An interesting question has arisen. Is it OK to pollute the Arctic Sea so long as the quest is “noble”? The Catlin Arctic Ice Survey likes to promote their trek as having a low carbon footprint because they are walking on the ice, rather than doing the more efficient flying ice survey (such has already been done), or driving to the north pole with vehicles.
What we don’t see much of from Catlin is how much fuel it takes to support their walking endeavor. They have to get resupplied by aircraft. And, because they have to get “rescued” at some point, refueling is needed for that too since the planes can’t make the flight on one tank. They have to leave a fuel cache on the sea ice.
So what happens to the empty fuel barrels? Or even worse, what happens to full barrels?
WUWT reader Richard Henry Lee writes:
On 26 April at http://www.catlinarcticsurvey.com/from_the_ice.aspx, the report was:
Yesterday, the plane took off from Resolute Bay, flew north for 3 hours to the weather station at Eureka. The CAS support team hopped off, the pilots re-fuelled and then flew out onto the Arctic Ocean, in order to cache fuel in advance of tomorrow’s flight out to the Ice Team. Once sufficient fuel had been cached, the pilots then flew back to Eureka where they spent the night.
On 3 May, they report:
From a logistical point of view, the main area of consistently bad weather at the moment is over the mid-way refuelling point, rather than at the team’s location or at Resolute. That being the case, the pilots at KBA and the London-based Ops team are currently looking at the possibility of putting in a new fuel cache, so that the aircraft can take a slightly more circuitous route to the team if necessary, in effect bypassing the original refuelling point. The possibility of an airdrop is also now being considered.
So it appears that the original fuel cache is out there on the ice and they are planning to store a new fuel cache because of the weather.
So, what will happen to the old fuel cache that they cannot get to due to bad weather?
If just left there, it would eventually get into the ocean, I presume.
Yes just what does happen to those fuel drums? That is the inconvenient question.
It seems that if they leave them on the ice, empty or full, Catlin may join the ranks of Arctic polluters.