battle with my father over the AGW theory. The surprising thing to me is, my father is a very well respected engineer (retired) with graduate honors from MIT (very smart), however, he has obviously been drinking Al Gore’s kool-aid by the bucket load. This really distresses me as I don’t believe he has engaged any sort of common sense in the matter. My ultimate goal is to truly convince him, through real science and empirical data, that AGW is a crock. But he is one tough cookie.
      At the moment I am engaged in showing him just how misinformation spreads across Wikipedia (he has also been sipping on that kool-aid too). Which by the way, the topic of this thread is of great assistance in that goal. Check out Lewis Gordon Pugh in sections “Geographic North Pole” and “Kayak” and then reading more about the “real” story from ExWeb editorial: Tina about Pugh, media and global warming, even the meager attempt at acknowledgment that his claims may be disputed (written in the “Kayak” section) hardly vindicates the overall conjecture of the Wikipedia entry itself, leaving the average reader to believe that he has accomplished these things that he touts. Just another disgusting example of both AGW fear mongering and Wikipedia propaganda.
      Anyway, Thanks!
      And thanks to all who post here and participate so vigorously in debating these subjects. It certainly provides me with a glimmer of hope! You are all great people!

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