Catlin Arctic Survey gives up on ice radar – “much less likely to reach pole”

Arctic team gives up on ice radar

By David Shukman
Science and environment correspondent, BBC News

Arctic ice (Martin Hartley)

Use of the yellow Sprite radar has now been abandoned

Half-way through their expedition to survey the Arctic sea-ice, British explorers have been jinxed by yet more technical problems and are resorting to old-fashioned techniques to carry out research.

On Day 44 of the trek, both a radar device meant to measure the ice thickness and a satellite communications unit to relay the data are still not working – despite being brought back to the UK for repairs and then delivered to the team last week.

As a result, the explorers are now drilling more sampling holes than planned, which means they are progressing more slowly than hoped.

It now looks much less likely that the team will reach its destination of the North Pole.

The radar system, known as Sprite and meant to be dragged over the ice making millions measurements, is now being carried on a sledge instead.

Pen Hadow, leading the Catlin Arctic Survey, describes losing the use of the equipment as frustrating but concedes that the hostile conditions have overwhelmed the technology.

“It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world,” he said. “It’s truly brutal at times out here on the Arctic Ocean and a constant reminder that Mother Nature always has the final say.”

The expedition was blighted in the first few weeks by temperatures well below minus 40 Celsius, the equivalent of minus 70 allowing for the wind chill.

The failures are blamed on problems with power supplies, either with batteries not working or with cables snapping in the cold.

The loss of the hi-tech equipment has focused attention on the data gathered by the tried-and-tested method of drilling through the ice by hand.

One-hundred-and-two holes have been dug so far and 1,100 measurements have been made of ice thickness, snow density and other features – data deemed vital by scientists evaluating the future of the Arctic sea-ice.

The latest findings show that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer.

Figures indicate an average ice thickness of 1.15-3.75m, much of which might be expected to melt between June and September.

Organisers in London insist the expedition’s data-gathering is still important for research – despite the setbacks – and describe reaching the Pole as “largely irrelevant”.

According to Simon Harris-Ward, operations director, “what matters most is gathering the maximum amount of data possible over a scientifically interesting route.”

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206 thoughts on “Catlin Arctic Survey gives up on ice radar – “much less likely to reach pole”

  1. Ho boy.

    And we can really trust that hand-gathered data they’re bringing back.

    Riiiiiggggght.

    The cold has snapped cables, disabled high-tech gadgetry and frozen flesh, but WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!

    Pen Hadow opines ” . . “It’s truly brutal at times out here on the Arctic Ocean and a constant reminder that Mother Nature always has the final say.”

    Yep. And mother nature is turning down the thermostat.

    How do I spell relief?

    S-C-H-A-D-E-N-F-R-E-U-D-E

  2. I don’t understand.

    With the Arctic becoming ice-free at an ever accelerating pace, why aren’t they just paddling a boat? Why didn’t they just leave slightly later in the year and swim? Actually, I kinda picture them in a dinghy with a nice friendly cuddly Polar Bear towing them…

    And actually, for this paragraph I was going to say something nice, but I just can’t think of anything. This entire mission seemed to have been launched with a supreme lack of respect for the Arctic. Sadly, I will see it spun into some sort of success, or “proof” of something, whatever that might be.

  3. What Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote was true, I need $800 million to prove it, send me money.

  4. The expedition is a truly monumental non-event of no scientific purpose. The only reason for it is for propaganda purposes. And those are a bit thin in light of the brutal natural conditions they have experienced in the arctic. They have shown that nature rules – OK.

  5. So, if they dump SPRITE and the other non-functional electronics, replace the weight load with better food and other supplies for the Arctic, might they not make better time since they will have more high calorie food to fuel themselves? If they don’t have to drag useless dead weight, they might be able to make it to the Pole. Depends upon how often they stop to drill holes.

    My original take was they were supposed to be drilling holes every 20 km, basically once every day or two on their original projected time line, in order to calibrate SPRITE. They no longer have to do that since “It’s dead, Jim!” From the sounds of things, they have been drilling a lot more than planned. Rough estimate of thirty minutes to an hour to drill the hole, measure, and then drop and recover their other little sensor device. So, cut that down to once a day, spend the other thirteen to fifteen hours traveling. With luck, that boosts their daily distance into the high teens, maybe the twenties, kilometers. Which should get them close to the pole by the end of the month, with several weeks left on their contract with KBA for recovery.

  6. Do you mean to tell me it’s hard to work in the Arctic? I am shocked, shocked to find out that AGW has not made the Pole a hospitable place to do research.
    and I love the revisionist history: “According to Simon Harris-Ward, operations director, “what matters most is gathering the maximum amount of data possible over a scientifically interesting route.” Translated through Babel fish: “We are still going to find the results that support our nonsense, real science be damned.”

  7. Sometimes you can still get to the truth in a biased report by proper editing.

    The next-to-last paragraph of the article, reduced to it’s core truth:

    “Organisers in London insist the expedition’s data-gathering is … “largely irrelevant”.

  8. This death march really reminds me of a quote from Raiders of the Lost Ark:

    Belloq: What a fitting end to your life’s pursuits. You’re about to become a permanent addition to this archaeological find. Who knows? In a thousand years, even you may be worth something.

    Except, of course, Indiana Jones these fools are not.

  9. Lovely. They will be hauling a bunch of dead batteries around. Not to mention useless eqpt. And why don’t they just abandon it and use their energy to a better purpose? Obviously they don’t want to pollute the vast stretches of ice with electronic waste. Their lives are worth nothing when it comes to “saving” the environment. And what do you suppose their philosophy has in store for us kulaks?

  10. Essentially all of their data was collected on first year ice in a region which experienced unusual melt last summer. Now that they are on “thicker multi-year ice” (as they described it) – they have no data.

    What a surprise.

  11. I am beginning to believe that there just might be a God who truly finds these global warming ideologues fair game for a good teasing– the Gore-effect expanded. Of course, a good dose of human stupidity doesn’t hurt.

  12. “… a constant reminder that Mother Nature always has the final say.”

    The cold must be really getting to them. Someone could easily misinterpret that to be a statement by a skeptic!

  13. The original BBC link is here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7998501.stm

    So it looks like the two main objectives of measuring the ice thickness and reaching the pole will not be achieved. Because of ‘hostile conditions’. What did they expect in the Arctic in winter? I suppose the answer is that based on the all the misleading GW propaganda spouted by the BBC, they expected warm sunshine.

    This shambles becomes more and more reminiscent of last summers attempt to Kayak to the North pole by Lewis Pugh – recall he got stuck in ice having completed only about 1/5 of his journey, and hastily re-defined his objectives in favour of planting some flags in the ice…

  14. These equipment failures will ultimately be used as a cover story to get these poor people off the ice. At least I hope.

  15. We were looking for historically thin ice and we found historically thin ice. How could one question the integrity of such a scientific mission.

  16. AllI can think about everytime I read about these people is the Forest Gump addage “stupid is as stupid does”.

    I wish I could be nice about posting here but these people represent a threat to my freedoms. If they would represent the truth and give accurate analysis about what is going on in the arctic I think I could be nicer.

  17. Looks like we already have a winner for the next quote of the week.

    As for ‘much less likely to reach the pole” – can you get less likely than the 0% that most of us had put their chances at from the beginning?

  18. “both a radar device meant to measure the ice thickness and a satellite communications unit to relay the data are still not working ”

    Hopefully this isn’t a disingenuous way of saying that the ice is behaving in a politically incorrect manner and is thicker than expected thus rendering the data untransmittable.

  19. “British explorers have been jinxed by yet more technical problems and are resorting to old-fashioned techniques to carry out research”

    Does this mean they may also resort to old-fashioned cannibalism, all conveniently video recorded by BBC documentarians, if the support structure cannot get food to them? It might increase the ratings.

    It would definitely beat out “Deadliest Catch”.

    For a group traveling to the N.P. why didn’t they air drop a couple of Arctic Cats? It is stated that instrumentation has been sent to and fro UK for repairs, so these could have easily been setup in the early stages of the “expidition”. They complain about a hostile environment, but if they had a couple of those Arcitc Cats, with a nice heated interior, satellite TV, a hot plate for Dinty Moore, heck, I’d even volunteer.

    I hope there is enough of this “scientifically interesting” data to send to Dr. Hansen, et. al. to manipulate accordingly.

  20. It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world

    Isn’t that an argument against AGW?
    G

  21. So the only time they drilled iceholes was in nice flat areas the did not drill in the areas covered by pressure ridges which were visibly taller than 10 feet (3 meters) I guess thats one way of cherry picking your data if the drill sites were randomly chosen or placed equidistant from each other (i.e. we drill a hole every 3 km no matter where we are) you would expect at least 1 or 2 thick patches. Oh well too much to hope for I guess JG

  22. You have to admire the determination to continue. What is the reward?
    Do they really believe they are contributing towards “saving the planet”?

  23. I wonder if the ice measurements are “biased” due to the fact that the route they follow must be “human traversable”.

    It would be a heck of a “faux pas” to plan a walking survey if “walkable” ice were different from “average/typical” ice.

  24. Hi Anthony, i’m waiting you post another article about the sun [perhaps is better that you don’t, because it’ll appear new sunspots (: ], to post here a very interesting article about the relation between the solar cyle and the coronal holes! Ando so excuse for the ot…

    It’s translate by google, and so exuse me for english!

    http://209.85.129.132/translate_c?hl=it&sl=it&tl=en&u=http://daltonsminima.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/buchi-coronali-e-ciclo-solare-ce-qualcosa-di-molto-strano-proprio-come-durante-il-minimo-di-maunder/&prev=hp&usg=ALkJrhh-V-HHHW2heXunnqAZ_ngfc0ervQ

    thank’s a lot, Simon

  25. “The latest findings show that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer.”

    Is this really a surprise since the announced route was over the first-year ice? And why “virtually”, could their detours taken them onto some of the older ice? Also some of the ice is over 12′ thick, this is really impressive, especially considering their predetermined route.

  26. So it transpires that this was simply an expedition to drill for water on top of a frozen ocean. Lo-tech beats hi-tech in the Artic.

    We should be thankful that the Catlin team took along a big enough drill to get through the ice. It is a pity that none of the data collected can now be independently verified.

    Hypothermia, frostbite and huge embarrassment all round for a group people who suffered uneccessarily in pursuit of a faulty belief system. Let that be a lesson they all learn, if they can escape the clutches of a large polar bear that has been tracking them for some days.

  27. So acquired was a random scatter of samples over a drifting ice mass recorded by a delirious hypothermic team? Yeah, That’ll be useful.

  28. How do they prove they drilled the holes? Who is going to check their work? Is there a record of where they drilled the holes? How many were started but not finished because the ice was too thick? Why don’t they just measure the thickness at each open water crack? Maybe while they are their they could take air temperature readings at 20 minute intervals to make up for the loss of radar data?

    Drilling holes in the ice equates to driving to El Paso from Houston and taking temperature readings out the window every so often. Real Science indeed. I wonder what they are doing with their trash.

  29. All it needs now is for their pencils to break (or will Ann be steaming life back into their biros?)…

  30. “tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer”

    So it’s colder if it’s older. Who woulda thunk it.

  31. Yeah, that Arctic ice is really tough on electronics!

    We used to drop dropsondes over the Arctic Sea Ice occasionally. Funny thing, some of these cheap, throwaway instruments would still be transmitting 24-48 hours later.

  32. ROFL, and the ‘spin’ commences.

    102 holes covering 241KM? That’s one hole every 2km, doesn’t seem to be very good coverage to me. Not sure what conclusions you can draw from this that you can’t looking at Cryosphere.

  33. “It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world,” A momentary lapse of delusion, to paraphrase Pink Floyd. How apropos as we embark to manipulate climate by lessening CO2 levels.

  34. Just a question. They did know where they were going didn’t they, and that it would be very cold? But good nes, only first year ice… which only goes to prove.

  35. “On Day 44 of the trek, both a radar device meant to measure the ice thickness and a satellite communications unit to relay the data are still not working – despite being brought back to the UK for repairs and then delivered to the team last week.”

    Oh and how much CO2 did that release then?

  36. “…tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer.”

    Ignoring the obvious problem of how multi-year ice ever managed to miraculously survive its first summer without already being that special tough “multi-year” kind of ice, I am left wondering if David Shukman is going to revive the concept of polywater next. And then what? N-Rays?

  37. So they can spin this as technical faults with equipment, instead of mission failure due to too much ice and cold.

    Their whole mission is a bust and we all know it, it is time that they came back home and admitted defeat.

  38. “data deemed vital by scientists evaluating the future of the Arctic sea-ice”

    If I was wanting to use this data to make scientific observations – I’m not sure how I’d do it. Are these folks committed to doing this every year, or every few years?

    Is this effort mostly science, or is it mostly political? Given that the design of their website tried to pretend to be scientific logging of the crew’s physical condition – but was really something else – I have to believe that we’re looking at a political campaign.

  39. describe reaching the Pole as “largely irrelevant”.

    Laying the groundwork for mission failure? Remember, the whole thing was to continuously measure the ice along a 1000 km route to the pole. Well, so far, it looks like they’re naught for naught. They’re not taking continuous measurements, it now looks like they won’t make it to the pole, and my guess is they’ll be lucky to make it to 500 km.

    Yet another demonstration of mankind’s legacy of engaging in silliness to support a passing fad.

  40. “It’s truly brutal at times out here on the Arctic Ocean and a constant reminder that Mother Nature always has the final say.”

    ^_____^

    Still, it does not melt you numbskull, it will break up due to currents and windpatterns, it will only start to melt when it drifts out of the artic ocean.

  41. As expected from the hints and rationalizations (ice north of 85 all cracked and open water!!) and preponderance of attention on problems, discomfort, and failures of poorly designed tech (all due to the unexpected extreme cold) rather than the science. We will be learning how mountains are made out of molehills in their findings over the next month or so. Already they are saying that reaching the pole is “irrelevant” – this is a sign that we are going to learn that the rest of it was most relevant. I’m happy that this unnecessary misadventure didn’t end in disaster for the team.

  42. One-hundred-and-two holes have been dug so far and 1,100 measurements have been made of ice thickness, snow density and other features – data deemed vital by scientists evaluating the future of the Arctic sea-ice.

    Ya know, if this were actually true, the equipment problems would be fixed and fresh crews would be swapped-in on a regular basis as well.

    So, it’s not really that important …

  43. Is there really some sort of old ice that is “tougher” (harder to melt?) than young ice? Who knew?

  44. Meanwhile, according to the NSIDC plot, arctic sea ice extent is only 400k sq. km. short of the 1979-2000 average. It could catch completely up by the time the Catlin team knocks off for the year.

    Not a banner year to be trying this PR stunt, eh?

  45. Once again the folks at WUWT call it and it comes to pass…not the least bit surprised. Catlin spin machine trying to weave a silk purse, to no avail. Kudos to Anthony, moderators, and contributors for shining a light in the fog (or notable lack thereof, in this particular case.) Your impact on the public discussion is real and growing. Thanks for all. -JG

  46. AHAHA! Best “Quote of the Week” yet!

    “It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world,” he said. “It’s truly brutal at times out here on the Arctic Ocean and a constant reminder that Mother Nature always has the final say.”

    Famous last words of the AWG movement, I wish!

    I imagine it’s truly brutal over about 99.9% of the natural world without cooperative civilization, modern conveniences and power. Perhaps a Pacific island is survivable, where one can live off fish and coconuts, sans clothing.

  47. How is it that they can tell “that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice”?

  48. The midpoint of the ‘average 1.15-3.75’ is 2.45. Isn’t that second year ice? And hadn’t they drilled 114 holes last time they reported? Due dilegence needed here

  49. What is “a scientifically interesting route”? What considerations went into the design of the path—ease of passage, likelihood of thickest ice, probability of thinnest ice? How will the data be fact checked?

    I recall posts on this site about surface station recorders choosing not to go out in super cold conditions to get actual readings and choosing to estimate instead. Will the Catlin group really drill through 3 meters of solid ice day after day by hand? Considering the prejudice embedded in the Expedition from the start, can their data be trusted?

  50. Apologies I missed this on the Beeb piece on my first read through

    “Forecasts of the date by which Arctic summers will be ice-free range from five years to several decades, with natural climatic cycles playing an important role”

    So natural climatic cycles play an important role? Can they quantify that? 98% AGW/2% natural?

  51. I hope they’ve been filling in all the little holes they’ve been drilling. Polar bears could sprain their ankles in them.

    “Take only measurements, leave only snowshoe prints.”

  52. Bill Marsh, flyfisher

    I posted previously on the fact that 48 of the 102 holes were drilled at or around the site of thier first resupply. A nice satellite image of this is available on the Catlin site. The area was surrounded by first year and re-frozen ice as Mr. Shukman states this in his article. The team shot the gap between two chunks of multi-year ice altering thier start point along 140 degrees to one starting at 129 degrees.

    If you have ever gone ice fishing, 2.5m is a long way to drill by hand.

  53. “largely irrelevant” – sounds like the Douglas Adams description of earth: ” mostly harmless”

  54. A few thoughts:

    Re: the Sprite radar. As best I can tell, it’s homemade. Amateurs really have no clue about designing and testing for extreme climate.

    “Figures indicate an average ice thickness of 1.15-3.75m…” Some mathematically illiterate person needs to learn the definition of average. But it will be interesting to see the data. If the range is 1.15-3.75, isn’t it all, technically, multi-year ice (d > 1m)?

    “…much of which might be expected to melt between June and September.” Then again, it might be expected to remain frozen. Did they place any beacons that might allow us to accurately track the “melting?” Or will they just present the unsubstantiated assertion?

  55. Just a thought that perhaps the electronic data wasn’t showing the proper thinning so it was shut down “due to not working properly.” This experience is a good example of how temperature anomolies of a few degrees on the + side don’t really change the conditions up there.

  56. And in the last comment I see, P Folkens asks my question. What is “a scientifically interesting route” today has drifted off to some other route tomorrow. And I like the term “jinxed”, as if it’s some malevolent luck at work here. But I can see how diving into an empty pool would just be the tough breaks.

  57. Well… If the route they’ve walked isn’t ice free come September, then there is proof of a great failure of AGW theory.
    Because of the statements now done about the ice thicknes and it’s consequences already this year – they have no way of explaining this away.
    We must follow this up.

  58. layne said :

    So acquired was a random scatter of samples over a drifting ice mass …

    Ah if only it were truly random. Instead, as other commenters have indicated, the route taken and points chosen for samples will have strongly influenced the readings.

    In other words what little data they have is worthless.

  59. Which of these would do the worst job of measuring Arctic ice thickness?

    a) Jeremy Clarkson in an SUV fitted with a radar
    b) Marathon runners fitted with radars
    c) Polar bears fitted with radars
    d) US Navy buoys
    e) Satellites
    f) Polar bears fitted with radars
    g) Submarines fitted with radars
    h) The Catlin Arctic Survey

    Send your answer on the back of an emailed postcard.

  60. Who knew the “Gore Effect” could have such far reaching consequences? If The Goracle keeps pontificating, these folks are doomed! More blood on Al’s hands….

  61. I really wish they would stop referring to what they are doing as scientific data collection. Their route could not be reasonably considered a transect. What is their sampling protocol? What is their basis for comparison when the ice sampled may not have existed last year (and certainly not at the same lat/long) and will have migrated or melted by next year? I can go count the bubbles in my fish tank for the next forty days and come up with as much “evidence” as they are generating.

  62. Robert van der Veeke (09:18:56) :
    Still, it does not melt you numbskull, it will break up due to currents and windpatterns, it will only start to melt when it drifts out of the artic ocean.

    Sure some of the ice will melt in that way, some of it will melt in situ. This data shows melting occurring in the Arctic Ocean.

    flyfisher (09:34:38) :
    How is it that they can tell “that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice”?

    Well they could taste it.

  63. Tamara (10:22:48) :
    I really wish they would stop referring to what they are doing as scientific data collection. Their route could not be reasonably considered a transect. What is their sampling protocol? What is their basis for comparison when the ice sampled may not have existed last year (and certainly not at the same lat/long) and will have migrated or melted by next year? I can go count the bubbles in my fish tank for the next forty days and come up with as much “evidence” as they are generating.

    Similar problems exist for the US Army buoys and the Russian NP stations.

  64. They keep showing pictures of them crossing piles of ice which look taller than two meters. Is the water also taller there, so the ice is only two meters thick where they’re dragging their stuff up and down?

  65. “Catlin Survey” — a new phrase enters the lexicon to go with its synonyms: fiasco, boondoggle, fool’s errand, wild goose chase.

  66. They could have used a helicopter and just leap frogged their way to do this in a few days. This is crazy people.

  67. There is an easy fix for the crumbling sea ice.

    Ice-nine is a more stable polymorph of water than common ice (Ice Ih) which instead of melting at 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit), melts at 45.8°C (114.4°F). When it comes into contact with liquid water below 45.8°C (which is thus effectively supercooled), it acts as a seed crystal, and causes the solidification (freezing) of the entire body of water which quickly crystallizes as ice-nine.
    With all the oceans frozen, transportation becomes much cheaper and less hazardous. Of course I haven’t thought this all the way through, but I bet Holdren would find this idea compelling. Of course we could still flood the atmosphere with particulates.

  68. These are good news but I am afraid that while Mother Nature has the final say right now, Pen Hadow may return to his house – or to Copenhagen – and using the fancy local air-conditioning systems, he will talk to Al Gore or another apostle of arrogance and “realize” – once again – that the man-made CO2 production has the final say about the weather in the whole world and the United Nations and cap-and-trade systems have to replace another man (the SUV man) in his role to control the weather and piss on Mother Nature who is just an irrelevant bitch.

    Because there are good reasons to be afraid of this lack of Hadow’s integrity, it might indeed be better if Mother Nature had the final say about the question whether these people deserve to survive. If Darwin was right, the answer should probably be No but I will leave the final decision to Mother Nature.

  69. .

    I still reckon a nuclear sub could measure the thickness of the entire Arctic ice cap in a couple of weeks. It is clear that this is a media driven event to highlight AGW. However, it is about as useful as the AGW protest that almost got snowed off…

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/03/02/shiver-global-warming-protest-frozen-massive-snowfall/

    P.S. Here are some fellow ‘AGW denial’ travelers:

    Here is an article by David Bellamy. For those in the US and elsewhere, David Bellamy used to be the UK media’s favourite naturalist – before he became a heretic. I presume he now wears sackcloth and carries a bell to alert people of his imminent arrival…
    http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=58&Itemid=1

    Here is another by James Lovelock, the originator of the Gaia theory. Strangely Lovelock is also an AGW denier – although he thinks that mother nature has got it in for us anyway, whatever we do.
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article5682887.ece
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article5733427.ece

    .

  70. I disagree with everyone about this being a waste of time. Serendipity is greatest joy for anyone doing scientific research. They may not realize it themselves but they are finding that the artic is quite a bit colder than they had expected even for late winter/early spring. Not only that, they have broadly publicized these findings. They may put all the spin on it that they want but I bet the people in the UK, after suffering through the coldest winter in 18 years (after climate models predicted a warming than normal one) and watching this team suffer through colder than expected temperatures in this artic expedition are getting a very good lessons in the expertise of the climate change alarmist community.

    REPLY: I agree. The constant reports of -30 to -40 C cold helps dispel the idea that the ice is “melting in place” and opens the door for other more rational explanations like shifts in wind patterns driving sea ice southward where it melts. See the previous post with the sea ice animation from 2007/2008 – Anthony

  71. “Gary Pearse (09:22:38) :

    As expected from the hints and rationalizations (ice north of 85 all cracked and open water!!) and preponderance of attention on problems, discomfort, and failures of poorly designed tech (all due to the unexpected extreme cold) rather than the science. ”

    Well most of these guys are 87N; there is one group who are not doing so well.

    http://www.thepoles.com/news.php?id=18199

    These guys are getting on with it.
    They did not have time to “enjoy their Easter Sunday treats of Cadbury’s mini eggs and pork scratchings” after their bacon sandwiches.

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/from_the_ice.aspx

  72. Checkout the ice thickness in the photo at the top of this article. What are the odds that the Catlin survey team surveyed the ice thickness there?

    Bueller?…. Bueller?… Anyone?…

  73. Bill Marsh (09:09:09) :

    “ROFL, and the ’spin’ commences.

    102 holes covering 241KM? That’s one hole every 2km, doesn’t seem to be very good coverage to me. Not sure what conclusions you can draw from this that you can’t looking at Cryosphere.”

    Given the large sums of money that have been spent on this boondoggle, could someone find out how much money was spent per hole? I’m sure it was money well-spent for the data delivered to the scientific community…

  74. I wonder how much they made on sponsorships and how much they will make in the future through speaking engagements as a result of this publicity stunt?

  75. I see it has warmed about 10 degrees at the pole over the last week. It was -24C at 1600Z today.

  76. Any real science team would certainly use snowmobiles to treck as fast as possible. And if they are concerned about pollution they could always use hydrogen powered snowmobiles.
    The Catlin group is putting up a show by dragging by foot/skii the heavy equipment. Come on!!! Is that the modern version of The Greek Mythology of Sisyphus?

  77. AnonyMoose (10:30:05) :
    They keep showing pictures of them crossing piles of ice which look taller than two meters. Is the water also taller there, so the ice is only two meters thick where they’re dragging their stuff up and down?

    ______________________

    LOL. True. Those are actually inverted icebergs. This phenomenon occurs as a response to Global Warming when the iceberg is in its ‘death throes’. It goes belly up.

  78. NASA GISS data is out.
    March anomaly is 0.47°C above normal.

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/NMAPS/tmp_GHCN_GISS_HR2SST_1200km_Anom03_2009_2009_1951_1980/GHCN_GISS_HR2SST_1200km_Anom03_2009_2009_1951_1980.gif

    I’m still trying to figure out how the Northern Plains/Upper Midwest was 1-2°C above normal when we have this from NOAA…

    Bismarck, ND March temp anomaly: -8.2°F
    Dickinson, ND …: -8.1°F
    Minot, ND …: -8.1°F
    Grand Forks, ND…: -4.2°F
    Fargo, ND …: -3.1°F
    Duluth, MN …: -0.8°F
    St. Cloud, MN …: -0.9°F
    Aberdeen, SD …: -4.1°F
    Rapid City, SD …: -2.0°F

    Also interesting (though I don’t have the time to go through it right now) is Canada.

    Here’s a link for the Canadian March climate summary for selected stations.

    http://www.climate.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca/prods_servs/cdn_climate_summary_report_e.cfm?intMonth=3&intYear=2009&txtFormat=html&btnSubmit=Submit

    While much of Canada is shown as being below normal (by 1-2°C), many stations across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba are showing monthly anomalies in the 3-6°C below normal range.

    I know GISS uses a different baseline period but I seriously doubt that their baseline average is 2-3°C colder than the 1971-2000 average.

  79. David Porter (10:49:15) :

    Pen come home. You are making the Brits look stupid.

    I thought that was what the BBC and the Grauniad were for. Frankly, we’ve got people who are much more stupid than Hadow, Monbiot being just one of them.

  80. Can I suggest that the expedition takes note of the First Law of Holes ?

    When you find yourself in a hole it is in your personal best interest to stop digging.

  81. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Just sent the same message to Catlin offices. What a supreme waste of time and money. Absolutely pathetic.

  82. It looks pretty clear and sunny up there…

    Sunny with showers… yep

    There is a nice Russian Hotel that hosted all the marathon guests at the North Pole. Hot showers, helliocopter rides, snowmobiles, wedding facilities.

    http://www.barneo.ru/2009e.htm

  83. Anthony,

    I saw the sea ice animation and I’ve seen the discussions. The most compelling arguments for me however are the ocean currents, PDO shifts, ENSO, AMO. It seems that if you want to predict the weather 3-6 months out, look at the state of the oceans, find an analog year, see what happened then and it will likely be happening again. (I’ve been following Joe D’Aleo’s predictions since his Dr. Dewpoint days.) This sea conditions and currents can explain why the Antarctic Peninsula is warm relative to the rest of the continent but are their Arctic ocean circulations models that explain whats happening to the North pole?

  84. “ralph ellis (10:56:09) :
    I still reckon a nuclear sub could measure the thickness of the entire Arctic ice cap in a couple of weeks”

    Catlin:Science
    “The Catlin Arctic Survey’s data will allow for the re-evaluation of satellite and submarine digitised observations of recent decades – and future ones – and thereby improve the accuracy and confidence of the modelled outputs.

    … the findings coming out of the Survey data to help validate or modify the globally recognised projections made in the IPCC’s “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis” ”

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/science

    Pen and CO are there to collect data which will allow the re-evaluation of satellite and submarine digitised observations. So sending a submarine to measure the ice thickness is not good enough, it is much better having someone drilling holes into the ice. These holes will validate or modify IPCC’s “Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis” report.

    • B Kerr:

      Pen and CO are there to collect data which will allow the re-evaluation of satellite and submarine digitised observations. So sending a submarine to measure the ice thickness is not good enough, it is much better having someone drilling holes into the ice.

      Umm…and what are they comparing these holes to? Is there a submarine following them so they can calibrate submarine observations? No.

      Are they comparing to measurements from previous expeditions? No.

      Do they have a proper siting metric to help calibrate (re-evaluate) satellite data? Very unlikely.

      They are poking random holes and claiming this is data. Anecdata is the new term for this kind of thing.

      There is ZERO, ZILCH, NADA, NO, scientific information being produced by this expedition, but they are learning through personal experience what materials not to use in Arctic cold.

  85. I wish we had access to the data now so we can hold them to it. It’s a shame that they didn’t release it as they went.

  86. Funny, but I don’t remember them reporting that the radar device was picked up. They’ve only had two re-supplies that I’ve read about so that means it had to have been picked up on the first one to have been delivered last week. Dueo the incredible cold and difficult conditions, they had made very little progress at the time of their first re-supply. In other words, the radar hasn’t worked for almost the entire length of their trip so far!

    Amazing.

    I still laugh when I imagine their response to being outed by WUWT regarding the fake biometric data. I’m quite confident they never expected anyone to notice that it was simply repeating canned data and wasn’t really “live from the ice” as claimed.

    What a farce.

  87. Pen Hadow’s statement: “a constant reminder that Mother Nature always has the final say” a marvelous perspective on climate change!

  88. Catlin site just updated:
    has been a pretty rough day as winds have been wild and stronger than any experienced to date. The ice team have frequently had to break and take shelter behind large ice boulders and ridges when possible. Despite this, they still managed to cover a respectable 11 kilometres.

    The mobility of the ice underfoot is becoming more and more of a challenge for the ice team. Today Ann described how she was just about to take a step when the ice directly underfoot moved away. Able to keep her balance, Ann very narrowly missed a dip in the icy water. This was Ann’s second close call of the day. Earlier, whilst navigating across a rather precariously thin ice pan, she stumbled on some loose ice rubble and fell backwards, narrowly missing a sharp shard of ice. It looks as though Lady Luck was on Ann’s side today.

    Martin, however, has been less fortunate. During their second sledging session, Martin’s right boot split across the top. Having already harnessed his sewing skills on his sledge suit, it’s now time to get stitching on his boot.

  89. “Ice Report 14.4.09
    Summary
    The results collected in the first month of the Catlin Arctic Survey point to an unexpected lack of thicker Multiyear Ice.”

    yep, the lack of thicker ice of whatever age is helping the expedition to become an instant success, far beyond what was hoped for at the start …

    I would like to propose that everybody interested and knowledgeable in some area of the Catlin Ice survey take sufficient copies and notes of everything these guys are writing … proper archiving might not be their forte … and quoting some numbers from memory in the future might not be correct all the way …

    this is becoming a giant disaster for all involved … instead of peddling to the North Pole, what they were thinking at the start of the expedition, they are NOWHERE near their goals …

    “half way through their expedition …” ?

    not even close to half way, whatever way you measure their progress …

    ps … and keep them on the ice, please … no rescue whatsoever … every adult human being should be held responsible for what they are doing … “les erreurs se font et se paient” …

  90. If the jolly was serious science it would not involve ego…

    They would start at the pole, find out how thick was there and then move outward.

  91. I have two questions, one serious, one, not so much.[1]

    [1] Which is which is left as an exercise ……
    of the ic
    It is asserted in some quarters that all of the ice (key word “all”) melted or blew away or disappeared mysteriously. Let us take as given that it was all gone.

    Why is it now necessary though heroics and reckless endangerment to prove that all of the ice there is “first year” ice?

    Is there a fixed set of temperatures (at a given pressure and humidity, I suppose) where water stops evaporating; where water stops sublimating?

    That last question assumes the following continuum–if that is wrong then the question is surely nonsense.

    [At some high temperature] water is disassembled into a plasma

    [At some lower temperature and down to 212 F] water is a gas

    [Between 212 and 32] water is a liquid, but some of the water will evaporate (become a gas) if there is space above the liquid. (And some of that may condense once again to liquid)

    [Below 32 and above some temperature (the heart of the question)] Water is a solid, but some of the water will sublimate (become a gas) if there is space around the solid. (And some of that may condense to become a liquid and refreeze (or “desublimate? and go directly from gas to solid?).)

    [Presumably there is some temperature (above absolute zero?)] where sublimation stops and all water has become and stays a solid.

  92. Well, OK, so their radar ice thickness stuff isn’t working, but great scientific data is being produced nevertheless. We now know that in the Arctic, we experience showers at -25C air temperature – a first. Please, esteemed leader, sample the precipitation so its chemistry can be determined.
    We also now know that it is possible to hand drill more than 100 holes through ice several metres in thickness – all the while dragging sleds for 15 km a day. If I were measuring ice thickness, I’d measure over the ice edge of a new lead. No drilling required for the same data.

  93. Where are they going?
    13 april 2009: 84° 02′ 18″N 128° 42’ 16” W
    14 april 2009: 84° 00′ 05″N 128° 16’ 38” W

    South?

  94. If satellites can be used to measure sea level to mm accuracy [which accuracy I doubt], why couldn’t those same satellites be used to measure the floating arctic ice thickness?

    That is: if you can measure the arctic sea level, couldn’t the same satellite(s) measure the top of the ice to find the difference between the two values?

    Is this already being done? If so, why the Catlin expedition except perhaps for political reasons?

  95. This may be a stupid question, but how does first-year ice become second-year ice if it melts every summer?
    And how does multi-year ice just melt away to nothing if even first-year ice doesn’t melt altogether?

  96. I suffer with hypertension. I take my blood pressure twice daily. If I see one that is not looking too good I feel an aweful temptation to either not note it or fiddle it to a more reasonable reading. I don’t but the temptation is there.

    Does the Catlin expedition have in place any procedures to prevent only recording selected, pro AGW, readings? If they do have procedures to prevent this bias, what are they, or do we just have to take their word for the accuracy of all readings?

  97. Tom Woods (11:31:11) :

    What? You did not know that IGSS are using the “shifting average” method? LOL

  98. Re: Medic1532 (08:37:21) :

    “So the only time they drilled iceholes was in nice flat areas the[y] did not drill in the areas covered by pressure ridges which were visibly taller than 10 feet (3 meters)”

    Since about 5/6 of the ice thickness is below water a 10 feet tall pressure ridge is about 60 feet thick. I wouldn’t try drilling there either.

    Incidentally I’m not impressed by the quality of their equipment. Battery problems and cables snapping in the cold? Having had some experience of testing military equipment at low temperatures I would say that about the two first things a designer would consider when specifying electronics for cold environments is ample battery capacity and using insulation that stays pliable.

  99. I believe they are going to need the near disaster or daring rescue to rivet the world’s attention in order to get the most out of their speaking careers once this is over.

  100. Click on the new GISS temperature map (march) on red spot in Asia – and what you will find is that most of the stations has MISSING DATA for march (and only march) in this area.

    Thus, the red spot is the result of data from very few stations.

    Anthony: This warrants once again a blog post about GISS data reliability issues.

  101. If you consider that normal sea water is about 1.88 molal and should freeze at about -3.5 C, the concentration of liquid water at -25 C should be about 13.4 molal. So if the water is not even freezing at -25 C, the concentration should be even higher.

    So, obviously, the ice is not melting but certainly cracking, no?

  102. Jack Green: “Drilling holes in the ice equates to driving to El Paso from Houston and taking temperature readings out the window every so often.”

    Perfect analogy, young Jack!

  103. Robert (11:32:04) :

    I nominate “Springtime in the Artic” for the title of the next Caitlin post.

    How about “Springtime for High Latitudes” or just “Springtime for High-Lats” for short?

  104. I have a feeling Pen is delirious form the cold.
    Tuesday, 14 Apr 2009 09:51
    The Arctic isn’t a place for vibrant colours. Day after day, vast expanses of pale light, white snow and ice-scapes and an endless blue sky stretch ahead of the three explorers as they trudge onwards. Expedition leader Pen Hadow is puzzled, therefore, by having witnessed a splash of bright yellow to cheer up the beautiful but unrelentingly pale palate.

    Twice, he’s spotted an egg yolk-coloured blur of colour, about the size and shape of a broad bean, buried on an ice face.

    Could this be what he sees? “The sun shining through ice.
    “I’ve never seen anything like it before on a previous expedition and I’m stumped”, he says. “It’s like a very bright jewel, hidden in the glass case of the ice, unreachable”.

    At first Hadow thought he was looking at animal urine, but he’s since dismissed the idea. “It’s too bright a yellow and I can’t see how an animal could have deposited it a metre up an ice wall!” he reasons. He asked photographer Martin Hartley to photograph the jewel-like enigma in the hope that a marine-biologist may be able to shed light on what he’s seen.

  105. I’ve seen many pictures of the adventurers climbing over ice mountains, yet they’d have us believe the ice is less than 4 meters thick on average. Considering the false biometric data, hand warmers attached to temperature sensors and apparently selective ice boring sites, what incentive do we have to believe anything we hear from this expedition? Do we even have evidence that their reported positions are accurate?

  106. Ray (13:17:14) : Search for the carbon shares trading companies and you will find behind these …I can’ t meddle more into, I am a foreigner you know.
    However it is all about making money out of nothing…It’s magic!
    We, the fool ones, worrying about… science!
    oooooo Those silly guys ooooo! LOL

  107. Anthony, I believe you now have your next quote of the week . . or maybe the year! “It’s never wise to imagine that either man or technology has the upper hand in the natural world.”

  108. According to GISS, the Aral Sea was +4.8C above normal in March, 2009. (Have to get beachfront property there and I hear there is a lot of new beach there.)

    Anyone have access to the Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazahkstan March temps?

  109. at least, the catlin arctic survey is a nice example of the quality of climate science presented by the BBC.

  110. Anthony

    As you have flagged before on this topic, this entire story has all the making of a hoax. An hour ago, the weather conditions were given as -25C and “sleet” [sic]. Where I come from sleet is a very heavy wet snow. At -25C?
    A few minutes ago the weather had changed and was given as -24C and overcast.

    As with their purported “bio” data, there are holes in this story big enough to drive an eighteen wheel truck trough without hitting anything.

  111. Here’s a challenge for the UK’s TOP GEAR team-beat Hadow to the pole. They previously successfully reached the north pole in a modified Hilux SUV. Towing a GPR behind shouldn’t pose a major problem. Hadow’s penchant for self flagallation deserves to be treated for what it is-a publicity stunt.

  112. I’m a recent regular visitor to your excellent commentary on AGW, and may have missed earlier references to this, but I thought it may be of interest, found on Wikipedia under Global Warming Controversy:
    “A recent peer-reviewed article has assessed the performance of global climate models by comparing their outputs to historical time series on the local level and concludes “At the annual and the climatic (30-year) scales, GCM interpolated series are irrelevant to reality.:” (http://www.itia.ntua.gr/getfile/864/2/documents/2008HSJClimPredictions.pdf).
    I note that a common criticism levelled by warmists is the lack of peer-reviewed articles casting doubt on their assertions – do you think they will take any notice of this?

  113. “The latest findings show that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer.”

    Is this suprising. You start from the edge and walk towards the centre. The youngest ice will be at the edges – so of course your going to find the young ice first.

  114. The expedition actually has tremendous value.

    Guardian writers now know that the Arctic is cold and full of ice. A new concept for them.

  115. Many of you who post here are intelligent, and it surprises me that you haven’t figured out what is the real, covert purpose of this expedition.
    Think: 10 times as many holes in the ice as originally planned,
    traveling only over thin ice.

    It’s obvious to me–They are drilling holes to sink the ice!! :~P

  116. Manfred (13:56:21) :
    at least, the catlin arctic survey is a nice example of the quality of climate science presented by the BBC.

    Could have been worse. Could have been the fascist The Guardian – propagator of authoritarianism and any radical movement they can get their mits on.

    Want a laugh, look at the photo which accompanies this article today:

  117. John W :-)

    My thoughts exactly! David Shukman is just a journalist & therefore has no technical background, or if he had he’s forgotten it all. 1.15m – 3.75m is a range not an average. As already pointed out the average for those figures is 2.45m! Are there more figures at the higher end than the lower end, which will push the average depth up. What do the satellite data suggest?

    AND what a fantastic observation from dear old Pen! I’ve never heard of anything built by man that stayed in good condition once it was abandoned – Mother nature takes over. He really has a knack for stating what we all know & that Mother Nature rules this planet.

  118. Ken wrote:

    “Is there really some sort of old ice that is “tougher” (harder to melt?) than young ice? Who knew?”

    Yes. There is a meaningful difference between first-year ice and multi-year ice. A couple of good references to read up on are:

    http://nsidc.org/seaice/
    http://www.arctic.noaa.gov/essay_wadhams.html

    I note that none of this excellent information supports AGW alarmism.

    What we are seeing is a typical spin cycle: start with real-world supportable facts (there is a difference between first-year and multi-year ice), then subtract any relation to reality (“unprecedented,” never-before seen melting, etc.), churn out some good sound bites, have the “story” picked up and recycled — and the spin cycle is complete.

  119. DISCLAIMER : CATLIN EXPEDITION: THIS IS FICTION.

    Pen: We’ve been walking for hours. We should take a rest.

    Ann (pointing to depression in ice): I agree. Let’s stop there in that depression in the ice. We’ll be partially shielded from the wind.

    Martin: OK and while in there we can take a random measurement of ice thickness.

    Pen (pointing to the open water within the depression in the ice): I’ll do the drilling this time. I’ll set up near the open water. That way, I can freshen up if I break into a sweat – y’know, the warming climate …

    Pen (after drilling for 30 minutes): Gee! 3.5 meters deep and all I get is ice.

    Ann: Stop. That’s abnormally thick ice. The science would be skewed by this deviant measurement. Don’t forget, we’re scientists. Try over here, the ice looks thinner.

    Pen (after drilling new hole): There ! I got through. Pass the tape measure.

    Martin (after Pen measures ice thickness at 2 meters): 2 meters ! Can’t be. It must have been a fish tugging on the tape. Let me try.

    Martin (after measuring ice at 1 meter): 1 meter. That’s more like it. That’s what we expect from the science.

    Ann: Come on. We’re scientists. It can’t be exactly 1 meter !

    Martin: You’re right. It’s 1.0224433 meters thick.

    Pen: Great work guys. Let’s move on.

  120. “Larry Sheldon (12:15:12) :
    I have two questions, one serious, one, not so much.[1]

    [Below 32 and above some temperature (the heart of the question)] Water is a solid, but some of the water will sublimate (become a gas) if there is space around the solid. (And some of that may condense to become a liquid and refreeze (or “desublimate? and go directly from gas to solid?).)

    [Presumably there is some temperature (above absolute zero?)] where sublimation stops and all water has become and stays a solid.”

    Ice can sublimate all the way down to zero (well slightly above) as long as the gas above the ice is not saturated with water vapor. The rate will vary depending on how fast heat energy can transfer into the ice to drive the evaporation. In practicable terms the sublimation rate will become negligible below a certain temperature or above a certain humidity. The depositing of solid from the gas phase is deposition and will occur whenever the surface temperature of the solid is below freezing and below the temperature at which the gas becomes saturated with water vapor. (note it may be a little more complex than this, and I am answering from memory, you may not have to reach saturation, can’t remember exactly). So water vapor will deposit on a cold below freezing solid as frost or an a cold but above freezing solid as condensation. Cold being relative. Anyone who has had to remove dew from the car windows in the morning when the air temperature is above 70°F knows that.

  121. With GISS once again leaving the experts on this site bemused one cannot imagine what spin the BBC will put on the “Catlin Adventures”
    The sad thing is that they will cherry pick some data that will be aired on prime time news knowing that the gullible public will take it in and all will be well in “Guardian World”.
    It beats me how how they will get away with it…but they will.

    Articles in more rational news outlets will go un-reported as the mantra continues.
    The Catlin debacle is highly amusing…the spin will be highly depressing.

  122. The photograph shows ice that is thicker than 3m. Also I have iceblocks that have been in my freezer for more than 2 years and they melt at exactly the same rate as iceblocks made yesterday. When sea ice melts doesn’t the sea level fall?

  123. The sun shining through ice.

    Hmmm lets try for the simple explanation, how about a reflection of the sun off of internal fractures in the ice. I could easily be explained by double reflection off of an air/ice interface inside the ice wall, like when you get blinded by a reflection of the sun off of a crack in your windshield when the angles are right.

    That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

    Larry

  124. I’m fascinated to see next years team set out on the same expedition to replicate the results and provide a contribution to a growing dataset that can be used to establish a trend of just how quickly the arctic ice is thinning/melting away…

    After all it is essential to know the truth about the impact of man made emissions of CO2 on the delicately balanced environment and pristine wilderness of the arctic.

    If we are not able to ensure that the scarce resources of arctic ice are preserved for the denizens of the natural world, future generations will curse us for the despoilers that we have no doubt become.

    (turns around and vomits in nearby office waste recepticle…)

  125. So why are they continuing when the “science” is not happening?

    Because the whole intent is to have dramatic video of the three being rescued from an ice floe surrounded by melting arctic ice in the late spring. Personally, I hope they screw up even more than they already have. These are mendacious people.

  126. Ice will sublimate even when the air temperature is below freezing, if direct sunlight hits its surface. I live in Canada and I approve this statement.

  127. MarcH @14:15:21

    I just saw the Top Gear program last weekend; it was the Magnetic Pole they went for.

  128. “D. King (16:41:51) :
    I don’t think any more money should be spent on these iceholes!”

    Hmmmmm, quote of the week?

  129. Graeme,
    “If we are not able to ensure that the scarce resources of arctic ice are preserved for the denizens of the natural world, future generations will curse us for the despoilers that we have no doubt become.”

    You are correct, sir. That ice is the only thing keeping the polar bears from swimming in endless circles within the Beaufort Gyre.

  130. As someone who has experienced falling through the ice myself, I’d recommend Ernie Lyall’s excellent book “An Arctic Man: 65 years in Canada’s North” – that is if you want an authentic account of life, conditions and survival rather than the “stupidly cold” blog from a bunch of silly tourists…

  131. Gerard wrote:

    “Also I have iceblocks that have been in my freezer for more than 2 years and they melt at exactly the same rate as iceblocks made yesterday. When sea ice melts doesn’t the sea level fall?”

    Check out the links I referred to above. The iceblocks in your freezer are *not* similar, either in formation or composition, to sea ice. Also, as to your second sentence, the answer is essentially “no.” There may be some extremely minor effects driven by temperature and salinity differentials, but as a general matter, floating ice displaces exactly the same amount of water as it does when melted — sea level will not be affected in any meaningful way, either up or down, by the melting of sea ice.

  132. “And how does multi-year ice just melt away to nothing if even first-year ice doesn’t melt altogether?”

    As indicated by some of my questions and comments, I am not a subject matter expert by a wide margin.

    But here is what I think is going on.

    At the temperatures found in the Arctic most of the year, the ice does not melt. Some of it sublimates, but I suspect the most fevered interpretation does not use that to account for any significant loss.

    But the wind and wave action sometimes breaks it up, and sometimes (last year was one, I think) the wind blows the shattered ice out into the North Atlantic where it does get warm enough to melt it. I’ve been on a Navy man-of-war in the North Atlantic and it is hard for me to believe it ever gets warm enough to melt ice until you get well down in the Temperate zone, but that seems to be the story.

    My contention (voiced somewhere above) is that all of the replacing ice will be “first year” ice. But it won’t (probably) all get blown out, that that remains will get new snow on it, will get ice ridges in it and so forth, converting the base to “second year” snow.

    And so forth.

    But I in my ignorance am not convinced that the age is as important as what kind of winds, going where are.

  133. @Walt Stone (13:09:23) :

    “WORST VACATION EVER.”

    My hat’s off to you, sir. That is the most succinct summary of all the combined writings on this blog, the Catlin site, the British media, and any other source.

    Those three words say it all.

  134. Robert (11:32:04) :
    I nominate “Springtime in the Artic” for the title of the next Caitlin post.

    And now it’s…
    Springtime in the Arctic for Caitlin
    England is happy and gay!
    We’re marching to a faster pace
    Look out, here comes the master race!
    Springtime in the Arctic for Caitlin
    Britain’s a fine land once more!
    Springtime in the Arctic for Caitlin
    Watch out, Europe
    We’re going on tour!
    Springtime in the Arctic for Caitlin…
    (credit: “The Producers”)

  135. Article in Toronto “Globe & Mail”, 14th April. Quadriplegic conquers the Pole. David Shannon of Thunder Bay, became the first quadriplegic to reach the North Pole this weekend. He spent two years planning his trip and used a specially crafted sled using the power of his own triceps !
    Whats up with these silly Brits ?

  136. It appears to me that what we have here is 102 holes, each one being an individual data set of one with nothing else to compare it to. Does this mean they will repeat this expedition each year for years to come until they have sufficient data to compare each hole to? Is this possible on a sheet of floating ice that is moving in various directions each day? Which by the way might be the reason why the GPS shows that they headed a bit southward, the ice may have moved faster than they could walk, crawl, sit and lay.

    After watching this expedition, who would volunteer for next year? I for one would prefer to join the WUWT Arctic Ice Couch Survey. I just hope it’s not BYOB!

  137. Randall Arnold (17:18:11) :

    I love when mockery and sarcasm are all some people can bring to a “debate”.
    …………………………

    Actually, this thread is not the debate. Please, check out the many other threads on this site that are part of the debate.
    This is locker-room gloating and it’s sure to be distasteful to the other team, whose change-room door is under the Real Climate sign.
    As an aside, surely, your comment is laden with sarcasm and mockery. Is that all you can bring to the locker-room?

  138. Eric I was only joking about the iceblocks. This is nonsense mission that will find in favour of AGW no matter what data they collect

  139. A recipie for AGW

    102 holes
    13 million square km’s of sea ice
    a dash of statistical process
    stir it up with a few dramatic pictures of melting ice
    blend with a sprinkling of Pen and Ann on the all expenses paid post icecapade tour
    and allow to simmer over some peer review before serving up to the faithful

    a hearty feast

  140. Graeme Rodaughan (14:23:52) :
    “The latest findings show that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer.”

    Is this suprising. You start from the edge and walk towards the centre. The youngest ice will be at the edges – so of course your going to find the young ice first.

    Not in the Canadian Arctic.

  141. Anthony

    As you have flagged before on this topic, this entire story has all the making of a hoax. An hour ago, the weather conditions were given as -25C and “sleet” [sic]. Where I come from sleet is a very heavy wet snow. At -25C?

    Where I am sleet is frozen raindrops. Quite reasonable given the strong temperature inversion in the Arctic.

    REPLY: Yeah I’ll have to second that. I didn’t see your original comment, but sleet can easily happen in that sort of situation. That doesn’t mean the biotelemetry and other issues are any better though. – Anthony

  142. Phil [20:59:10] and Anthony

    Phil, based on previous postings here and elsewhere I understand you are supportive of the Caitlin crowd. However, there are a whole slew of definitions for sleet [pls google it], mine included.

    My experience is that sleet often is a mixture of melting rain [pellets or not] and snow – thus my description of “heavy wet snow”- caused when precipitation from a warm layer above falls through a cold underlying air mass.

    Now, what is the likelihood of this happening in an overall very cold Arctic air mass [which is contributing to ice coverage tending towards 2001highs] and with surface temperatures at -25C? What relative humidity would you need at -25C for precipitation to fall as a mixture of melting rain and snow? And as an after thought, why, after this oddity was flagged by several observers [other than me] on different blogs, was the reading changed to “overcast” within an hour or so on the Caitlin site?

    Forget about the last bit; I would much like to be educated on the relative humidity part of my question .

  143. Phil. (20:52:11) :

    Graeme Rodaughan (14:23:52) :
    “The latest findings show that virtually all the ice surveyed is what is called first-year ice, ice that only grew this past winter, as opposed to tougher multi-year ice which survives the warmth of summer.”

    Is this suprising. You start from the edge and walk towards the centre. The youngest ice will be at the edges – so of course your going to find the young ice first.

    Not in the Canadian Arctic.

    Phil – I must admit to knowing next to nothing about ice – my comment merely seemed plausible and could easily be wrong.

  144. What’s the bet that later this year,

    [1] A paper will be released by Steig, Mann, et al,

    [2] Whereby 102+ data points (ice holes) are extrapolated over several million square kilometers of arctic ice, and

    [3] Using specialist “unique” data infilling techniques to demonstrate that the ice has been thinning for at least 50 years and that the trend of thinning ice is accelerating, and

    [4] The methods for the extrapolating and infilling will be discussed in a Supplementary Information (SI) paper that is not released at the same time as the main paper, and

    [5] Three years after the main paper has been used to justify major political policy initiatives involving increased taxation and government control, the SI is published, and

    [6] Three days later the SI is demolished and shown to be intellectually bankrupt by the sceptic blogocracy, with the result that the main paper is also debunked, and that the political policy initiatives were – in fact – not justified at all.

  145. “Organisers in London insist the expedition’s data-gathering is … “largely irrelevant”.

    But of course, it was really a PR stunt.

    “They are poking random holes and claiming this is data. Anecdata is the new term for this kind of thing.”

    Anecdata! I love it! That is the funniest thing that I heard all day. Good job Jeez!

    So, if these guys are out of science, why are they still there? Chapter 7, the dramatic Navy helicopter rescue from crumbling ice live on CNN & BBC. Earth Day/Lennin’s birthday should be about right.

    Hey Mo! Watch out for that yellow snow! Nyuk nyuk nyuk

    -Younger-Dryas..Climate change you can believe in!

  146. I have just discovered an important new proxy for measuring arctic ice thickness/thinness.

    It goes as follows.

    [1] Polar bears are heavy animals often weighing more than 600 kilograms.

    [2] Thin ice is fragile.

    Hence the more thin ice, the more Polar bears will crash through it and drown in the icy waters below.

    [3] Using reports of low numbers of Polar bears in the media, and the addition of Polar bears to the lists of endangered species, it is an inevitable conclusion that the decline of Polar bears correlates with and is caused by the thinning ice.

    Any statistical interpretation of the Polar bear population (declining) can therefore be used as a proxy for the thinning of the ice.

    Brilliant, just brilliant – I’m happy to accept any applause that now may come my way.

    I propose to call this important new innovation – “The Polar Bear on Thin Ice Proxy”.

    Does anyone know a good peer reviewed journal that I could get this published in?

  147. ” Jeff (08:37:01) :

    Does this mean they may also resort to old-fashioned cannibalism, all conveniently video recorded by BBC documentarians, if the support structure cannot get food to them? It might increase the ratings.”

    I hope someone mentions that does have better meat than bucks…

  148. Notice that the Catlin expedition have not encountered any Polar Bears, based on my “Polar Bear on Thin Ice Proxy” I am confident in asserting that they are on Thin ice.

    I.e No Bears = Thin Ice.

    I’m also confident that they will report finding thin ice – which will further validate my new proxy.

    Hey – this agw climate science is not so hard – can I get a grant?

    They never really needed ice measuring radar. A notebook, a pencil and a willingness to count polar bears would have sufficed.

  149. I trust this “climate science” will be reported in the infamous “Journal of Irreproducible Results” as it deserves – being neither about climate nor science.

  150. “tougher multi-year ice”

    Will they be able to drill through that? I’m still not convinced that they are drilling right through – we only hear how deep the holes are, which might just be the length of the bit…

  151. Steve (03:58:22) According to the link you provide, they are now moving onto second year ice which is expectedly thicker. Looking at the barely discernable readings, the numbers at the south end are larger, implying they are moving north to south?!?

  152. Steve Keohane (04:58:42) :

    Can’t throw much light on the content of that link except to say that it appears to contradict the BBC story that started this tread

    “Figures indicate an average ice thickness of 1.15-3.75m, much of which might be expected to melt between June and September.”

    If we assume by ‘average’ they mean ‘work it out yourself’ and that 1.15 and 3.75 are the extremes, then the midpoint is 2.45, which (assuming I’ve been reading WUWT right) indicates there is more multi year ice than first year ice.

    One other curious thing is that link was tucked away on the ‘science’ tab.

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/science

    Now why would a trail blazing jolly like this want to hide its ‘findings’ rather than shout them out on the main tab?

  153. They sure move quick…now its on the main tab

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/

    Team turns to traditional survey methods as technology battles force of nature
    The Catlin Arctic Survey has now released its first set of ice and snow thickness measurements, showing the floating sea ice cover it has travelled over in the early stage is predominantly new ice, with an average thickness of 1.77m. The findings were obtained by manual drilling and are currently being analysed by science partners.

    Finding ‘First Year Ice’ in this part of the Ocean was not what the Ice Team had expected at this stage of a route chosen, in conjunction with science advisors, to begin in an area where there would be multi-year ice…more

  154. So what are we supposed to conclude?

    The main tab says the technology wasn’t working:

    The results are from the ongoing drilling programme being carried out by Pen Hadow, Martin Hartley and Ann Daniels after the conditions affected the deployment of high tech equipment. SPRITE, its pioneering Surface Penetrating Radar for Ice Thickness Establishment, and onboard sledge computer kit have, despite rigorous testing ahead of the expedition, both been disabled by the extreme conditions. A fault, not previously detected, has also prevented use of a SeaCat probe which measures the water column beneath the floating sea ice, although a new version will be despatched on the next re-supply flight.

    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/headline.aspx?postId=160

    The ‘science’ tab says the tech shows thin ice.
    http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/assets/downloads/Ice_Report_14_4_09.pdf

    High resolution radar satellite imagery (Radarsat courtesy of MDA) of the area immediately around the team corroborates the information from the passive microwave sensors (see above). The fact that initial ice thickness results indicate that they have been travelling over first year ice, almost right from the start, indicates that the extent of the multi‐year ice is much reduced and is now confined to a narrow swath east of 130W along the northwest Canadian Arctic.

    Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?
    (And now I’m must get back to work!)

  155. Mike Bryant (06:03:21) :

    Oh what a great picture on page two.
    My wife and I as still laughing.

    Mind you I have had a couple of bottles of wine where a bottle opener that size could have been very useful.

    Brilliant picture another own goal for measuring thinning ice.

    RE: D. King (16:41:51) :

    “I don’t think any more money should be spent on these iceholes!”
    Brilliant D. King, a gem!

  156. Re. page 2:

    “The  second ‐year  ice  was  formed  from  the  area  of  first ‐year  
    ice  that  did  not  melt  away  last  summer  as  predicted.”

    Does that mean they predicted it would melt, or that it wouldn’t? (Or that they don’t know?)

  157. Interesting link, Joel. Thanks for posting.

    Surprisingly, the story links to WUWT. It also reports:

    Simon Harris-Ward, the survey’s director of operations, said no one should underestimate how challenging the expedition had been so far. “The extreme weather, even by Arctic standards has affected much of the team’s standard kit… Typical daily temperatures are still as low as minus 40C…

    So the weather is colder than normal. Minus 40° in mid-April! That will no doubt cause even more ice to form.

    But as we’re told by the alarmist contingent: global warming causes global cooling.

  158. Tonight on BBC NorthWest there was a brief feature telling us that the team (the photographer is from the North West) were half way to the pole – come on BBC, do the maths – 300km travelled, over 620km to go…..

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