The Guardian Relocates The North Pole By 500km

By Steven Goddard
The Catlin crew was picked up this week, after completing less than 50% of their planned journey to the North Pole and coming up about 500km short.  Immediately upon their return, The Guardian reported :

After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.

This reminds me of the legend of “bringing the mountain to Mohammed.”  The crew reported traveling over 400km, a non-trivial percentage of which was due to floating along with the Arctic drift. See this map of Arctic buoys and their drift patterns:
Polar drift map over the last 60 days.
Given the polar drift, one has to wonder how much ice was actually traversed, and how many measurements were taken near the same spot on the first year ice.  The Catlin Crew reported in The Telegraph :

Arctic explorer Pen Hadow has warned that the polar ice cap he has been examining to gauge the extent of climate change appears far thinner than expected after trekking more than 250 miles to the North Pole

Expedition Leader Pen Hadow revealed that initial Survey results show the average ice thickness in the region to be 1.774m.

1.774m is fairly thick for first year ice (and requires a very accurate tape measure.)  They started their expedition in March on ice which NSIDC had already identified in February as first year ice – so why were they surprised to find first year ice?
The NSIDC February map showed multi-year ice as shades of red and orange, and their start point (red dot) was more than 100km away from the edge of the multi-year ice.  The crew also reported that their data is biased by a pragmatic choice of route across flat (first year) ice.

One further consideration, when interpreting the ice thickness measurements made by the CAS team, is navigational bias. The team systematically seeks out flatter ice because it is easier to travel over and camp on.

According to the Catlin web site, there was plenty of second year ice – but apparently the cold weather and lack of progress kept them from reaching it.  Note in the map below that second year ice (SY) is not considered multi-year (MY) ice.  The AGW world has recently redefined the word “multi-year” as meaning greater than two years.  (Next year it may need to be defined as greater than three years.)
.
Backscatter radar image showing 1st, 2nd and Mulityear ice from NOAA
In summary :
  1. Due to horrifically cold weather, hypothermia and frostbite, they made it less than half way to the pole.
  2. Some of the distance they did travel was due to polar drift.  They reported crossing the 85th parallel “in their sleep.”
  3. They started on ice which was already known to be first year ice, yet were “surprised” to find that it was first year ice.
  4. They stayed on first year ice for most of the truncated journey.
  5. Their ice measurements tell us that the first year ice this year is fairly thick.
  6. Their ice measurements tell us very little or about the thickness or “health” of multi-year ice.
  7. They will no doubt get an invite to St. James Palace for tea with Prince Charles
http://www.ijis.iarc.uaf.edu/seaice/extent/AMSRE_Sea_Ice_Extent.png
May, 2009 shows the greatest ice extent in the AMSR-E record, which seems to contradict Hadow’s highly publicised remarks about Arctic ice health.
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So – I went to the Guardian website and read their article – and they do not say the Catlin team was picked up at the North Pole. Indeed, the article clearly says they are being picked up 490 Km short of the Pole.
So – do you regularly make up quotes on the assumption that your readers will not check?
NwCitizen writers have been following your stuff – and have been impressed to a point. Perhaps we need to keep track of you as you supposedly – read pretend – to keep track of the envoro’s press. Hello.

Sam

I’ll be sure to be the first to inform my geography class of the new position of the North Pole. Thanks for the update.

Leon Brozyna

There’s also a rather good summary of Catlin at American Thinker titled, The Catlin Ice Follies.
http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/05/the_catlin_ice_follies.htm
Yet, in what passes for journalism today, the brain numb communication majors, having mastered the challenging task of reading, proudly display their accomplishment by dutifully reading press releases handed them by advocacy groups. Theirs is not to think, to check facts, to look behind the curtain and see all the shenanigans happening there. So now, across the land these light headed talking heads solemnly pontificate on the great heroic adventure that was Catlin. From them you will never hear of the flight over the Arctic that covered more area in 30 days than Catlin did in 73 days and found ice much thicker than expected.
Remember everyone – let’s all stay on message and let’s not get distracted by any such foolishness as facts.
** ** **
This was all just a PR stunt leading up to Copenhagen. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s still that inconenient moment in September when the ice melt turns out to be less than the last two years. Bet the media manages to be silent about that off message fact.

Bill Illis

It is pretty clear that we disregard the Catlin ice measurements. They have shown there is no reason to expect objective, honest science out of them.
I’ve got the May 15, 2009 – day 135 NH sea ice extent at 287,000 km^2 (2.2%) below the average of 1979 to 2008.
This is an interesting period now because the ice melt slows down a little at this time of year and then speeds up again around the solstice on June 21st.

Chris

“So – I went to the Guardian website and read their article – and they do not say the Catlin team was picked up at the North Pole. Indeed, the article clearly says they are being picked up 490 Km short of the Pole. ”
John Servais, I can confirm that you are wrong.
They state, as Anthony says, “After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.”
Direct quote. I have screenshots as well.

Steven Goddard

John Servais,
I’m assuming that you know how to follow hyperlinks in the article. The last word in the first paragraph has a link to this quote:

After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/24/catlin-arctic-survey-arctic?picture=347364812
So before you accuse others of “making up quotes” I suggest you beef up your Internet skills a bit.

Steve Hempell

John
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/24/catlin-arctic-survey-arctic?picture=347364812
“Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole ”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/earthpicturegalleries/5323888/The-Catlin-Arctic-Survey-led-by-Pen-Hadow-finds-the-polar-ice-cap-is-thinner.html
“250 miles to the North Pole ”
Hello
It is sloppy, imprecise writing, but then again, everything about this “expedition” has been sloppy and imprecise.

Steve

Do you perhaps have reading anomaly?
“After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.”
That statement from the ‘Guardian’ implies they reached the North Pole.

Joseph

Steven, we need to add another point to your summary:
8. The Catlin Arctic Survey did not result in any useful information.
Is there a “GPS report” of this PR stunt across the Arctic ice? I think an examination of their distance traveled while idle in their tents (due to ice drift), as a fraction of total distance would be interesting.
Is there a report yet of the results of the German team that “scooped” the Catlin survey available? http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/28/inconvenient-eisdicken/#more-7406

Hal

John Servais (16:58:28) :
You didnt see this quote? What does ” having battled to the north pole imply? That they got within 490 km?
Direct quote from the Guardian link (Shows up when you scroll over the picture)
“Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.” ‘
Yes, it’s not in the article, but nevertheless is originated by the Guardian.
You alarmists can only nitpick, while you spew out massive garbage. The big lie concept was working for a while.
Congratulations on being first to comment. You guys must have a really efficient robot scanning WUWT.

leftymartin

John Servais – sorry, you have it wrong. I followed the link provided in Steven’s story and there it was, a block of text over a photo of the 3 climate pilgrims, stating:
After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route. The Guardian has been following the expedition’s progress with images, audio, video and blogs sent back by the team. You can find full coverage here.
Steven, I would suggest you screen capture that (if you haven’t already done so) and include in an update to this terrific (and utterly hilarious) post. Once the folks at the Guardian realize their goof, it may get air-brushed without comment. This sort of idiocy simply must be captured for posterity.

Mike Bryant

John Servais,
The picture here contains the quote above:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/24/catlin-arctic-survey-arctic?picture=347364812
Unless they have changed it… you better look quick…
You said, “So – do you regularly make up quotes on the assumption that your readers will not check?”
You owe Steve an apology.

Cathy

@John Servis
Ya know, John? I just have to assume you’re a first-timer on Anthony’s Blog.
If you’d spent any time here, you’d know that Anthony is concerned with scientific fact presented for his readers’ perusal and is open to polite discussion of the facts.
Your snide comment is rather jarring and I must assume you haven’t taken the time to study the volumes of material presented in this award-winning blog.
I went to the link that Anthony provided and easily found the quote that Anthony referenced. It’s the caption on the picture and it states that ‘ . . . . British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole . . ..”
Now THAT is misleading reportage.
Since you’re such a crusader for truth-in-reporting, why don’t you skip on over to the Catlin/Guardian love fest and pee on their parade.

John Servais (16:58:28) :
So – I went to the Guardian website and read their article – and they do not say the Catlin team was picked up at the North Pole.
So – do you regularly make up quotes on the assumption that your readers will not check?

Do you regularly twist what others say? Steve didn’t say the Guardian reported they were picked up at the North Pole.
Here is the quote from the Guardian online that pops up in an inset with the picture of the three intrepid fools (1 of 27).
“After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route. The Guardian has been following the expedition’s progress with images, audio, video and blogs sent back by the team. You can find full coverage here.”
Steve did not make up a quote. It’s right there. So you jump in with your warmist defense to try to mislead readers following behind you with your own falsehood. Nice try. Did you think we also would not check?
Given the entire publicity stunt farcical nature of this “scientific expedition” in the first place, I suppose your own misreprepresentation of what Steve is saying is to be expected. Afterall, it’s hard defend any alleged science in this “Green Trek” when the Russians drove to the North Pole in a fraction of the time in what amounted to super Hummers (and relative comfort) and consumed far less fuel than the Catlin Team’s Otter. We’re all still wondering how many fuel drums these Catlin numbskulls left out on the ice.

old construction worker

John Servais
‘So – I went to the Guardian website and read their article – and they do not say the Catlin team was picked up at the North Pole. Indeed, the article clearly says they are being picked up 490 Km short of the Pole.
So – do you regularly make up quotes on the assumption that your readers will not check?’
What are you talking about? Did you click onto the link?
Steven didn’t make anything up. It seems that The Guardian is doing the misleading thing.

Cathy

Oh! Everything I said above applies to John Servis’ impugning Steven Goddard’s honesty :0)

Ian

Regarding the Catlin team the Guardian wrote
“The Catlin Arctic Survey’s original mission to take measurements right up to the North Pole has not worked out though. They will be picked up 490km from the pole, less than half way there”.
I think your headline is really “cherry picking” and really doesn’t enhance the credibility of a site that I strongly support. Unfortunately the headline may well be seized on by the alarmists to discredit your site and those that quote it

John Servais (16:58:28):
So – I went to the Guardian website and read their article – and they do not say the Catlin team was picked up at the North Pole. Indeed, the article clearly says they are being picked up 490 Km short of the Pole.
So – do you regularly make up quotes on the assumption that your readers will not check?

I went too and found this:
After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.
Which is exactly what Steven Goddard wrote:
Immediately upon their return, The Guardian reported :
After 73 days, the Catlin Arctic Survey has come to an end. Pen Hadow’s team of British Arctic explorers have battled to the North Pole through freezing conditions collecting data about the ice en route.

What’s the problem?
Catlin should get an insurance on “catched moving the North Pole”… Just in case Catlin wanted to change the North Pole to Mexico. Heh… 🙂

Mike Bryant

JohnA’s link was identified as a threat site by Norton. It contains three trojan viruses…

MC

From the looks of the picture of the trio with the caption it sure looks like they’re dressed for all that warm arctic air that’s melting the polar ice cap.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2009/mar/24/catlin-arctic-survey-arctic?picture=347364812
I would have guessed that during such warm conditions they would have been pictured enjoying a balmy say 50F-60F day. The gift that keeps on giving “Catlin Survey”

Michael J Kubat

Another case of “the Pen being mightier than the truth,” I suppose.

Ralph Bullis

Anthony:
Without detracting in any way from the courage and tenaciousness of the three polar explorers, one would have to conclude that their efforts have come up considerably short of their goals. They did not reach the North Pole (Guardian’s article to the contrary), their equipment was woefully inadequate for the conditions encountered (poor planning and poor execution), they did not succeed in measuring ice thickness to the extent they wanted and they have underscored the fact the Arctic remains a domain dominated by frigid temperatures and ice. If anything, they have educated the public (largely British school children apparently) that the Arctic will not be bikini haven anytime soon.
But something bothers me – why has no one queried the Catlin organization about the garbage left behind on the ice? When the group was put out on the ice, they went out with 2 Twin Otters. They were picked up by 2 Twin Otters, but one was full of fuel and the other was full of BBC TV crews and breathless reporters. Who picked up the empty drums? Where are the sledges and detritus of the expedition – did they come back in the 2 Twin Otters? Are the Floating Supply Bases still out on the ice? Are there caches of full fuel drums still out on the ice to pollute the pristine Arctic seas? Obviously, the BBC is not going to ask those tough questions.

I’m curious to see how this is reported in the U.S. press. I can only hope it won’t be presented as anything except a publicity stunt. I’m sure Mr. Padow is planning a book.

James Allison

Anthony
You may have already considered this idea. Each time you post a blog such as this why not send a communication to the author of the outrageous statement (particularly when they are “expert” scientists) advising that person that they are the subject of a blog here on WUWT. Also point out the monthly traffic that visits this site each month and also invite the author to justify on the blog their original statement. Me thinks that this action will quickly qwell some of the more stupid media statements.

Robert Wood

It appears that the grauniad has changed its words. Anywhere I find the “after 73 days …” there is no reference to the objective.

Adam from Kansas

Wow, another sign the AGW-savvy media is making stuff up, can you trust anyone outside of WUWT, IceCap and IceAgeNow on climate anymore?
I love how that little red line started flattening out before it dipped below any of the other lines, still at the top, and apparently ignoring the orders to melt from the BBC

paulID

great job and i found that quote in less than 5 seconds of perusing the article. Too bad others don’t have the internet skills and visul acuity that a legaly blind(without my glasses) 43 year old does.

CodeTech

Mike Bryant, even with my ultra-sensitive setup, there is no problem with John A’s link. It is directly to a jpg, end of story.
I do, however, have a problem with Symantec/Norton, having just made myself a bunch of $$$ removing it from someone’s computer today. That thing IS a trojan/virus.

bill

Steve goddard, hmmm, would that be the person who made this statement:
Steve Goddard (15:48:47) :
bill,
Sea water freezes at -2C/ If you kept the temperature over the ice permanently at -8C, it would eventually freeze all the way to the sea floor – unless there is another source of heat in the system.
Please give it a rest – you are just talking gibberish.
Science at its best!
Ralph Bullis (17:52:19) :
I believe the question of waste has been covered elsewhere but:
Drums are marked with their owners and will be retrieved.
organic waste is left behind (in a couple of years it will be in the sea) Non organic is flown back.
One can assume that the kit is all brought back. The barrels of fuel are used for the return journey the planes will be lighter by the amount burnt in going out.
NO ONE is expecting temperatures above freezing at the pole. It may become ice free in summer but not winter. Can we drop the childish references to “sunbathing” please.
Cherry and nit-picking on some hacks mistake adds absolutely nothing to this blog. to or toward is nitpicking in my books!

Hal (17:21:12) : “You alarmists can only nitpick, while you spew out massive garbage.”
Would language like this from those with the opposite view be accepted?
Reply: Yes. The label that is unacceptable is “denier,” which has the connotation of “Holocaust denier,” and is objectionable for that reason. There is, however, no dispute that some people are sounding the alarm over climate issues. ~ dbstealey, moderator.

Robert Wood

However, I have now found it.

Philip Johns

Well, over on Denial Depot we were considering awarding Mr Goddard a Blog Science Doctorate. However he has kind of blotted his copy book, so to speak. Here he considers a mere photo caption as worthy of a whole ‘rapid rebuttal’ post, even when the same publication is quite clear …
The Catlin Arctic Survey’s original mission to take measurements right up to the North Pole has not worked out though. They will be picked up 490km from the pole, less than half way there.
Look, we’re all on the same side here, fighting the good fight agianst the phoney psuedoscientific alarmism alarmism of the IPCC and the Gore-ist UN socialist bedwetters and their tax-imposing agenda, but nitpicking over photo captions is not going to help the cause one jot. Surely the bandwidth taken up by this post would have been better expended on a photo of a weather station next to a barbecue?

Ah, but dear sir: You forget that enviro’s do not have to follow the truth-and-cleanliness rules that they demand the real world try to follow: Leaving oil-filled drums on the ice to melt through is “holy” and ” good” as long as they do it in the “name” of the environment. Actual health or safety or environmental quality – or even the truth for that matter – are irrelevant.
If an evil power plant or chemical refinery were to try such a thing on private property, they’d be arrested and fined for pollution. But lying or exaggerating is “OK” by the enviro’s.

Louis Hissink

I don’t think the Guardian Goofed – considering the state of science knowledge these days it might actually be a sincere belief held by many of the AGW camp.
Sad really.

Ian and John Servais;
Click the link and report back the caption over the photo.
I am not sure if you are meaning to be willfully ignorant on a point that can easily be refuted by simply looking at the source information. Seems to me that an inherent weakness with people like you is the fact that facts just do not matter to you, shoddy Enviro slanted journalism keeps making mistakes to mislead people and you keep saying it is the facts that are false not the reporting.
Listen the fact is the Guardian has false information on their site at the link supplied. So while mistakes happen this is a major story that their site has dedicated a special area for reporting it. Hence accuracy should be a given on a major goal of the expedition.
Is it the end of the world, nope, but it is symptomatic of the distorted reporting around climate change issues.

John Trigge

The Australian MSN picked up the UK report of Hadow and crew leaving the ice due to the early Summer melt, intimating that there is a (AGW) problem.
Another spin on ‘data’ that has not yet been analysed and nothing about the relative amount of ice ast the moment compared to previous years.
Sounds like an agenda looking for a complacent MSM ‘reporter’.

peter_ga

Strictly speaking, “battling to” a destination does not imply with 100 surety that the destination was achieved, merely that the direction of any progress was towards that destination. Its the perfect weasel word for this situation. One has to admire the Guardian’s word-smithery, if not its integrity. Would its target audience object to this phrase? Of course not.

rbateman

2 steps forward, 1 step back.
Whatever their excuse is, the whole thing was a comedy, even if taken at face value.
Hadlow was supposed to be a seasoned Arctic trekker.
Falling 500km short is gross failure.

Bill W

John Servais (16:58:28) :
“So – do you regularly make up quotes on the assumption that your readers will not check? ”
We’ll do that and hope that you and the Moonbat will do the same every so often…
(Monbiot tries to disprove Christopher Booker, then admits he boobed
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/may/15/climate-change-scepticism-arctic-ice)

Carlo

“This year, the summer melt came a little early,” Hadow said during a Webcast conference from Resolute Bay in northern Canada. “We would have rather reached the Pole if we could have, but we’ve always regarded (getting there) as the cherry on the cake.”
The summer melt came a little early?
http://www.heraldonline.com/wire/world/story/1342700.html

rbateman

MC (17:49:24) :
Huh. Sure don’t look like bedraggled Artic trekkers having suffered mightily at the bite of the cruel Polar extremes. The experience on those faces says something entirely different.
Might be interesting to see photos of Amundsen or Scott after such journeys.
Well, I’ll be !

Eric Naegle

Catlin Insurance has put out a press release:
http://www.catlin.com/cgl/media/press_releases/pr_2009/2009-05-14/
I find this interesting:
“The expedition ended several weeks ahead of schedule because of concerns that the Spring melting of the Arctic sea ice would make it too dangerous for aircraft to land at a later date.”
The original plan, as I know it, was to travel 1000 kilometers in 100 days and arrive at the geographic north pole. Therefore, according to their plan they would arrive at the north pole sometime in early June. We know from past posts that the pilots consider April 30 as the cutoff point for normal, safe operations in the arctic. There seems to be a disconnect here, to say the least. The press release implies, and could easily fool anyone who hasn’t paid attention, that the “expedition” has come to an end because the ice is melting “ahead of schedule”.
the same press release also quotes Pen Hadow:
“It was a gruelling but successful expedition.”
Warning! LAYMAN speculating.
Wasn’t the original idea of this expedition to take precise radar readings of the ice thickness. The drilled and measured readings were probably to be used as a sort of control to back up the radar readings or provide data to adjust, as necessary, the radar readings? If the radar didn’t work, wasn’t this whole endeavor a colossal boondoggle from day 1 (or 2.)

Richard P

I am glad that they survived this poorly planed attempt at proving AGW affects upon the arctic ice. They were in a truly dangerous environment that cares not the motivation of the lifeforms in its grasp. My biggest concern was for the people that would risk their lives to retrieve them. It was plainly obvious the Catlin crew were woefully unprepared for what was encountered.
This publicity stunt should have never been attempted, unfortunately I fear this will not be the last desperate attempt to save the AGW religion. Believers will never accede to science and reasoned skepticism of the cause the Catlin Three almost became martyrs for.
As for the posts from the AGW religious followers, the Guardian placed the misleading information on the pop up text box for the headline picture. The reader then has to click on the link to get the accurate information. This demonstrated either very poor editing, or advocacy journalism. Many people will never click through to the article to get the full story. Sad but true in this day and age. One would hope for better than what is demonstrated from a professional news organization.

mbabbitt

I just wanted to pile on John Servais also : Your quick reaction (you were number one) and your inaccuracy are emblematic of the global warming alarmists: they can’t even report straight forward information correctly and yet do it with a snobbery that only they can call up so well. What a loser.

peter_ga (18:44:31) :
With all due respect sir, the phrase was not “battling to” but rather “have battled to” – signifying definitely completed action. The caption was a blatant falsehood.

Pamela Gray

The early melt part is the fraudulent statement that is the most egregious as far as I am concerned. The rest is just spin about hardship and ice thickness. There is no part of the ice melt statement that can be said to be true as all data sources indicate that the initiation of the melt season was average. In addition, anyone can check Arctic temperature, weather, wind patterns, and jet stream to see if you need to get off the ice early or not.

MC

rbateman (18:52:03) :
MC (17:49:24) :
Huh. Sure don’t look like bedraggled Artic trekkers having suffered mightily at the bite of the cruel Polar extremes. The experience on those faces says something entirely different.
Might be interesting to see photos of Amundsen or Scott after such journeys.
Well, I’ll be
RBateman, Yea, if they walked to the pole they’d be a motley lookin bunch. Goddard and the whole bunch of us knows they sat around and floated here and there on the ice for a few days-let the resupply planes litter the ice for their personal comfort-then when they return they propogate a bunch of misleading storytelling.
If it wern’t for Anthony and Goddard and a few other sticklers they could get away with the propoganda scheme. Great thing about all this is the Catlin people know they’re being checked and a whole lot of other people who come by and read the content of this site come around to figuring out what’s really going on. I know this to be true and that is if anyone searches and retrieves the full text of every story WUWT has posted on the Catlin Survey you will without question know the truth and the truth is what we need desparately these days.

30 days and counting. No, this isn’t a sunspotless-days post. According to the IARC JAXA data, on April 16 the 2009 sea-ice extent was greater than on any previous April 16th in IARC JAXA’s dataset (June 21, 2002 to present). The same has been true for every day since then. May 15th is the 30th day in a row that has exceeded its counterparts in all previous years. I’m sure that the AGW crowd will soon be providing more spin than the Arctic Gyre, attempting to explain away this data.

Mike Bryant

John Servais,
I am a little disappointed that you haven’t done the right thing and simply apologized for a small mistake. I’ve used the advanced search and read a couple of your articles and you seem to be genuinely concerned with truth. I am hoping that you simply have not checked back in to see the responses to your hastily written rebuke.
Do the right thing,
Mike