More Polar Scientists Stuck in the Ice

Icebreaker Laurence M Gould

Icebreaker Laurence M Gould. Photo taken by Remi Jouan 2006 source Wikimedia

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart / James Delingpole – US scientists appealed to Argentina for help when the US icebreaker Laurence M Gould failed to break through the ice.

American scientists rescued from icebound Antarctic island


March 12, 2018

A group of American scientists was rescued from an island off Antarctica’s coast after ice prevented a U.S. Antarctic Program research vessel from reaching them.

The four U.S. scientists and a support staff member conducting research on Antarctica’s Joinville Island were airlifted by helicopter Sunday from an icebreaker ship dispatched by Argentina, said the National Science Foundation, which funds and manages the Antarctic program.

Argentina sent the icebreaker ship after receiving a request for assistance on Friday, the country’s foreign ministry said Saturday. The Argentine ship has helicopters able to reach the group’s camp “regardless of the ice conditions,” the National Science Foundation, a U.S. government agency, said.

Read more:–abc-news-topstories.html

No doubt in a few decades helicopter rescues of scientists stuck in the global warming will be a thing of the past.

Having said that, perhaps the USA should consider upgrading its ice breaker fleet, just in case the ice melt takes a little longer than anticipated.

106 thoughts on “More Polar Scientists Stuck in the Ice

  1. Russia and China are investing in bigger and stronger icebreakers, because they know CO2 doesn’t cause global warming.

      Breaker, breaker: Russia has 41 icebreakers, the US has two – yes two. Time to catch up
      “Whether or not the House and White House concur with the Senate’s recommended defense budget proposals, part of the authorization – an amendment passed under the leadership of Senator Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, with bipartisan co-sponsors Senators Angus King, I-Maine, and Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico – would add six new polar icebreakers to our U.S. fleet.”
      end except

      • Take a look at where our ports are located, and then look again at where Russia’s ports are located. There is a big reason why Russia needs more ice breakers. Last time I looked, the busiest port in the US by a long shot, San Pedro (Port of LA), has never seen ice (except from a refrigerator). I’d be surprised if the water temperature has ever dipped below 13 °C. Out side of Alaska, it is a rare event for any US port to have ice issues. Some New England ports experienced ice issues (manageable) last winter, but it was mentioned that such events hadn’t happened in 35 years.

      • As General Buck Turgidson might have said to Merkin Muffley:
        ‘Mr President! We have an ice-breaker gap!’

      • Are there not still icebreakers on the Great Lakes, especially Lake Superior? I seem to remember something about them when we lived in Superior, WI, 1972-75, One year the ice didn’t go out until the 10th of June, and harbor traffic still proceeded, thanks to ice breakers (I think). Perhaps my memory is faulty; that was 45 years ago.

    • Both Scott and Shackleton had ships trapped in the ice. Shackleton’s sank. It seemed a typical hazard for the early explorers.Maybe we have become too complacent about the very real dangers.

      • “Both Scott and Shackleton had ships trapped in the ice. Shackleton’s sank.”
        Maybe their GPS & radar systems malfunctioned?

      • You might have also mentioned that both ships were wind powered.
        Perhaps if they had been solar powered as well they may have got through.

      • If a group is plural, what happened when you have more than one of them (groups)? Superplural?

      • @rocketscientist: Superplural?
        In English, we have only singular and plural. The only language I know that comes close to having a “superplural” is Russian.
        When forming plurals with numbers in Russian, there are 3 different rules, depending on the final digit of the number. Numbers ending in “1” (except 11) are considered singular, ending with 2,3 or 4 are rendered with genitive singular and ending with 5-6-7-8-9-0 are rendered with genitive plural.
        So I have 1 ruble, 2 of ruble, 5 of rubles, 21 ruble, 22 of ruble and 30 of rubles. etc etc
        Simple, no?

    • A group (American scientists) was rescued….
      American scientists, stranded as a group, were rescued….
      The wage of sin is death.
      The wages of sin is death.
      The wages of sin are death.
      The reward of sin is end of existence.
      God seems to help them that choose to figure it out on their own, and help themselves.

    • Two wadhams they have to wait. Why this money-waste? Don`t they have life jackets for after the two wadhams?

      • wimps…
        The courageous ones parked their boats in the ice on purpose (Nansen of the Fram … no wimps or foreigners allowed)

  2. Joinville is at the end of the peninsula. Was summer pack ice pushed out there by winds?
    The article stated, they weren’t in trouble because they had a “weeks worth of food”. Hmmm, I would call not having a year’s worth of food a problem.

    • It is worse than they thought ™ All the polar bears have disappeared, obviously a result of climate change.
      (Yes I know there are no polar bears in Antarctica, but I am not sure said researchers know that.)
      Come to think of it, a sequel to “Eaten” with aggressive penguins instead of bears could be good for a laugh.

      • Unfortunately penguins tend to be quite peaceful and simply ignore you unless you deliberately provoke them. In which case it is possible to get nipped:

        Attack of the killer penguins!

      • “Unfortunately penguins tend to be quite peaceful and simply ignore you unless you deliberately provoke them.”
        Penguin: Naff off and don’t come around here spouting that global warming snake oil!

      • drednicolson:
        Penguins come in different sizes, from ankle high to waist high. But don’t worry, I’ve seen almost every penguin species (there are about 15) very close up, and as I said before unless you deliberately provoke them, like trying to shoo them off their nest, they never attack. You can even stand in their way, they will simply either climb right over your boots or go around you.

  3. The weird thing is that Joinville Island is off the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, an easily accessible area with several near-by bases and regular tourist traffic. I’ve been within a hundred kilometers of it myself. Ice conditions must be quite exceptionally difficult this year.

  4. New Zealand is not that far from Antarctica and NIWA are telling us that our summer 2017-18 just gone was the hottest evarrr ‘and it even beat the record that had stood from 1934-35 .There wasn’t much CO2 in the thirties how did it get so hot way back then . The heat mainly from a very warm sea around the country and should have had some effect further south and melted most of the outer sea ice . March is the low point for sea Ice in Antarctica .The ice starts to build as the sun retreats to the north .

    • The seas outside and inside the Antarctic Convergence are pretty isolated from each other climatically. A warm summer in NZ does not equal a warm summer in Antarctica. The convergence is usually down near Macquarie Island.

    • I beg to differ. New Zealand is NOT close to Antarctica, not unless you think Spain is close to the Arctic. It is just that that there is nothing much between them except ocean.

      • Actually the southern tip of Stewart Island is almost exactly as far from the Antarctic as New York is from Iqaluit (capitol of Nunavut)

  5. Yeah well a few years ago Prof Chris Turney, whose team got stuck in the ice investigating how the Antarctic Ice was disappearing said
    “…Unluckily for us, there appears to have been a mass breakout of thick, multiyear sea ice on the other side of the Mertz Glacier; years after the loss of the Mertz Glacier tongue. There was nothing to suggest this event was imminent…”.
    Well Ice has a habit of being Ice Prof!
    What Prof the models were down and couldn’t update you in time?

  6. The LMG is not an icebreaker – it is ice rated (extra steel up front ).. The scientists were a geologist group

    • So that’s the problem. Geologists at the Antarctic summer waters without an icebreaker.
      All right, it does not mean there was a lot of ice, just that it was unluckily placed where it usually is not.

      • There aren’t enough icebreakers to go around.
        Typically the icebreakers will drop a group off and then go execute some other assignment, then return to pick up the group at the designated time.
        Problem was, at the designated time, the icebreaker wasn’t big enough to get through the ice that had accumulated around the island.

  7. As he ice potentially thins the Russians build Ice breaking transports to exploit the Arctic while North America worries about the Polar Bear extinction, and penguins up their NW passage. You can’t fix eco stupid.
    PS Love the obs comment someone finally made that climate scientists intending to travel should consult a meteorologist regarding the weather there, not a model. [ But that may be a heretical act – and end their grants.]

    • I seem to remember that when it became public knowledge that the Russians were going to increase the number of nuclear-powered ice breakers in their fleet, President Obama stated that the US would also start building more ice breakers. What ever happened to that program?

      • What exactly would America do with its ice breakers? America doesn’t have a long arctic coastline stuffed wih natural resources. Canada has the coastline but not a lot of known natural resources. USA has Prudhoe Bay that has a pipeline, no need for tankers. Russia more than any has an arctic coastline that’s exploitable to to exploit, and not so achiraggy, and a chunk of Russia’s is accessible all year thanks to the gulf stream. Oh, and there’s a shedload of resources available in the Russian Arctic/Siberian land area. Is that an answer? Easier to build a nuclear powered tanker that just sails straight under the ice cap for those with no useful Arctic coastline. Now that’s a technological solution I’d like to see, but what would it carry? No obs oil route. Better conecentrate on bringing Venezuela back under control and getting their oil flowing again. Do a Putin on VZ. .Or make them an offer they can’t refuse and screw the UN. etc. Just IMO

  8. Winter is coming.. to the Southern Hemisphere. Probably a great idea to get extracted out of the area ASAP once they realized they were stuck. Things can go from bad to worse in hurry in the polar regions.

    • Two weeks into autumn using the Australian method of seasons, one week before the end of summer by the European system.

  9. lol sort of funny as I am getting 18-22 inches of AGW today and tomorrow.
    lot of snow on top of semi thawed gravel….always fun to plow.
    another 20-30 hour day (with few breaks closer to 40 hrs) plowing

  10. Is it groundhog day yet?
    [Come on! Bishkek? Karabalta? Are you just making these up now? Next you’re going to claim Narnia or Isengard or somesuch… -mod]

    • It appears to have a gantry and a crane where it could have had a helipad. Maybe one should find out the mission(s) for which it was designed?

  11. Rather than spending money on ice-breaking ships the White House disband and disestablish the National Science Board and the National Science Foundation. That would nicely remove the Antarctic Program from the budget.
    Ha ha

  12. Another “ship of fools”
    What is it with these climate “scientists”?
    Are they incapable of learning from past mistakes?

    • Not exactly a ship of fools. This was a group of geologists who had been set down on an island to do some research with the expectation that they would be picked up some time later when their research was done.
      Came time for the pick-up, and the ship couldn’t get to the island.

  13. Interesting backdrop to this is that summer ice melt minimum ice extent happened very early, back in February, when normal minimum is in March. Extent was very low at that point, but since then ice growth has accelerated at a very abnormal rate. Could be these guys just got complacent and got caught. Check out the NSIDC website for details on the recent Antarctic ice growth. On the same site you can see that counter to some opinions, Arctic ice extent has not maxed yet. Recent growth and extreme cold conditions ( -27C in 80 degree north region) has got the experts guessing.

    • Today’s Antarctic sea ice extents ARE expanding rapidly as the yearly refreeze continues.
      The Antarctic sea ice extents are well within the 2 standard deviations band of the long-term average sea ice extents for this date (12 March is displayed). So, at most, one can claim “Antarctic sea extents are low!” – which is true.
      But more accurately, you must also add, “… but they are within the normal range for this date.

  14. „A group of American scientists was rescued from an island off Antarctica’s coast after ice prevented a U.S. Antarctic Program research vessel from reaching them.”
    They were not the only scientists having ice trouble at the Antartic these days. See for example:
    The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) announced today (March 2) that the captain of the research vessel RRS James Clark Ross had made the “difficult decision” to turn back from the Larsen C region after encountering pack sea ice up to 16 feet (5 meters) thick.
    Another ship of fools? Definitely not. It was a wise decision on part of the captain to turn back.

  15. It’s high time these people chose a ‘real’ icebreaker such as the Mighty Mac which crushed ice on the Great Lakes for over 40 years.
    Unlike this wimpy 200+ foot ship and its pathetic 4,575 hp the Mighty Mac, at about the same length, boasted 10,000 hp along with a removable bow propeller to either set a forward wave to lift and crack ice ahead or increase water flow around the hull to assist in forward motion.

  16. I find it charming that whenever the folks are rescued, not a single one of these brilliant scientists has the presence of mind to reflect on what technology they depended on for their rescue.
    You guessed it: fossil fuels.
    Go figure.

    • Well of course this will all be settled by about 2030 when they ban fossil fuelled vessels. Nothing wrong with sail – as long as the winds favour you.
      My big thing is I cannot wait for the Tesla Plane to go from JFK to Heathrow or wherever to take all the alarmists to their Annual Conference.

  17. Canada is not building any icebreakers because our masters oops our mistresses(sorry) those people in Ottawa haven’t figured out how to make them gender-neutral.

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