Russian Icebreakers Stuck in the Arctic Global Warming

Russian nuclear icebreaker "Arktika"

Russian nuclear icebreaker “Arktika”. By Abarinov (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t 1saveenergy – Two Russian icebreakers have become stuck in metre thick ice fields, on their return from a journey to escort supplies to Russia’s northernmost port.

Icebreakers make historic Arctic voyage, then get stuck in frozen sea on return journey

By The Siberian Times reporter 17 January 2017

Vessels could be marooned ‘for a week’ in East Siberian Sea after getting caught in thick ice.

Bulk carriers Sinegorsk and Johann Mahmastal made a successful midwinter cargo crossing from Arkhangelsk to Russia’s northernmost port of Pevek, Chukotka, escorted by icebreakers Kapitan Dranitsyn and Admiral Makarov.

It was the first such crossing since Soviet times, and the ships delivered supplies for the supplies for the world’s first floating heat and power plant to be assembled in Chukotka after a journey lasting from 14 December to 7 January.

The ease of the sailing is seen as a sign that climate warming in the Arctic can open up shopping lanes even in midwinter. But the climate remains unpredictable as the four vessels have discovered on their return route.

They are currently trapped by sudden thick ice around Chukotka’s northernmost cape Shelagsky, some 24 nautical miles from Pevek, in some of Russia’s most exposed waters.

Ruslan Nazarov, chief of Chukotka’s emergencies service, said: ‘The ice around Cape Shelagsky is at 10 points. The ice fields are more than one metre thick. The ice compression is strong and hummocks are higher than 2.5 metres.

Read more (good pictures): http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/n0847-icebreakers-make-historic-arctic-voyage-then-get-stuck-in-frozen-sea-on-return-journey/

Its interesting that this crossing hasn’t been attempted since soviet times – perhaps the risk of getting stuck in the ice is too high for this route to be a regular event.

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189 thoughts on “Russian Icebreakers Stuck in the Arctic Global Warming

  1. Waiting for that graph from Nick Stokes showing how much the sea ice has reduced because of my oil burning SUV use .

    • This is the very reason why, as the western world damages their energy generation catastrophically, the Russians have spent the last ten years building brand new nuclear power plants and nuclear powered ice breakers. The Russians know the truth.

      • Russian ice breakers are only pretending to be stuck in ice. It’s part of their attempts to bolster Trump and interfere in US domestic elections :0

      • http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/Arctic_sea_ice_up_from_record_low

        Autumn sea-ice thickness
        16 December 2013

        Measurements from ESA’s CryoSat satellite show that the volume of Arctic sea ice has significantly increased this autumn.

        The volume of ice measured this autumn is about 50% higher compared to last year.

        Funny, I don’t recall hearing about this from MSM alarmist propagandists like the Guardian. Plus they are running a 24h BS-othon of climate disinformation. I’ll have to send them the link.

      • Sounds oddly reminiscent of the 45% increase following the 2012 OMG min in ice extent.

        I guess mindless assumption that more open water leads to more melting just fell apart in the face of OBSERVATIONAL DATA.

        Tipping points and run away melting were naive hypotheses that don’t stand up to reality.

      • Also from the Cryosat post:

        “About 90% of the increase is due to growth of multiyear ice – which survives through more than one summer without melting – with only 10% growth of first year ice. Thick, multiyear ice indicates healthy Arctic sea-ice cover. “

      • oops that WAS 2013. Seems very hard to find the current data from Cryosat, maybe it is not ‘politically correct’.

      • http://www.cpom.org/lowest-early-winter-sea-ice-growth-on-record/

        CPOM are currently only reporting November at 10,500 cubic km , of course they prefer to emphasise that ice growth is 10% slower than “usual”.

        However, CryoSat shows that the ice was thicker at the end of summer than in most other years – 116 cm, on average – and so there was substantially more ice than in two other years (2011 and 2012). Thicker ice can occur if melting is lower, or if snowfall or floe-compaction is higher.

        “A complete assessment of 2016 sea ice conditions will be available from CPOM in the coming weeks.”

      • Greg, what is your point? Why link to a 2013 article?
        From about the same time of year, the most recent posts by the same spource (CryoSat) are:
        http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/Arctic_freeze_slows_down
        “ESA’s CryoSat satellite has found that the Arctic has one of the lowest volumes of sea ice of any November, matching record lows in 2011 and 2012. Early winter growth of ice in the Arctic has been about 10% lower than usual.”
        And
        http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/CryoSat/Satellites_track_variations_in_Antarctica_s_glacial_retreat
        “The glaciers flowing into the Amundsen Sea have been drastically losing ice, likely due to rising sea temperatures recorded around Antarctica in recent decades.”

      • Hey Greg, the situation changed a lot since 2013…

        Now

        Then

        And 2012 was a record low, which is why 2013 recovery to ‘normal’ was such a big percentage…

        The ice is at a record low in extent, area and mass.

        The oldest ice has gone… there’s a massice storm raging up there right now and the ice is breaking up and even melting.

      • “Griff January 20, 2017 at 4:08 am”

        According to some alarmists, the Arctic was supposed to be totally ice free in 2013.

      • Now it’s la Niña 2.

        Next year that’s lost and gone – happy new el Niño. For 5 ys. min.

        Hans

      • We have decommissioned icebreakers while Russia has built new and refitted older ones. And then there is Boaty McBoatface, more a research ship than a dedicated icebreaker, but at least someone on our side is trying!

  2. Not surprising, given the very cold conditions in Siberia, and the huge storms that have been breaking pu and compressing ice. Caleb’s blog (Sunrise Swansong) has been documenting the conditions, and although most people have been focused on the extent numbers, DMI is reporting ice volume in line with previous years, even though extent is lower – only means one thing – thicker ice.

    • Another big low is currently sitting on the Pole, squandering the planet’s heat. It also shoves the ice around.

      The huge new Russian icebreakers can crunch through static ice with surprising ease, but when the ice is moving it can pinch in from either side and impede progress. I think they prefer to wait for the situation to quiet down to fighting moving ice.

      At its peak the current low had a central pressure down to 958 mb and covered a large part of the Arctic Sea with 20-40 knot winds. Now it is fading. Likely the gales smashed, and split apart, and piled together, the ice in places, exposing open waters to bitter winds with leads, and then closing the leads and building the “hummocks” (pressure ridges) that the Russians describe as being “higher than 2.5 metres.” (That may mean the ice is 7 feet thick, which is no big deal, but I think it means 7 feet of the ridge sticks above the waterline, which would mean, with 9/10th of an iceberg under water, the ice goes downward 63 feet…wouldn’t it?)

      The big low is fueled by less-cold air, so of course Alarmists will focus on how “warm” it is (though temperatures are still cold enough to freeze salt water.) They will focus on the leads and not the pressure ridges. They will focus on “extent” and not “volume.” And, lastly, they will focus on CO2 and not the “Quiet Sun.”

      Ho hum. Life as usual.

      • What the Warmists simply don’t get is that ‘high’ temperatures in the Arctic Winter signify ‘cooling’.
        Their slender grasp of science does them no favours!

      • Charles, yes and low temperatures signify warming. That is why I cook in the fridge and store my milk in the oven.

      • Very Funny. But actually warm air does go where it is cold, and cold air goes where it is warm. Look at any weather map.

        I think what is most counter-intuitive, at first, is that the Quiet Sun can make it warmer. But less energy makes less wind, and less Trade Winds cause an El Nino, and an El Nino makes it warmer.

        A lot of things in nature seem counter-intuitive, at first.

      • Caleb you are right to highlight the storm – one of a series of storms which have been running through the arctic this winter.

        what you fail to realise is those storms have been bringing in warm, moist air and clouds and so the air stays warm, the heat does not leak out to space and the ice do not freeze/thicken (the snow deposited also insulates the ice and prevents it thickening from bottom freezing)

      • Griff,

        “Warm” is -15C. In 7 days the airmass will be -30C. Where did the heat go?

        Snow does insulate the ice, but winds of 40 knots tends to crack the ice, and that changes the equation.

      • Caleb, yes my remark was flippant. Higher temperatures in one part of the system does mean there is more heat loss from that part. If this does represent more heat loss from the system as a whole there are only two conclusions. Either the system is warming, hence higher heat loss at equilibrium, or the system is cooling because heat is being lost. The observation of greater heat loss from the one art of the system cannot tell us which. The observation that each year is hotter than the last does indicate that the system is not cooling.

      • An illusion that darkness has a warming effect can be generated when a warm air mass is transported north. For example in my neighborhood it can be below freezing at sunset and then I’ll see temperatures rise as it clouds up and the wind swings to the south. So I could think the dark generated heat, or the clouds generated heat. In fact the sun did it, further south during the day, and the air-mass is losing heat the entire time it heads north at night, though clouds may slow the rate of loss (as water is the greatest greenhouse gas.)

        At the North Pole there is now no day, so the loss of heat is constant, with the only variable clouds. Then, even when the sun is first up, it is so low that even 24-hour-a-day sunlight can’t do more than slow the heat-loss. As I recall, there are only 6 weeks a year when the sun is high enough at the Pole for there to be a net gain in energy, with the 24-hour-a-day sunshine, and that is when the surface melt occurs. The other 46 weeks any heat transported to the Pole is heat the planet is going to lose.

      • Storms bringing warm air to the pole is proof that the entire planet is warming?
        Sheesh Griff, can you get any more desperate.
        And yes, warmth that moves to the pole escapes to space much more easily than it can any other place on the planet. So yes, energy moving to the pole means that more heat is being lost to space.

      • Not exactly the way iceberg sizing goes, but close enough. The other issue is that pressure ridges are supported by the surrounding ice much like a bridge span, which isn’t supported by buoyancy. But, pressure ridges as they form are pushed downwards (more so due to gravity) as well as upwards.

      • we all know what happened to arctic sea ice after a big storm in summer 2012. i think similar occurring in winter may have a greater effect. i am really interested to see when max extent occurs this winter.

      • A bit chilly,

        I am remembering that summer of 2013 a lot. It looked all the world like we’d set a record minimum in April, but then the sea-ice astonished even Skeptics with its refusal to melt.

        I enjoyed that summer, and how all (myself included) were baffled, and the following January wrote something called “Fun With Sea-Ice” about my experience, and Anthony was kind enough to print it:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/01/25/a-retrospective-fun-with-sea-ice/

      • That’s really interesting Caleb. Remember when the extent seemed ‘normal’ and they focused on volume? Now, based on your findings, the volume is ‘normal’ but they are focused on extent.

        I think that ‘Normal’ truly is “always changing”.

      • Jeff in Calgary,

        Or perhaps we will look back and think how nice and quiet it was before the “Quiet Sun”turned “Always changing” into “Changing like crazy.”

        I think you hit the nail on the head when you said change is normal. One of the oddest aspects of Alarmists is their strange belief there was no change before we invented the automobile.

        A lack of change, for most of us, means we are flat-lining. IE: Life is over; we are dead.

        The “Quiet Sun” may bring about some wild and very interesting changes. The Alarmists will petulantly insist the sun has no effect, and CO2 is to blame. The thing to do will be to hold them to their words, “Global Warming,” and then confront them with pictures of a foot of snow on the Sahara.

    • They will be fine until the vodka runs out. They will be put on short-rations soon.

      During and soon after the Soviet era, it was not uncommon for Russian men to consume up to 5 (1-litre) bottles of vodka per day. I saw one guy drink 3 bottles during the evening at my home circa 1996, and he probably had 2 previously during the working day.

      These guys typically die at about 50 from cirrhosis.

  3. “The myths and legends of an easy-to-navigate, ice-free Arctic must be busted,” said Captain Snider. “Not to discount global climate change, but an ice-free Arctic is not happening yet – ice-free summers, maybe – but an ice-free Arctic is a long way down the road. It could be in the middle or latter part of this century.” The climate models are not exact, and there are at least five different models. The challenge to shippers is to understand that you will encounter ice somewhere along the way. “You could call it the wild west of the Arctic,” he said. “What mariners expect in the rest of the world is not yet available in the Arctic.”

    http://www.canadiansailings.ca/?p=9215

    • If by “ice free Summers” he means some certain places that do not have much ice for a few weeks at the end of August and Early September, then I agree with him.

      • “ice free” is an intentional misquote of IPCC’s “nearly ice free” meaning <10^6 km^2

        Even that is just not going to happen in our life times since even the current OMG summer min is now just the same as it was 10 years ago. Not going anywhere fast.

        Also increased since 2012. More likely to rise in the near future than decline further.

      • Hang on there…

        It now means that the Beaufort and Chuckchi have extended periods when they are ice free well outside those limits, that the NW passage is annually open and that the Kara Sea, Svalbard and Bering straits are ice free for large parts of the winter.

        No ice around Svalbard and the Kara is clear right now…

      • “It now means …”

        What was it before (now)? When did it change? Where do find confirmation of your given definition? Where do I find the definition of what “ice free” was before (now)?

    • The climate models are not exact, and there are at least five different models.

      That can’t be right, the science is settled.

      • You seem to think that the word settled means that all the models must be in complete agreement. That is not true. If I ask 5 different geologists to build models indicating how much fracking is going to increase the chance of an earthquake, and I get estimates ranging from 20% to 50%, that doesn’t mean my hypothesis is wrong.

      • marl said: “Models prove nothing.”

        Right, so the way that Boeing designs airplanes, and NASA satellites, is all wrong.

      • Chris commented: “…Right, so the way that Boeing designs airplanes, and NASA satellites, is all wrong….”

        Even Boeing tests airplanes and NASA tests satellite components after the finite element modeling has given them a starting point. The proof is in the testing and observation, not the modeling. Models prove nothing.

      • I think 2hotel9 you are thinking of the comparison between apples and road apples ( the stuff horses leave behind) . Both have the word apple in it, but I doubt you’ll be eating road apples. Something for flies and maggots. How do I really feel about the current state of climate change and those that support it ?

  4. Its forgotten, or perhaps simply ignored by the warmest lobby that the Arctic is a sea, and that the state of the ice, both amount and thickness is determined by the wind just as much as the snow fall. But of course one should never let the facts get in the way of a good story, especially as gullible world governments, Western politicians of course, believe these fairy tales and lots of the taxpayers money goes to the persons telling the best one.

    Perhaps the soon to be President Trump’s stated intensions regarding this giant sized hoex will cause other Western countries politicians to get rid of their similar climate schemes, then with finally much cheaper energy the world will recover from the downturn initially caused by the Wall Street driven Global Financial Crises.

    Michael.

    • Unfortunately, some of Trump’s appointees have reversed themselves as sceptics and are now saying that global warming may be caused by man.

      • Gotta get through senate. Just gotta get confirmed. A Good strategy.

        The GOP senators do not want to have the added stress on their staffs fielding phone calls, faxes, sit-ins other econutter harrassments if they are having support and vote an openly “climate d3ni3r”.

      • If you listen carefully to the exact words, they are not saying much.
        Stuff like “Climate change is real”
        Check…the climate does change.
        “Some of it is caused by man”
        Check… UHI, changes in land use, Chinese smog, some small amount of warming from CO2 may have happened.
        ” We have to determine what is actually happening”
        Check…we sure do.
        I am not worried.
        Although I see no need for any Kabuki dancing…they only need 51 votes for any of them…Dems can’t stop a dang one of them, unless I am missing something.

      • Menicholas, the filibuster is still in effect for cabinet nominees.
        Dems have enough votes to mount a filibuster.

  5. “Paranoid politics almost never achieves its goal. The obvious prejudices, hyperbole, rhetoric, and shrillness give it away.

    Russians know that. They have always played American sentiment like a cello.

    • Republicans in the past have often acted the part of the “loyal opposition” and avoided acrimonious debate in order to appear sweet and kind to the Democrats. Democrats are the disloyal opposition who scream at and vilify everything a Republican does; civility never enters their minds, let alone their actions. The main-stream press is the same way. If the Dems had won the November election, we would see a sweet, gentle and “loyal opposition” because the defeated Republicans would automatically assume that role. I have just endured eight years of waiting for a Republican with a backbone to make an appearance; perhaps, in the person of Trump, one has.

    • I guess it’s safe to say that Trump’s not “on board” with Al Gore, but any additional ice formation is likely attributable to the cold reception the progressives are giving the new POTUS.

  6. 2008 ClimateGate email
    precursor to warmist “no debates” policy (because they know they’ll lose!)
    from: Gabi Hegerl to: Phil Jones

    Hi Phil, I managed to back myself into a debate after all and am agonizing over it. Pat Michaels wants to go after the historical context ie a ice free arctic not being unusual. should I just fall ill? do you know about ice free arctic in paleoclimatic context? do we have arctic proxies? Gabi http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2012/01/climatologist-considers-faking-sick.html

    Lol, as maybe the Russians started to believe the Fake News propaganda that the Arctic ice is melting away right now … in the middle of winter.

  7. … and interesting that evidently they did make the crossing in Soviet times … when times were supposedly colder. Dang that pesky data getting in the way of the alarmist message ;)

  8. But, But ….. It was the warmest year EVAH!
    And…. And the Polli bears have nooooo ice to hunt on!! Or baby seals to eat!!!

  9. This could be a bigger setback to the notion of Arctic shipping than one might imagine. The shipping business is heavily leveraged with insurance, and if this incident gets a few actuarials to re-sharpen their pencils it might be a warm day in Minsk before the cargo season goes much beyond July to October.

    • Mark from ye Midwest, eh? What do ye know about ye olde shippin’ insurance, ye landlubber?

      Just joking. Good point.

    • It is rarely an insurance issue.

      The issue is a commercial one, namely delay and the fact that time is money. If a voyage normally takes 10 days and the vessel’s daily hire rate is say $20,000, then the expected use of the vessel is say $200,000 (plus other operating costs, fuel etc and profits) and this expectation forms the basis of the contract price. If the vessel gets stuck in ice, so the voyage takes 20 days, one of the parties (and this depends upon the terms of the contract) will bear the cost of the delay.

  10. Unpredictable states of ice formation is evidence of a chaotic system (i.e. incompletely or insufficiently characterized and unwieldy). Perhaps the scientific frame is too large in time and space.

    The Profits warn that we will suffer a catastrophe with a 2 degree temperature swing therefore we should send them money… and, for good measure, buy more mittens.

  11. Eric:
    “Lol, as maybe the Russians started to believe the Fake News propaganda that the Arctic ice is melting away right now … in the middle of winter.”

    I had the pleasure of going aboard a Soviet “research” ship one time. Enough to know the Russian mindset. “We are crazy. We have the equipment (operable condition optional). We are now going anywhere”.

  12. I was reading elsewhere, and ran into a quote that instantly put me in mind of the climate science fight. Now at first glance it may not be obvious, but consider this -it’s a story which at its heart is all about how to interpret statistical information.

    I was reading Nate Silver’s latest post mortem on polls and the election. He is a very good statistician, and even though he is often accused of being biased, I believe he honestly tries to do the best job possible with the numbers. He was criticized greatly by partisans just before the election for writing that Trump had a 35% chance of winning, while outfits like HuffPo were claiming Clinton was a 98% lock. Anyway, his thoughts are quite insightful.

    His piece at https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-real-story-of-2016/ makes the case that the raw numbers were not actually all that far off, and the final results overall were well within the range of error of the measurement. So, he makes the point that the polls, in fact, were *not* off by any more than usual; it was the interpretation of the polls that was so catastrophically wrong. And his explanation as to why that happened?

    “They (…) suggest there are real shortcomings in how American politics are covered, including pervasive groupthink among media elites, (…), a lack of analytical rigor, a failure to appreciate uncertainty, a sluggishness to self-correct when new evidence contradicts pre-existing beliefs, and a narrow viewpoint that lacks perspective.”

    Anything in that list sound familiar?

    • “including pervasive groupthink among media elites”

      Oh, yeah, there is definitely that. And they aren’t the only ones. There is a lot of groupthinking going on in this old world.

    • The transitive property allowing those to reapply these findings by Nate Silver from politics to climate science assumes these shortcomings can be overcome. History shows that these shortcomings are intractable under the liberal mindset.

    • Nate Silver is bleeping good as a prognosticator. See his Twitter Tweet May 10th, 2016…

      Reminder: Cubs will win the World Series and, in exchange, President Trump will be elected 8 days later.

      “ThatRoyalsGuy” replies that these events are probably covered somewhere in Revelations.

  13. I think you would have to be a special kind of ridiculous to believe that any amount of warming is going to result in an ice-free arctic. The pole points away from the sun for six months out of the year, and the geometry of the planet just won’t allow it.

    • Yup.
      Think of how fast it gets cold even near the tropics if the air is very dry, just in a single night?
      Six to eight hours is plenty of time for air to cool to the dew point.

      • I wonder if the sea ice deficit we are seeing is the effect of more tropospheric moisture in the high latitudes resulting from warm SSTs. Water has even made it to the stratosphere enough to produce increased PSCs and NLCs. Clouds and rain have to have had a melting effect in concert with the warm ocean.

    • The pole points away from the sun for six months out of the year, …

      Are we to infer that “the pole” points toward the sun for six months?
      It is not too wrong to say something, such as, the Northern Hemisphere tilts in the direction of the Sun for 6 weeks (+ or -) during June & July. However, in March & April, or September & October, Earth’s axis is rather neutral with respect to the Sun.
      Neither Pole ever points toward the Sun.
      I’ve frequently explained these things to young (and not so young) folks. One has to be very careful with the words used or confusion results. Once a concept is presented incorrectly it becomes difficult to recover.

      • Pointing “towards” something can mean many things. Since it is basically daylight for 90 days within the respective polar circles, it is not unreasonable to point out the obvious that the pole being lit up is pointing “towards” the sun. Is it high noon for that long day? No.

      • also at the poles even on the long days the sun doesnt “cross” the sky it “circles” the sky highest on the longest day and a bit lower each day after for 6 months

      • Fact is, if you travel away from the pole then you inevitably reach a point where ‘winter’ no longer prevails throughout the year but prevails for only 364 days. So what? This point will move both north and south as the climate varies naturally.

        Whether a certain location is ice-free for 0, or 1, or 10, or more days per year is essentially unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Just as it doesn’t really matter if Punxsutawney Phil appears on Feb 1st, or Feb 2nd, or Feb 3rd. It is only humans who imagine that it has any special significance.

      • I am about to fly over the North Pole again. I will look down to see that is happening, maybe I will see 4 dead polar bears floating and calculate the impact of this winter storm on their kind’s overall chances of survival. Could make for an influential publication.

        As the outside air temperature is also displayed on the screen I will note any changes from previous flights were it was consistently -60C. It is supposedly 15C warmer this year so I will report if it is -45C instead.

        It is interesting how ‘ice free’ changes its meaning as the prognostications fail one by one. The Arctic ocean was ice-free all around Greenland 1000 years ago and 6000 years go. I can’t see that much has changed in the past 6000 years except that circumnavigation of Greenland is impossible now, meaning it is a lot colder in summer.

        The failure by the Russians to easily deliver parts in mid-winter is proof only that they took a chance and it didn’t work out very well. I am sure no catastrophe awaits them. It is just another warmish winter, except on Asian land where it has been brutally cold since early October.

        I see that the air quality in Ulaanbaatar is worse this winter than last. I asked about why and was told that while it has been 20C below normal the real issue is there wind speeds have been really low. Low wind, low cloud cover, massive cooling. Low wind, low dispersion of domestic hydronic heater smoke.

        With the Arctic storm churning the ice around it exposes the sea to the dark sky and Bob’s-your-uncle, major heat loss that would not occur if there had been an insulating cap of ice. If it stays stormy all winter the spring melt will be held back. Let’s watch and see.

    • There is a thing called ocean currents, they move water around, including moving warm water to the Arctic. It’s the very reason that Britain and parts of Europe are 5C warmer than they should be, based on their latitude.

    • I’m with you, what ice? The story is that never has there been so much open warm water at the pole. This escapade seems to resemble the boat that had to be rescued from the antarctic sea ice a while back. Overconfident mariners who think they know the weather trends.

      • Pop,
        That is unfair to mariners, or on that occasion anyway. The Master of the vessel was only too aware of the problem, it was the scientists who were away on the ice who refused to go back to the ship when ordered to do so who caused the problem. If they had done as they were asked the vessel would not have been trapped.

  14. CAGW alarmists don’t seem to understand that low sea ice extents actually lead to more Arctic ocean COOLING because more heat once trapped under ice is being blown out to space…

    Once the AMO enters its 30-year cool cycle from 2019, I think we’ll see Arctic sea ice extents steadily increase for 30 years…

  15. Meanwhile, down at the Antarctic, USCG icebreaker Polar Star had to punch a 60 mile channel through heavy ice to McMurdo Station, instead of the usual 12 miles. They had prepared for the possibility of heavy ice, and possibly being stuck, as I had read elsewhere they had taken on extra provisions in the event the ship broke down and needed to winter over. Unlike the Russians, we only have one heavy icebreaker.
    http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2913053/

  16. I had to giggle at the typo “opening up shopping lanes”.
    Sounds like Wal-Mart made it to Russia.

  17. If they can hold on there is some more Arctic warming (courtesy of recent solar events) forecast to be due in their area around mid-February.

      • I had to google that to find out what you’re talking about, Tom. For the other folks as ignorant as me:

        “GFS” is “Global Forecast System

        “10 hPa” refers to atmospheric pressure, which implies altitude. “hPa” is another name for millibar (mb). The average atmospheric pressure at sea level is just over 1 bar, or 1000 mb. (Atmospheric pressure at 110 meters altitude averages just about exactly 1000 mb.) So 10 hPa is about 1/100 of sea-level pressure, which means it’s at about 19 miles altitude.

      • Yes Dave,
        I follow a number of weather forecasting channels and some often look at this information at this time of year as it tends to signal rapid variation in the jet stream and upper atmosphere Arctic warming caused by variations in solar winds. Currently as there has been a large solar hole. This hole has been cyclically coming to face the earth about every 28 days or so since about October, showering the earth in higher than normal solar wind.

  18. According to the caretaker where my sail boat is docked on the Columbia River in Washington State, the boat basin is iced over to the part of the river where the current is stronger.

    This only the second time that I have needed to worry about ice in more than 20 years.

    • Our “cold” this year has not been very severe but the length of time it has stayed cold has been more than most winters. Many water pipes and such are known to have burst and others will be found as temps warm. The ice on trees, roads, and wires is another interesting story.

  19. Interesting story, but wrong photo. The two stuck icebreakers are both non-nuclear vessels, which, though large and powerful, are nevertheless smaller and less powerful than the pictured nuclear icebreaker, “Arktika.”

    • That for sharing John. I am experiencing the ‘cold’ via the internet. It is better to be over prepared and have a plan B.

      Depending on electricity is a trap because of ‘ice on trees’. Utilities are quick to repair downed power lines. When the power comes back on, frozen pipes thaw out and flooding results in lots of damage.

  20. Well, hell–Putin should drop the price of oil and send promo gas shipments to Europe to get that ice-thawing CO2 up to snuff.

    Have carbon will burn.

  21. These Russian icebreakers are the bad boys of ice-breaking, nuclear-powered behemoths rated for over 2.5m ice thickness. In soviet times a captain who so embarrassed the USSR by letting a piddling 1m ice sheet stop him would find himself relocated to Siberia. Pour encourager les autres.

    Oh, wait… they’re already in Siberia. Never mind.

    • Actually ..not these ones that are stuck…..

      Both the “Kapitan Dranitsyn” and the “Admiral Makarov” are diesel powered.

      The ship pictured is one the new 2016 nuclear powered vessel.. as you say.. big fellas !!!

    • See above. I can only get here at lunch and the odd coffee break -I can’t camp here like some people.

      In short, this is a nonsense story…

      This winter sees less ice and thinner ice and more broken ice than ever before in the arctic, plus a continued high temp anomaly and a series of storms.

      It for sure ain’t trapping these vessels due to a change to colder conditions/more ice

      • Griff, I agree that this is a nonsense story. Stuff happens, and this can occur with an incredibly significant amount of sea ice, or very little that hits an ice-breaker in a “perfect storm”, so to speak.

      • Yes Griff
        Icebreakers always get stuck in non-existent ice I guess they were not made to travel in just water. The icebreakers would probably work better if there was more ice /sarc

  22. Joined up thinking-

    “It was the first such crossing since Soviet times”

    “The ease of the sailing is seen as a sign that climate warming in the Arctic can open up shipping lanes even in midwinter”

  23. Couldn’t the new president send Al Gore and Michael Mann on a four year fact finding mission to the Arctic?

    Today (20th) is my birthday and Mr Trump is going to be inaugurated – sometimes your birthdays see all good things come at once!

  24. Ice breakers break the ice. They brake the ice at least in two pieces and because they are mostly not operating in the middle of the Arctic, they are ‘cutting the edges’. As soon as the connection with the ‘mass’ of all the floating ice is lost, the smaller pieces are able to float away to warmer regions – and melt – some wind from the North is enough. In this way ice breakers are promoting ice melt.

    In the future probably a rising float of (ever stronger) ice breakers will cut the ice in many pieces. Like big storms do with thin ice. The ice floating away will diminish the ice content of the Arctic. Probably ‘global warming’ will be blamed.

  25. Wot no Griff!

    It’s a pity ‘Northabout’ with its enormous diesel engine and fuel tanks isn’t around to help out.

    • The ship which sailed completely through the NW passage and wasn’t ice bound anywhere?

      Tell me which years before 2000 the NW passage was completely open and ice free to yachts and cruise liners, for a period of a decade…

      • ‘… NW passage was completely open and ice free to yachts and cruise liners, for a period of a decade…’

        Got some proof of that ‘period of a decade’? Names of cruise liners passing through each year from 2006 onwards please.

        1662 perhaps

        15 Jan 1662
        Samuel Pepys
        fast day ordered by the Parliament, to pray for more seasonable weather; it having hitherto been summer weather, that it is, both as to warmth and every other thing, just as if it were the middle of May or June, which do threaten a plague (as all men think) to follow, for so it was almost the last winter; and the whole year after hath been a very sickly time to this day

        about 1816 perhaps at least Royal Socity thought so

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/20/historic-variation-in-arctic-ice/

      • Nigel S January 20, 2017 at 5:56 am
        ‘… NW passage was completely open and ice free to yachts and cruise liners, for a period of a decade…’

        Got some proof of that ‘period of a decade’? Names of cruise liners passing through each year from 2006 onwards please.

        Try Hanseatic and Bremen (Hapag-Lloyd Cruises).

      • Rick January 20, 2017 at 5:39 am
        What decade are you talking about? Ice conditions in the Arctic in 2013 were so bad that many North-west Passage quests were halted or turned back.

        But these guys still made it:

        190 Anna (10∙5 m yawl)
        191 Arktika (15 m sloop)
        192 Bremen (ice-strengthened ship)
        193 d’Acalèphe (13∙9 yacht)
        194 Dodo’s Delight (10∙1 m yacht)
        195 Hanse Explorer (48 m motor yacht)
        196 Hanseatic (ice-strengthened ship)
        197 Isatis (14∙2 m yacht)
        198 La Belle Epoque (12∙8 m yacht)
        199 Lady M II (50 m motor yacht)
        200 Le Soléal (cruise vessel)
        201 Libellule (14∙3 m catamaran)
        202 Michaela Rose (49∙4 m motor yacht)
        203 Nordic Orion (ice-strengthened bulk cargo vessel)
        204 Octopus (128 m motor yacht)
        205 Perd pas le Nord (15∙2 m yacht)
        206 Polar Bound5 (14∙6 m motor boat)
        207 Traversay III (13∙7 m yacht)

      • Rick January 20, 2017 at 5:39 am
        What decade are you talking about? Ice conditions in the Arctic in 2013 were so bad that many North-west Passage quests were halted or turned back.

        I posted a list of the 18 successful transits that year but for some reason it wasn’t accepted.

      • Griff has been corrected on this lie several times. He keeps repeating it because the narrative is more important to him than reality.

      • ‘Hanseatic’ went through in 2010, in 2011 they offered cruises in part of NW passage so not quite ‘a period of a decade…’ and not actually passing through each year from 2006 (as requested).

        ‘For the first time ever, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises offers guests to discover the fascination of the Arctic and the Northwest Passage on a shorter, 19-day cruise with MS HANSEATIC. Sailing through a smaller portion of the Northwest Passage, guests will follow the traces of Amundsen and Franklin and explore the ice coast of Greenland as well as the untouched island world in the north of Canada.’

      • ‘The ship which sailed completely through the NW passage and wasn’t ice bound anywhere?’

        Here’s some ice they encountered, there was plenty as you know. Fair play to them for making it through but it was a close run thing despite lots of modern technology and refueling stops. You tried describing her as a ‘tiny yacht’ at the time until the size, engine power, fuel capacity and refueling stops were noted. People here have pretty much spotted your MO.

        http://polarocean.co.uk/bigger-bits-can-see-radar-i-just-come-off-watch-brain-frazzled-probably-radar-concentration-need-intense/

      • Nigel S January 20, 2017 at 6:47 am
        ‘Hanseatic’ went through in 2010, in 2011 they offered cruises in part of NW passage so not quite ‘a period of a decade…’ and not actually passing through each year from 2006 (as requested).

        Hanseatic went through in 96, 97, 98, 00, 02, 07, 09, 10, 12, 13
        Bremen in 03, 06, 08, 09, 11,13
        L’Austral in 14
        Silver Explorer in 14
        Le Boreal in 15
        Le Soleal in 15

      • Nigel S January 20, 2017 at 7:37 am
        ‘The ship which sailed completely through the NW passage and wasn’t ice bound anywhere?’

        Here’s some ice they encountered, there was plenty as you know. Fair play to them for making it through but it was a close run thing despite lots of modern technology and refueling stops.

        Well they did make a little tough on themselves by insisting on sailing the NE passage first!

      • The NW passage has each year been open and ice free to any class of ship without icebreaker assistance in the ten years up to 2016.

        you just have to google NW passage open and the year or similar to prove it.

      • “The NW passage has each year been open and ice free to any class of ship without icebreaker assistance in the ten years up to 2016”
        In 2013 Canadian Ice breakers opened the Bellot Straight to allow ships to pass through. Without their assistance the North-west passage was essentially closed for that year. You know that so why do you continue with your story?

      • Phil. January 20, 2017 at 7:38 am

        Phil, thanks interesting list, not really one for big boat cruising myself (even if ice strengthened), I prefer my 21 foot, 1936, gaff rigged 4 tonner (sans engine). Looks like a 20 year pause there from your dates (1996 onwards)!

      • Larsen 1944. His route was closed off this year.

        And the main NW passage through McClure Strait, was also closed this year, blocked solid

      • Nigel S January 20, 2017 at 1:17 pm
        Phil. January 20, 2017 at 7:38 am

        Phil, thanks interesting list, not really one for big boat cruising myself (even if ice strengthened), I prefer my 21 foot, 1936, gaff rigged 4 tonner (sans engine). Looks like a 20 year pause there from your dates (1996 onwards)!

        Not sure what you mean by a ‘pause’ in this context?

  26. Projects like this are well researched. I’m sure the global cooling about to occur was a factor. Probabilities, possibilities all have to be anticipated, eggs in various baskets. Wisdom for survival. Look for the facts, the truth. Russia, Putin doing a good job all things considered. USA creating their own (un)truths to make money, fcuk the truth attitude. Blind.

    • You are apparently unaware that 4.3 million tons of cargo went through the northern sea route 1933-39. The amount decreased to a low of 144 000 tons in 1942 (when however two destroyers went through from the Pacific to Murmansk, pretty remarkable considering how fragile destroyers were at that time). By 1945 cargo volume was back up to 440 000 tons.
      During the 30’s the sailing period in the western Arctic increased from 45 to 107 days and in the Eastern Arctic from 30 to 79 days.

      That site is a big con.

    • Have you apologised to Doctor Cockcroft for lying about her professional qualifications to try to discredit her, you unpleasant, mendacious little propagandist?

    • yes, jim and i have a bet on arctic sea ice out to 2022 griff .£1000 to the charity of the winners choice.

    • Jim Hunt is probably one of the biggest CON men on Arctic sea ice there has ever been.

      No wonder you are so easily CONNED by his lies and deceitful mis-information.

      It certainly is a BIG CON of a web site.

  27. I don’t fear for the crews. ’24 nautical miles from Pevek,’ and ice thick enough to trap an icebreaker, means they can be reached by snowmobile in an hour.

    “Vessels could be marooned ‘for a week’”

    Don’t know how they know that, but it means this is just a temporary problem, no big deal.

  28. More Klingons. The ice won’t release the ships? (Cue Twilight Zone theme – yeah, I know, mixed metaphors. Oh Well!

  29. “But the climate remains unpredictable as the four vessels have discovered on their return route.”

    Yes, the climate does remain unpredictable. But it was not the climate that got them stuck in the ice. It was the unpredictable weather. Accurate forecasting beyond a couple of days is still not possible.

  30. But, but, but, that CAN’T be ice! The ice is disappearing fast, and it will all be gone by next week!!

  31. Obama promised consequences for the “hacking”.

    This must be part of it; that red line along the bottom of the ship is Obama’s. Since the weather (and climate) is so easy to manipulate Obama increased the ice thickness and flow in this specific region.

    • 90 % of a compression ridge is “root” under water. A 2,5 meter high ridge is probably impassable even for a nuclear icebreaker.
      The effects of a storm on ice in summer and winter are very different. In summer when the ice is soft and melting it fragments the ice and accelerates melting. In winter it compacts the ice and can be extremely dangerous since ice pressure can destroy any ship ever built (except Nansen’s Fram which was specially constructed to be lifted by ice-press instead of being crushed). However nobody builds like that now since it had pretty awful sea-keeping characteristics in open water.

  32. We must also understand that those russian icebreakers are navigating a rather different Arctic than the politically correct one of Griff et al. One just has to look at a Russian ice chart to understand the differences:

    Red is multi-year ice.

    • Red (brown on my screen) is ice that’s survived one summer’s melt, multiyear ice is usually defined as ice that has survived more than one summer.

    • Actually no one here has claimed ships can’t get through “northwest passage”, it is generally considered a crap shoot depending on your start point and how early/late in the thaw season it is. I have known men who served in USCG and USAF and served in the arctic, Alaska, Canadian Arctic and Greenland during the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and they had many very interesting stories of making ice passages. Some scary as hell and others funny, most cold and boring. I don’t see the appeal of paying for it, then again I don’t get the whole cruise thing. I’m on a boat in open water for two weeks I am fishing off that son of a b*tch.

  33. Q: What’s the difference between a climate model and a thought experiment?
    A: Other than speed and the illusion of credibility provided by the patina of expensive technology, there is none.

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