Baltic sea ice traps ships

There’s a lot of buzz about this in the blogosphere because of the constant barrage of alarming reports being fed by the media on Arctic sea ice melt. As we pointed out yesterday, the WUWT forecast is that sea ice is on its way to a recovery again in 2010.

Here’s where the problem is, the magenta marker is the Baltic sea:

And the AP video follows with this description: A passenger ferry with nearly 1,000 people on board broke free early Friday from heavy pack ice that had trapped it for hours in the Baltic Sea of Sweden’s east coast. Dozens of other ships remained stuck and awaiting assistance. (March 4)

Richard North at the EU Referendum writes of this event:

Sceptics can, of course, make hay with these reports – as indeed the warmists have exploited any number of transient weather phenomena – but it is germane to note that the Baltic incident is partly the result of gale-force winds which are compacting the ice and making it difficult to navigate.

Something very similar happened during September 1983 in the Northeast passage, when an unusually early freeze-up and persistent northwesterly winds that drove heavy multi-year ice into Proliv Longa and against the Siberian coast of Chukotka. Dozens of ships were trapped, creating a major emergency which lasted several months, a fascinating account latterly published in the journal Arctic in 1985.

This brings home the salient point that mass shifts in Arctic ice have more to do with wind patterns than they do temperature, something Anthony Watts helpfully confirms in a recent post. As a result, Arctic ice extent is recovering from its 2007 low and is currently within a million square kilometres of normal and increasing as peak coverage approaches.

Here, then, we have a complex, multi-factoral phenomenon, but it is one which the warmists have chosen to interpret almost entirely as evidence of global warming, claiming that temperature rises are the main if not sole cause.

Meanwhile, the setup for increased Arctic sea ice is looking good for 2010.

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March 5, 2010 7:55 am

This is of course consistent with predictions for global warming/climate change/climate crisis.

Bill Toland
March 5, 2010 7:57 am

I see that the map has managed to label Scotland as England.
Could you fix this? When I go abroad on holiday, most people I meet have only a vague idea where Scotland actually is. This will confuse them even further.

March 5, 2010 7:59 am

In your map at the top of this piece, the country labelled “England” is in fact Scotland.
Just thought you’d like to know.

March 5, 2010 8:01 am

Heeey! – England, Norway, Sweden and Denmark
Copenhagen is the capital city of Denmark 😉

March 5, 2010 8:03 am

Thats strange. I always thought the top bit of Britain was called Scotland?

Charlie Barnes
March 5, 2010 8:06 am

Seems a very reasonable explanation.
I suspect the, or at least some, Scots will not be very enamoured of their country being marked as England in the first picture. Reminds me of a wall map in the Army Museum in St Petersburg showing London as roughly where Manchester is!

Daniel H
March 5, 2010 8:08 am

This is not nearly as amusing as when Sam Branson, the spoiled rich son of Sir Richard Branson, got stuck in the Arctic sea ice during a kayak trip to the North Pole. The expedition was meant to raise public awareness about global warming but mother nature refused to cooperate. It will be very difficult to top that event in terms of sheer entertainment value:

Henry chance
March 5, 2010 8:10 am

We need to see more of these stories. Facts refute the forecasts of the warmists. They can’t make correct models

March 5, 2010 8:13 am

Erratum: “. . .the WUWT forecast is that sea ice is on it’s way to a recovery again in 2010.”
its, not it’s.
Sorry to pick nits, but quality is important, especially for lead posts. /Mr L
REPLY: You know, I’m not perfect, and often times I write these things while trying to get my son ready for school in the morning as was the case here. I’m also fighting a cold, lack of sleep, and a schedule that I’m sure many of you wouldn’t envy. Walk a mile in my shoes while trying to keep this website updated with interesting and relevant content.
You guys need to decide if you want to me to nit pick me to death over inconsequential pedantic details, or have this website with fresh content every day. I don’t have a proofreader, copy editor, or any other writing assistance like a newspaper or magazine does. I try to be correct on the first pass, but I’ll never catch 100% of the grammar, spelling, or other small errors.
For the rest that took issue with where I placed the label for England, I’ve fixed that too. I tried to be helpful by providing a custom map, what I got was whining over the placement of one label to avoid another. Maybe I’ll think twice about the extra effort next time.
I think I’ll take a few days sabbatical. I’ve blogged every day since late November 2006 without a break.
– Anthony

March 5, 2010 8:14 am

Part of the problem is that Sweden’s best ice breaker Oden is rented by scientists and is currently at the Antarctic…
The people responsible explains that “this was decided before we knew that we weren’t going to get a normal winter”.

Philip T. Downman
March 5, 2010 8:15 am

In spite of an unusually cold winter in Scandinavia, Swedens second largest lake, Vattern, is reported to be partly open. This is believed to be due to strong winds breaking up the ice cover. While Vanern, the largest Scandinavian lake is all covered with ice. Area of ice might not be the best measure. Total volume is harder to assess.
I agree one won’t make too much of one cold winter. It might, however well be the beginning of a trend. Let’s try to survive to see..

March 5, 2010 8:16 am

“Rotten” wind….

Michael Jankowski
March 5, 2010 8:18 am

Too much ice -> weather is not climate
Lack of ice -> climate change

Steve in SC
March 5, 2010 8:21 am

We need some polar bears to complete this picture.

Don B
March 5, 2010 8:22 am

I am compulsively watching the continued growth of Arctic sea ice, and wondering if the maximum can set a record since 2003. We’ll soon know.

March 5, 2010 8:24 am

Absolutely right, Mr Lynn. Bad spelling, grammar and punctuation on the Internet spreads like a virus. As a teacher I see plenty of examples of that. Pupils just assume that if it’s on the Internet it’s bound to be right! Just like when they read about disappearing polar bears and such like.
Plenty of people have commented on this already but can I also add my voice to the people who have pointed out that England does not actually reach the far north of Great Britain. (But when foreigners hear English people talking about England all the time rather than Britain or the UK – which they do – then you can’t exactly blame foreigners for making the same mistake – which they do.)

Sam Lau
March 5, 2010 8:26 am

The Feb. Arctic Oscillation Index is out and is definitely jaw dropping, with -4.266, it do not just hit the record ( since 1950 ) itself, it also make 2009-2010 DJF the lowest seasonal AO value since the record begin ( again 1950 ).
With the backdrop of this, arctic is simply full of thick ice ……. if the condition of the spring and summer is not too far from normal, then we may actually see the arctic sea ice extent going back to 1s.d. within “normal”. On the other word, warmists are going to have a very very chilly summer.

March 5, 2010 8:28 am

Warm Al is in Norway, promoting its junk book. Gore effect in full swing.

Al Gore's Brother
March 5, 2010 8:32 am

Wow! And Al Gore is still claiming we are at some sort of tipping point. When will he learn to shut his pie hole? For every time he speaks of global warming, something like this happens. Rather ironic, isn’t it?

March 5, 2010 8:33 am

Iceland is green and Greenland is white – this Global warming is Worse Than We Thought – I’m Super serial!

Steve Goddard
March 5, 2010 8:34 am

LONDON, England (CNN) — Climate change is happening faster than previously predicted according to a new World Wildlife Fund report.
In Europe, ecosystems in the North and Baltic Sea are believed to be experiencing their warmest temperatures since records began.

March 5, 2010 8:35 am

Come on guys… that’s just the way Google Earth labels stuff. It doesn’t actually have to be accurate, it’s just a Google product.
Meanwhile, I want it on record… I don’t believe most “skeptics” take things like this as “signs” of anything. From what I can see, we all use these sorts of things to mock the warmists, who take anything remotely warm as “signs”.
It’s cold in the north. Always has been, always will be. It’s not wise to count on open seas in the north, especially not this time of year. Unfortunately, I now know many people who seem to believe there is hardly any ice left… sigh.

George E. Smith
March 5, 2010 8:36 am

“”” Bill Toland (07:57:32) :
I see that the map has managed to label Scotland as England.
Could you fix this? When I go abroad on holiday, most people I meet have only a vague idea where Scotland actually is. This will confuse them even further.
Scottie (07:59:41) :
In your map at the top of this piece, the country labelled “England” is in fact Scotland.
Just thought you’d like to know. “””
Well using the same standards you use that country labelled Sweden is actually Finland.
OK fair to gripe that the UK is NOT England (only).
It IS the first map of the World I have ever seen that is centered on Scotland; so take what you can get; while you can !
PS: Howcome I don’t see New Zealand anywhere on your map ? Well I guess we’ll have to settle for Zeeland, which is on your map.

March 5, 2010 8:38 am
dodgy geezer
March 5, 2010 8:42 am

“In your map at the top of this piece, the country labelled “England” is in fact Scotland…”
and the bit which is England is labelled ‘Copenhagen’.
I don’t know whether to be insulted or pleased….

Richard Heg
March 5, 2010 8:43 am

hunter (07:55:13) :
This is of course consistent with predictions for global warming/climate change/climate crisis.
Dont forget climate chaos/global weirding and so on

March 5, 2010 8:44 am

Here is the conundrum. People have been using heatwaves, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, etc… to implicate climate as changing. Despite the fact that there have always been heatwaves, typhoons, hurricanes, tornadoes, snow storms, etc.
Climate IS weather, or rather an almost consistent pattern of weather, with the emphasis on almost. Now add onto the fact that Climate is ALWAYS changing ( the Sahara was not always the Sahara ) throw into the mix a major change of land use due to human development over a short period of time and what are you left with?
I am angry at the term Climate Change to talk about something that should be changing.
Anyway just a rant… sorry if it was not terribly constructive. maybe what people mean is Rapid Climate Change… but if that is true I see no major evidence of this either.

March 5, 2010 8:45 am

Actually, Mr L it’s “it’s” not “its”. The apostrophe is for the contraction of “is” as in “It is”. The possessive “its” does not use an apostrophe.

George E. Smith
March 5, 2010 8:47 am

Well to me, the crux of the story, is that a nearly land locked large piece of water, that can hardly have arctic ocean currents or Gulf stream currents running around in it, does actually get cold enough (maybe <-2.5 deg C) to freeze.
They can't blame this on ice getting blown out of the arctic ocean or getting knocked off some nearby glacier by a 23 year old ice block.
It seems to me that the true story of freak ice events in the Arctic was the unprecedented but "robust" drop in ice coverage from 2004/5/6 to 2007, a one year anomaly; and not to be compared to a steady stream of significant recoveries since then, in 2008/9. Just so's you know that Weather is not Climate.

March 5, 2010 8:53 am

Put “United Kingdom” or even better, “British Isles” instead of England. Scots people do NOT like to be called English.

Keith Winterkorn
March 5, 2010 8:53 am

What phase is the moon in? Everybody is a bit tetchy.
The Scot’s are tetchy about England, the Danes do not want to be remembered for Copenhagen, and the Nitpickers are picking nits with abandon. Maybe all these near-Arctic folks are out watching the great recent Aurora displays too much and not getting enough sleep.

March 5, 2010 8:54 am

For a more detailed map of the ICE on the Baltic sea there is this
dual language Swedish-English PDF file.
We have had 3 months of real winter this year, the coldest winter since 1987

Mark Wagner
March 5, 2010 8:56 am

what sea ice? I was told it was all melting.
Obviously the big oil companies have gotten to you.

March 5, 2010 8:57 am

These ships are stuck between Finland and Sweden, most sail under Finnish flag, but your map omits our country altogether. It’s a travesty!

March 5, 2010 9:01 am

Unusually, WUWT wasn’t the first place I’ve heard a (this) story.
In the meantime all vessels have been freed again.
The following is the first reference I found after 10 seconds of googling:

March 5, 2010 9:01 am

England, Scotland, what’s the difference? 😉
Just kidding……

March 5, 2010 9:06 am

It’s pretty frozen over there. I wonder whether I should cancel the spring vacations in the Baltic Sea. Won’t it be too cold for swimming? 😉

March 5, 2010 9:16 am

Please edit the map. You have labeled the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” as “England”.
(United Kingdom refers to the union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland in the 17thC)

Daniel H
March 5, 2010 9:17 am

Anthony, I’ve created a map of the affected area using the latest satellite imagery from Cryosphere Today (March 4th) and information from a Swedish newspaper[1] which puts the location of the ships within the area of Norrtälje[2]. Please feel free to use the map I’ve created since it more accurately reflects the situation and shouldn’t upset our friends in Great Britain:

Graham Jay
March 5, 2010 9:26 am

@ JimK
Look again Jim “its” it is.

March 5, 2010 9:28 am

Can’t you people see what happened?
Due to the recent Chilean earthquake, the planet now spins faster. This has caused the surface to rotate out of sync with the atmospheric labeling layer, as seen on this satellite image.
Just wait a bit, the atmospheric drag will soon correct that.

March 5, 2010 9:29 am

Hey, is that where the missing 22,000 km2 from Antarctica ended up. Should fit in the Baltic with plenty of room to spare. Somebody should let Jane Ferrigno know that we have found her ice!

The ghost of Big Jim Cooley
March 5, 2010 9:30 am

Well, you amusingly got ‘England’ wrong, but at least there haven’t been any American comments about the phallic shape of Norway, Sweden and the Kola Peninsula.
[Reply: until now: there’s also Florida. -anon. mod.]
REPLY: The placement of the England label was due to Copenhagen pushing into England, and thanks to all the pedantic whining, I’ve added both to the map now. -A

March 5, 2010 9:32 am

” Luboš Motl (09:06:16) :
It’s pretty frozen over there. I wonder whether I should cancel the spring vacations in the Baltic Sea. Won’t it be too cold for swimming? 😉 ”
We are not offering seaside vacations this spring. Instead we invite you to:

Staffan D.
March 5, 2010 9:34 am

“…the Baltic incident is partly the result of gale-force winds which are compacting the ice”.
There has been no gales (> 32 mph) or storms (> 64 mph) lately, around Stockholm. But this is the coldest winter since at least 1986-1987. Since COP15 (Dec. 14) it has been freezing here…

Håkan B
March 5, 2010 10:02 am

Luboš Motl (09:06:16) :
Summer can be fine, but you’ll have to realize that we here in Stockholm live at the latitude of southern Greenland.

March 5, 2010 10:06 am

The Scottish and the Weather, Why the map needs correcting!
Cold Weather Scots
The Scots react differently to the cold weather than the English:
At 50°F
People in Southern England turn on the central heating
People in Edinburgh plant out bedding plants
Southerners shiver uncontrollably
Glaswegians sunbathe on the beach at Largs
Cars in the South of England refuse to start
People in Falkirk drive with their windows down
Southerners wear overcoats, gloves and woolly hats
Aberdonian men throw on a t-shirt; girls start wearing mini-skirts
Southerners begin to evacuate to the continent
People from Dundee swim in the River Tay at Broughty Ferry
Life in the South grinds to a halt
Inverness folk have the last BBQ before it gets cold
Life in the South ceases to exist
People in Dunfermline throw on a light jacket
Polar bears wonder if it’s worth carrying on
Boy Scouts in Oban start wearing their long trousers
Santa Claus abandons North Pole
People in Stirling put on their ‘long johns’
Alcohol freezes
Glaswegians get upset because all the pubs are shut
Microbial life starts to disappear
The cows in Dumfriesshire complain about farmers with cold hands
All atomic motion stops
Shetlanders stamp their feet and blow on their hands
Hell freezes over
Scotland will support England in the World cup

The OtherDan
March 5, 2010 10:07 am

“JonFrum (09:01:41) :
England, Scotland, what’s the difference? 😉
Just kidding……”
Mexico, US, what’s the difference?

P Gosselin
March 5, 2010 10:11 am

Arctic Ice has jumped to 14.2 million sq km. (I thought it would peak at 14M).
and DMI Arctic temps have dropped.

March 5, 2010 10:14 am

Anna (08:14:49) :
Google won’t tranlate the page. Can you tell me on who’s forecast model they sent the best Icebreaker to Antarctica?

March 5, 2010 10:15 am

If you want to know what the weather is, ask a Sailor and a Soldier, or a Marine; if you want to know what the weather’s going to be ask an Airman. If you want to know if people are worried about the weather, ask a Cop.

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