Shockingly thick first year ice between Barents Sea and the North Pole in mid-July

Reposted from Dr. Susan Crockford’s Polar Bear Science

Posted on July 29, 2019 |

In late June, one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world encountered such extraordinarily thick ice on-route to the North Pole (with a polar bear specialist and deep-pocketed, Attenborough-class tourists onboard) that it took a day and a half longer than expected to get there. A few weeks later, in mid-July, a Norwegian icebreaker also bound for the North Pole (with scientific researchers on board) was forced to turn back north of Svalbard when it unexpectedly encountered impenetrable pack ice.

Franz Josef Land polar bear 2019 no date_Photo by Michael Hambrey_sm
A polar bear on hummocked sea ice in Franz Josef Land. Photo by Michael Hambrey, date not specified but estimated based on tour dates to be 22 or 23 June 2019.

Apparently, the ice charts the Norwegian captain consulted showed ‘first year ice‘ – ice that formed the previous fall, defined as less than 2 m thick (6.6 ft) – which is often much broken up by early summer. However, what he and his Russian colleague came up against was consolidated first year pack ice up to 3 m thick (about 10 ft). Such thick first year ice was not just unexpected but by definition, should have been impossible.

Ice charts for the last few years that estimate actual ice thickness (rather than age) show ice >2 m thick east and/or just north of Svalbard and around the North Poie is not unusual at this time of year.  This suggests that the propensity of navigational charts to use ice ‘age’ (e.g. first year vs. multi-year) to describe ice conditions could explain the Norwegian captain getting caught off-guard by exceptionally thick first year ice. It also provides an explanation for why the polar bear specialist onboard the Russian icebreaker later failed to explain that first year ice of such shocking thickness was truly extraordinary, not just a bit thicker than usual.

’50 Years of Victory’ voyage, 15-28 June

Polar bear specialist Thea Bechshoft, staff scientist for Polar Bears International, had a hard time explaining the astonishingly thick sea ice they were experiencing to wealthy tourists on a two-week journey aboard a Russian icebreaker bound for the North Pole from Murmansk – you could book a berth yourself next year at a cost of ~US$30,000-90,000 per person (not counting the cost of getting to Helsinki and back).

In her 24 July 2019 essay for PBI, she didn’t bother to mention just how thick the pack ice really it was and that it was first year ice that should have been less than 2 m thick. She left out the fact that the massive nuclear-powered ’50 Years of Victory’ was capable of plowing at some speed through ice 2.5m (9.2 ft) thick, which seriously downplayed the significance of the powerful ship struggling to make headway.  Although Bechshoft does not say where the thick ice was first encountered, it is almost certainly while the ship was still in the southern Barents Sea between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land (because such thick ice near the North Pole would not have been surprising):

Earlier this summer, as I leaned over the railing on the bow of our ship for a better view of the sea ice below, I heard a fellow traveler exclaim, with awe in his voice: “That’s some serious ice!” He was, in fact, so fascinated by the ice that he repeated this sentiment a few times.

I found myself in the odd position of simultaneously agreeing and disagreeing with him. If we only looked at the area we were passing through during this particular month and year, what we saw was indeed really impressive sea ice. In fact, the sea ice we encountered was thick enough that reaching our destination—the geographic North Pole—took roughly 1.5 days longer than we’d expected.

The exchange took place during a Quark Expedition trip that I was privileged to join, traveling on the nuclear icebreaker “50 Years of Victory” on a voyage from Murmansk in Russia to the North Pole. While much of my time was spent sharing science and conservation information with passengers, I also used this unique opportunity to spend a lot of time observing the sea ice as we moved through it on our way to the highest of the High Arctic, 90° North.

“50 Years of Victory” is a powerful ship of 75,000 horsepower total and the highest possible ice rating, but even she had to back up and find alternative routes through the ice every now and then. However, if we look at the bigger perspective as provided to us by satellite data, the status of the Arctic sea ice as a whole is in fact very far from impressive: not only was the Arctic sea ice extent this summer the second lowest on record, the ice is also getting progressively thinner.

Just like my fellow passenger, most of us often have a tendency to judge the general state of things on specific singular events, especially if we experienced those events in person. This is why satellite data and other historical sea ice records are incredibly important in order for us to identify the long-term trends of what is happening to the Arctic sea ice extent and thickness. Without long-term continuous, impartial monitoring, we may become oblivious to the critical changes caused to the Arctic ecosystem by our warming climate. This “blindness” to change is also known as shifting baseline syndrome: Chronic, slowly degrading changes in ecosystems can be incredibly difficult for us to notice if they happen over a period of multiple decades. This is true for the disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, but also for example for the dwindling number of insects found around the globe. [my bold]

PBI 50 years of victory_view from the bow of the ship. Photo by Dr Thea Bechshoft
The view from the bow of the ship ’50 Years of Victory’. Photo by Dr. Thea Bechshoft. Date and exact location not specified but cruise dates put it sometime between 16 and 26 June between the Barents Sea around Svalbard and the North Pole.
Crown Prince Haakon voyage 15 July

The Norwegian icebreaker ‘Kronprins Haakon‘ (Crown Prince Haakon), also bound for the North Pole, had to turn back on 15 July due to sea ice up to 3 m thick (almost 10 ft). Based on a Norwegian news report, the blog Ice Age Now reported 16 July 2019:

Thick one-year ice combined with large batches of multi-year ice joined together into powerful helmets, and several of these are impenetrable to us, said Captain Johnny Peder Hansen.

The ice is up to three meters (almost 10 feet) thick in the middle of July, and not even the researchers’ long special-purpose chainsaws were able to penetrate the ice.

In the middle of July we see few signs of thawing and that spring has come. We had expected more melting and that the ice was more disintegrating, ”says Captain Hansen, who for several decades has worked on various vessels in the Arctic. [my bold]

Sea ice thickness charts

While it may be that ice extent this year has declined to low levels relative to 1979 – as it has done since 2007 without any acceleration – the ice chart below issued by the Danish Meteorological Institute (for 19 June and 15 July, dates relevant to the icebreaker journeys discussed above) shows thick ice greater than 2m (turquois-green, green and yellow) extending from Svalbard in the Barents Sea to the North Pole (900N). If ice shown on these charts as ‘1.5-3.5’ m thick appeared as ‘first year ice’ on navigational charts or reports (such as issued by the North American Ice Service, summer 2019 outlook here), the extreme thickness would have presented a surprising navigational challenge to the icebreaker captains.


The icebreaker ‘50 Years of Victoryout of Murmansk struggled through thick ice (above chart) along a route between Svalbard and the Franz Josef Land archipelago (see route map below) and reached the geographic North Pole a day and a half later than scheduled on the 19th or 20th of June.  The ship stopped at Franz Josef Land on the return trip to Murmansk, where many polar bears were seen.

Murmansk to the North Pole via 50 years of victory Quark Expeditions

Several weeks later, the Norwegian icebreaker ‘Crown Prince Haakon‘ traveled through thick first year ice north of the west coast of the Svalbard archipelago (ice chart below) towards the North Pole but had to turn back on 15th July.


While Bechshoft makes it sound like thick ice is a rare occurance in June in the Barents Sea and around the North Pole, in fact ice of such thickness has been relatively common (especially near the North Pole) in recent years (see charts below).  For example, in 2015 (see chart below), most of the ice in the Barents Sea between Svalbard and Franz Josef Land was even thicker than this year at mid-June:


Really, only 2012 had truly wide expanses of thin first year ice in the Barents Sea that extended towards the North Pole:


However, first year ice that’s 3 m thick is indeed a rare occurance, especially in the southern Barents Sea.

In other words, the suggestion that this early summer’s exceptionally thick ice in the eastern Arctic and Barents Sea is so rare as to qualify as a “singular” event is nonsense but it is rare – and may well be significant – to encounter such exceptionally thick first year ice in the southern Barents Sea and just north of Svalbard. The propensity of navigational charts to use ice age rather than ice thickness to describe ice conditions almost certainly explains the Norwegian icebreaker captain getting caught off-guard by exceptionally thick first year ice because first year ice 3 m thick simply should not exist.

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Bryan A
July 30, 2019 7:00 am

“50 Years of Victory” is a powerful ship of 75,000 horsepower total and the highest possible ice rating, but even she had to back up and find alternative routes through the ice every now and then. However, if we look at the bigger perspective as provided to us by satellite data, the status of the Arctic sea ice as a whole is in fact very far from impressive: not only was the Arctic sea ice extent this summer the second lowest on record, the ice is also getting progressively thinner.

It is getting so thin in fact that this 75,000HP (Diesel?) (fossil fuel powered?) Ice hardened ship couldn’t break it safely without going in alternate routes

Reply to  Bryan A
July 30, 2019 8:34 am

I was a little surprised at the low ice extent this year because the winter wasn’t particularly warm. Apparently the ice is making up for its low area by being thicker.

One of the things that influences ice extent is the wind. It can blow all the ice out of the arctic or it can cause it to pile up.

Reply to  commieBob
July 30, 2019 9:23 am

Much of the ice doesn’t melt; it sublimes due to low humidity and, yes, wind, which also moves it to warmer waters. Sub-sea volcanic vents may have some effect.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
July 30, 2019 10:56 am

The arctic and antarctic are different in that regard.

Reply to  jorgekafkazar
July 30, 2019 11:23 am

Ice sublimes quite slowly compared to snow, so that is hardly significant.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 30, 2019 8:40 am

It’s a nuclear powered ship.

The ship went as far as it could go, and then turned back. It’s rated for continuous icebreaking at up to 2.5 meters of ice, so encountered ice thicker than that.

An icebreaker has the option of backing and ramming to break thicker ice than what it is rated for breaking in continuous motion … but that’s pretty hard on the ship and the people aboard her.

Typical icebreaking speeds are around 2 to 3 knots continuous forward way. Pretty slow trip! A lot slower than Greta Thunberg’s planned racing sailboat trip across the Atlantic!

Reply to  Duane
July 30, 2019 2:25 pm

I assume the Attenborough-class passengers are all Elon Musk fans. If they were all packing … they’d have made it thru the ice in no time flat

Reply to  Bryan A
July 30, 2019 7:54 pm

The ship is a nuclear powered icebreaker. At least the $90,000 a pop crowd went emission free…🤮

Reply to  Bryan A
July 30, 2019 10:33 pm

Nuclear powered.
The Russians are building bigger ice breakers.
Now why do the Russians want these new icebreakers? Is it because they know the Arctic ice is going to a problem?

The Canadians have been hoodwinked by their belief in global warming. Their Coast Guard expected to have CCGS John G. Diefenbaker in operation in 2017, but is now expected to join the fleet in 2021/22. The sorry story is covered on Wikipedia.

Bryan A
July 30, 2019 7:03 am

Isn’t she beautiful?
It’s a Nuclear Wessel

Reply to  Bryan A
July 30, 2019 9:18 am

Young woman: I’m from Alameda.
Me: Is dat where dey keep de nuclear wessels?
Young woman: Yes.

July 30, 2019 7:06 am

What are they going to believe, their lying eyes or data for a location they won’t get to see?
Evidently, the data for a location they’ll never see.

July 30, 2019 7:08 am

I believe these “enviro-tourists” go on such trips to show that the ice isn’t there.
And after the huge expense, “dine out”on the story all winter long.
At least these misadventures did not require other rescue ships and/or helicopters.

Bryan A
Reply to  Bob Hoye
July 30, 2019 10:39 am

I would loove to see one of these Hubris supercharged IdioTrips make it to the pole, plan on remainng for a 3 hour tour and have the pack ice refreeze behind them making their return impossible.

Robert W Turner
July 30, 2019 7:08 am

The decline in Arctic sea ice extent correlates well with the number of ice breakers operating.

Reply to  Robert W Turner
July 30, 2019 8:42 am

Something I have often wondered about, plus all the heat coming from said vessels

Reply to  MangoChutney
July 30, 2019 9:54 am

.. plus constant breaking up of the ice doesn’t bode well for a thick ice pack.

TG McCoy
July 30, 2019 7:16 am

What no ‘flippy floppy ” ice?

July 30, 2019 7:30 am

my goodness….a discrepancy between what they are reporting…..and reality

who’s a thunk it

J Mac
July 30, 2019 7:42 am

To paraphrase Mark Twain: ‘The reports of the death of the polar ice cap are greatly exaggerated!’
The climate alarmists yet again exhibit linear climate thinking in a cyclical climate world. The warm Holocene interglacial period will end one day…. and the continent spanning mile thick glaciers will return once again. That kind of unrelenting cold justifies real concern! Brrrrr…

Ron Long
July 30, 2019 7:50 am

Dare we hope that an actual “Ship of Fools” might be trapped by this first year ice? Good chance!

Reply to  Ron Long
July 30, 2019 8:53 am

Northwest Passage cruises don’t start till late August:

Northeast Passage cruises also hit the white stuff in late August:

Bryan A
Reply to  climanrecon
July 30, 2019 10:40 am

Ala Ship of Tools

Reply to  climanrecon
July 30, 2019 11:25 am

Last year every single Northwest Passage cruise turned back or cancelled. The ice situation in the Northwest Passage may be slightly easier this year, but it is to early to be sure.

Len Werner
July 30, 2019 7:59 am

This is a ‘scientist’? She is staring over the bow of the ship at unexpectedly thick ice right in front of her eyes….but still she KNOWS that the ice is getting thinner in a degrading ecosystem because of warming. Did anyone follow the link in a recent posting and watch the Youtube video of the interview with Yuri Bezmenov when he talked about ‘brainwashing’?–that when brainwashed you can ‘show someone truth and fact right to their face’ but it will not change their mind?

I’ve rarely seen a more naked emperor, with even the non-GW ‘scientists’ now praising the wardrobe. I would have thought that there would be at least an inkling of thought towards ‘Wait a minute–let me see that projection of thin ice again…’ as the ice-breaker got stuck.

This is a strange phenomenon, and a most interesting one to witness in my lifetime. I’ve been to numerous properties in my career where everyone was convinced–self-brainwashed?–that there’s LOTS of gold here, and it was my responsibility to determine if there was. ‘Uhh–no, there isn’t’ has always been a possibility as that is most often the case, and only measurement will tell for sure.

Thea Bechshoft could have/should have measured the ice with an open mind. Her report however defines her mind as closed, that no matter how thick ice she saw, it must still be thinning.

Reply to  Len Werner
July 30, 2019 8:05 am

Well, while the ice is thickening, so is her cognitive dissonance along with the thickness of her skull! 🙂

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  NavarreAggie
July 30, 2019 9:19 am

So …. Ice ing on the cake ?

D. J. Hawkins
July 30, 2019 8:02 am

How is it that the sea ice thickness chart you posted doesn’t show any 2-3 meter ice along the route from Murmansk to the North Pole for 15 Jun 2019?

Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
July 30, 2019 11:30 am

Because it is modelled, not measured. Cryosat did show 3+ meters ice in this area in May, but the data are no longer available, and the historical data haven’t been updated since November 2018.

The Depraved and MOST Deplorable Vlad the Impaler
July 30, 2019 8:06 am

So, the ice and its thickness are in ‘danger’, but we must go up there in nuclear-powered ice-BREAKERS, so that we’ll know how much ‘danger’ the sea ice is in.

As is typical, I MUST be missing something here … … … … …

July 30, 2019 8:13 am

Ah, good sailing weather for Greta. Remember to try for the sailing time record and not to worry about icebergs.

Reply to  ResourceGuy
July 31, 2019 4:00 am

might be advised to take a set of snowshoes?
Id rather tie her to another Arctic wolf on a release and see how fast they make it
pic of greta in todays aussie papers and she looks rather more on the downs syndrome side than just autie.
just my observations

Mike Bryant
July 30, 2019 8:21 am

The ice they encountered was obviously rotten ice caused by global warming.

July 30, 2019 8:36 am

Another SOF – the Swedish Oden – fell foul of thick ice on its way north through the Baffin inlets:

Warmist hubris getting stuck in reality.
3m ice can’t be adjusted or reanalysed out of the way.

Reply to  Phil Salmon
July 30, 2019 9:30 am

“3m ice can’t be adjusted or reanalysed out of the way.”

Yes it can. I’ll just close my eyes real tight. Or I’ll claim it’s not first year ice. Yeah, that’ll do it.

July 30, 2019 8:44 am

Are you totally out of your mind?

The lowest ever extent for the date in the satellite record? and you write this?

why are you are banging on about one modelled version of the ice thickness showing thicker ice off Svalbard? When the rest of it is a slushie and that last bit of thick MYI will be on the way out of the Fram Strait by xmas?

The icebreaker turned back because of engine problems (you’ll have to google translate the Norwegian) by the way

If it had set off at any other angle from the russian coast, no problem getting to the pole

There is every possibility this year could beat 2012 low… and it is virtually certain it will come in second lowest, given just average ice loss for the rest of the season

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 9:32 am

Since the satellite record.. which is a blink of a geologic eye. What was the ice extent in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s compared to this year? The real answer is we don’t know. It could have been greater and it could have been less.

So just because it is relatively lower now doesn’t necessarily mean anything at this point. Please check back in 100 years and let’s discuss.

Bryan A
Reply to  rbabcock
July 30, 2019 12:19 pm

Griff, Now THAT is the most obvious thing that could have been stated about the trip…
Any other direction they could have gone (SOUTH??), they would have easily made it through Slushy Ice. Except for the way they took.(NORTH) /sarc
So I suppost that they purpously tried to break through the only path there was 3+ meter thick first year ice and if they had simply chosen the path to the Left or Right they could have swam the slushy stuff? Sounds like they missed having your expert navigation ability aboard.
You should volunteer your expert navigation services for their next Hubris Folly

Matthew K
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 9:34 am

Go post your BS somewhere else.

john harmsworth
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 9:58 am

It’s a good thing they didn’t get stuck. They could have suffered the embarrassing fate of being eaten by practically extinct polar bears living on ice that isn’t able to support them. The models say so!
As the ice has retreated it is more prone to piling up from wind and waves on more open water. The open water is also cooling at an accelerated rate. The next act is the combination of cooler ocean temps and thicker ice leading to a long term growth in ice extent.

Bob boder
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:23 am


take the bet, when will we see no ice at the north pole? pick any date you want and i’ll bet your wrong loser never posts here again.

Stewart Pid
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:27 am

Griff u are somewhat tedious but for your info …. the original author of the ice piece, Susan Crockford, pointed out to US researchers about 8 – 10 years ago that they were tracking polar bears with radio collars & the bears were obviously hunting on sea ice were the US maps had no ice …. I think everyone was working for NOAA but I could be mis remembering that.
This happened in the Beaufort. Look it up if you doubt me.
So my point is that the ice extent is somewhat prone to errors involving the masks and pixels etc and the current group of climate crooks always make sure the estimates are towards the “only X more years to no arctic ice” side of the ledger.

Reply to  Stewart Pid
July 30, 2019 10:06 pm

Stewart–I love the term “climate crooks”-Wow, that should be adopted as skeptic’s jargon for the climatologists–love it!

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:29 am

Wow Griff! What an astonishing display of poor reading comprehension.

It was the captain of the Norwegian icebreaker – not me or the ice charts I included (which in any case show actual ice thickness in metres) – that said this was exceptionally thick first year ice. The report by the polar bear specialist is about a powerful Russian icebreaker that struggled through similar ice conditions a few weeks before.

I’m banging on about a polar bear scientist writing a report about encountering extraordinarily thick and consolidated (i.e. concentrated) first year ice without really explaining the details of the problem and then (like you) explaining it away because ice EXTENT was a bit lower than some other year (‘lowest ever’? What is the margin of error for those estimates and why are they never shown or reported?).

Navigation in the Arctic when there is ice around is all about local ice thickness and concentration – and that’s what this post is all about. Extent for the entire Arctic is a metric that matters to you but it has no bearing on the point of this story.

The engine problems for the Norwegian icebreaker came about because the vibrations generated by trying to ram through the unexpectedly thick first year ice caused parts to fail. More lack of reading comprehension and/or misrepresentation of facts.

The Russian icebreaker’s home port is Murmansk and it has been taking this route to the North Pole for 10 years or so. It could not “set off an any other angle from the Russian coast”.

It is apparent that ice charts for navigation show ice by age rather than by actual thickness (i.e. first year ice vs. multi-year ice), which would result in an icebreaker captain getting caught by surprise by exceptionally thick first year ice.

First year ice 2m thick or less is the best habitat for polar bears because it is also the best habitat for Arctic seals – and apparently, it is also the best kind of ice for Arctic icebreakers hauling rich tourists and ice researchers to the North Pole.

Reply to  Susan Crockford
July 30, 2019 12:37 pm

Thanks Susan!
I think in a hundred years time that ship route will still be taking eco-tourists up north to witness the dying gasp of the Arctic ice.

Reply to  Susan Crockford
July 30, 2019 3:49 pm

Dr Crockford, sea ice extent, area and volume are all at their lowest or second lowest numbers in 40 years but you write an article about how “Shockingly thick” the ice is. What were you thinking?

Mark Broderick
Reply to  Loydo
July 30, 2019 7:24 pm

Only in your twisted mind…..

Bryan A
Reply to  Loydo
July 30, 2019 8:21 pm

The ice was certainly thick enough that an Ice Hardened Nuclear Wessel couldn’t make it easily and had to change directions.
BTW first year ice that is almost 50% thicker than normally expected certainly qualifies for the term shockingly thick perhaps even extraordinarily thick and possibly unprecedentedly thick first year ice.

Reply to  Bryan A
July 30, 2019 11:51 pm

I doubt it was first year ice, last freezing season was abysmal and this melting season is eclipsing 2012.

Nah, she’ll have to ‘splain it better than that. She is not enhancing her credibility with this sort of schlock.

J Mac
Reply to  Bryan A
July 31, 2019 9:27 am

“I have my doubts” and name calling? There’s a perfect ‘settled science’ rebuttal from schlock meister Loydo!

Reply to  Bryan A
August 1, 2019 12:05 am

I thought I was going easy on her with schlock. In hindsight horst schist is more appropriate.

“should have been impossible”. It is impossible, there is no way 1st year ice got that thick in 2019. If it was so thick ice breakers couldn’t get through it was ridging caused by wind driven compaction – something that happens every day. For an Arctic researcher too call it shocking is disingenuous.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:30 am

“…Are you totally out of your mind?…”

Soliciting for people to join you in group therapy is probably against website policy.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:44 am

All need to read the following, about once a year:

“It will without doubt have come to your Lordship’s knowledge that a considerable change of climate, inexplicable at present to us, must have taken place in the Circumpolar Regions, by which the severity of the cold that has for centuries past enclosed the seas in the high northern latitudes in an impenetrable barrier of ice has been during the last two years, greatly abated.

(This) affords ample proof that new sources of warmth have been opened and give us leave to hope that the Arctic Seas may at this time be more accessible than they have been for centuries past, and that discoveries may now be made in them not only interesting to the advancement of science but also to the future intercourse of mankind and the commerce of distant nations.”
President of the Royal Society, London, to the Admiralty, 20th November, 1817 [13]

*13 President of the Royal Society, Minutes of Council,
Volume 8. pp.149-153, Royal Society, London.
20th November, 1817.

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 11:44 am

You’re not very good at Norwegian are you, Griff?

“Under isbryting oppsto det en lekkasje i et av propellhusene. I utgangspunktet skulle ikke den isen vi traff på være til hinder. Isforholdene var innenfor det fartøyet er bygget for, og det skulle tålt den belastningen”

“During ice-breaking there was an oil-leak in one of the propeller housings. In principle the ice we met should not have been prohibitive. Ice conditions were within what the ship is built for, and it should have stood that strain”

But seemingly it didn’t.

But don’t take it personally Griff. The Swedish Oden which is an even stronger icebreaker has had big problems both last year and this year as well.

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 2:41 pm

Being a Norwegian, I would like to correct you on an issue or two. The ship is built to break one meter thick ice, in the article you refer to, they also likens this to one year old ice. If you read the first article about the incident, it says the ship hit three meters thick ice.

So, to me it appears that it is a case of the “Titanic syndrome”, or the catastrophic belief in theory instead of observable reality.

Somewhat common these days.

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:33 pm

Dishonest griff is at it again,

he has been told many time with numerous published papers of far less sea ice cover than now without any indication of climatic and ecological problems in the past. He keeps ignoring them or use the irrelevant argument of Milankovitch effects on the ice cover.

He has been shown of periods of far less ice than now to no summer ice at all, yet here he is again, yapping about a “low” value which is actually higher than around 90% of the Holocene for the summer time.

Give it up, eddy, your irrational baloney is old and worn out.

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 11:19 pm

Try and keep it civil. You clearly, from this and past posts, have a personal problem with Dr Crockford.

Reply to  griff
July 31, 2019 2:48 am


If somebody is worried about ice, he is out of his mind. (That means you Griff.)
No ice at all would be paradise to all.

Btv. Wrong boat.

July 30, 2019 8:45 am

The sea ice today on the Univ of Bremen page (as shown here at the WUWT sea ice page) looks significantly thicker (more yellow, less blue) between Svalbard and Franz Josef Island than it does in the above article.

July 30, 2019 8:46 am

Oh wait… I missed one point… that’s NOT first year ice!

Scroll down here till you see the EASE-Grid Sea Ice Age chart at left (You can’t link direct without an account)

Matthew K
Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 9:29 am

[pruned] griff, you aren’t welcome here.

[The mods point out that opposing viewpoints can be useful: One does not sharpen skills nor tools nor swords by running a swordedge against a banana. .mod]

Matthew K
Reply to  Matthew K
July 30, 2019 10:18 am

Yeah, I’m prone to getting angry pretty quickly. Still, I don’t like being fed BS.

Bob boder
Reply to  Matthew K
July 30, 2019 10:21 am


“[The mods point out that opposing viewpoints can be useful: One does not sharpen skills nor tools nor swords by running a swordedge against a banana. .mod]”

lets see the data, banana skins are much tougher then they look.

Bryan A
Reply to  Matthew K
July 30, 2019 12:24 pm

Sword edge against a banana? Sorry Mods but that is no way to talk about Griff, and it annoys the sword edge too

TC in the OC
Reply to  Matthew K
July 30, 2019 1:01 pm

Opposing viewpoints are needed to make responses sharper.

Use comments from Griff as your fuel.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Matthew K
July 31, 2019 3:21 am

Did someone mention bananas?
Always remember that…
Time flies like the wind;
Fruit flies like bananas.

Reply to  griff
July 30, 2019 10:58 am

griff most certainly is welcome here.
He has his point of view and I have mine.
This is as it should be.

Reply to  TonyL
July 30, 2019 11:02 am

+42 x 1042

Reply to  TonyL
July 30, 2019 12:17 pm

It also increases the sales of popcorn.

Bryan A
Reply to  TonyL
July 30, 2019 12:26 pm

He also is responsible for multiple posts and creating site hits increasing WUWT Popularity
Thank You Griff for helping WUWT to reach 400,000,000 views

Bob boder
Reply to  TonyL
July 31, 2019 4:35 am

Again, I will point out to all the Griff defenders, he slandered both Dr Crockford and Dr Soon on this very site multiple times, Anthony has chosen to allow him to continue to post here, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is not a good guy with a different point of view, he is a bad guy who is willing to slander and defame anyone he disagrees with.

July 30, 2019 8:54 am

Honest question. Do the ever increasing excursions into the ice fields accelerate the breakup of the ice? Heisenberg showed that observation influences the result.

If ice breaking were forbidden would we see ice cover increase?

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
July 30, 2019 8:56 am

So Greta can just walk to the US without having to get seasick – result, as long as her sponsors have to do the same to prove they believe what she says.8

Mark Broderick
July 30, 2019 9:23 am

“NASA finds three alien planets, including the ‘missing link”

Reply to  John Collis
July 30, 2019 11:08 am

That happens every summer and is the reason why satellites can’t measure the ice thickness during summer – no way to distinguish meltwater pools from the ocean, so no definable reference sea-level.

And if you don’t believe that it has always occurred, read Nansen’s description of the difficulties they had on the ice north of Franz Josephs land in the summer of 1895 (Chapter 6):

As a matter of fact it is this melted snow that seeps down through the ice, washes out the salt, and turns salty first-year ice into much harder fresh multi-year ice.

In short, normal MSM lying or ignorance, take your pick.

Andrew Hamilton
July 30, 2019 9:54 am

They know the ice is inconveniently thick, so they deliberately drive powerful ships through it to try and break it up.

July 30, 2019 10:54 am

Cryosat ( showed exceptionally thick ice in the Central Polar Basin during the late winter/spring.

Unfortunately data after November 2018 are no longer accessible on that site (hmmm…).

July 30, 2019 11:21 am

“In late June, one of the most powerful icebreakers in the world…”

Not one of the most powerful icebreakers in the World. It is the strongest icebreaker in the world until the new Arktika is commissioned.

With six Arktika-class icebreakers the russians hope to be able to keep the Northeast passage open through winter.

The Northeast Passage has always been much easier than the Northwest Passage, which tells you how realistic dreams of year-around traffic there is.

July 30, 2019 12:44 pm

Global warning (Ode to Griff)

His name is Griffin. Folks though call him “Griff”
He hails from universities of stone
Debate with him is as a smoken spliff
It leaves one’s mental faculties undone

For high o’er land and sea and distant isles
The eye of Griff doth wander wide and free
All he beholds, his intellect defiles
Dreaming disaster from the rings of trees

The seas do rise – we’re told – to drown our coasts
Though photos of past bays show nary a change
Griff terrifies the kids with tales of ghosts
That steal the frost from every mountain range

Beholding life, he see-eth only death
In forms of beauty, veiled catastrophe
And morbid gas in every human breath
Damns sinners to a lost eternity

But that dread gas – O Griff! How see-est thou not?
Bringeth not death but life, that springeth green
The photosynthesis thou hast forgot
Is nourished by the thing thou call’st unclean

And so adieu, my ode to Griff is done
To that sly master of the shifting files
Of numbers spelling our Armeggedon
And yet behind that mask of doom – he smiles!

Stewart Pid
Reply to  Phil Salmon
July 30, 2019 7:25 pm

There once was a young Griff named Ed
Whose mind was as quick as a shed
Whilst ranting about ice
He wasn’t being too nice
And came off as a bit of a dickhead

July 30, 2019 1:09 pm

Pretty sure the only reason the ’50 went ahead is because her hull is all but immune to lateral pressure.

July 30, 2019 1:18 pm

According to Nansen the Arctic sea ice area may be levelling off. Although extent is still in a nosedive albeit parallel with most other years.

Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 1:40 pm

I am not sure what the take home message is here. Is it “ice extent this year has declined to low levels relative to 1979 – as it has done since 2007 without any acceleration” or the fact that two captains chose the wrong
route to get to the North Pole. The first would appear to me to be far more important than the second even if the later makes you laugh at the stupidity of people. It should be noted that for most of July both the Arctic and the Antarctic sea ice extents have been at record or near record lows.

Bryan A
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 2:21 pm

Perhaps it is the Latter. Going North to the North Pole was the mistake, the easier ice to traverse is to the south

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Izaak Walton
July 30, 2019 2:25 pm

“It should be noted that for most of July both the Arctic and the Antarctic sea ice extents have been at record or near record lows.”
Yes …. and as Johnny was fond of saying “and that is un-good ”
More energy leaving earth . I like it warmer , not colder . Part of getting old , I guess ….

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
July 30, 2019 3:54 pm

Warming (as evidence from reduced ice) does not make it colder Bob. And you most certainly would not like it warmer if you were one of the teeming billions living in already hot places.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Loydo
July 30, 2019 7:47 pm

Don’t understand energy transfer at all , do you Loydo .
Which is warmer : ice or water ?
Where does heat /energy go ?
Oh , right ….FROM hotter to cooler .
Comprende ?
More energy lost to space from water than from ice .

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
July 31, 2019 12:06 am

Yes I comprehende. But its more complicated than I think you realise. Albedo, insulation, mixing through wave action, humidity, salinity, etc.

Bryan A
Reply to  Loydo
July 30, 2019 8:31 pm

The already hot places (equatorial zone and tropics) aren’t getting much warmer. The majority of warming is in the higher latitudes above 60degrees lat and at nights during winter. Just look at the dead trees of long vanished boreal forests emerging from under those melting glaciers that didn’t exist several thousand years ago.

Nicholas McGinley
July 30, 2019 4:02 pm

If no one else has corrected it yet, 2.5 meters is not 9.2 feet.
It is 8.2 feet.
A meter is about 39.4 inches.
So a little less than 100 inches for 2.5 meters

Flight Level
July 31, 2019 2:46 am

I can only imagine the hell endured by the crew and captain. Half a mile from nowhere, on a slow moving ship in serious weather conditions and a bunch of exalted and disillusioned green zealots on-board.

My respects, very professional attitude since no one from the “passengers” went unaccounted for.

July 31, 2019 7:49 am

That could be because less warm water from the Gulf Stream is flowing under the ice now that in recent years.

July 31, 2019 10:12 am

Ice north of Svalbard is still very strong.

John Collis
August 1, 2019 2:55 pm

I posted a link to this article on Facebook in response to a post on the Extinction Rebellion Leicester page ( posted by Dan Tudor-Pole).
I apologise in advance if this is inappropriate.
This was summarily dismissed as being from a well known denier with links to the Heartland Institute who are supported by the fossil fuel companies:

“Let’s try to keep an air of respect here despite the obvious difference in opinions. Jon, I clicked the article but in this day and age, figuring out who the author/editor is actually gets to the heart of the matter. In this case you’re referencing a climate denier although to entertain the idea you’re pushing here, no I don’t think it’s an indicator that climate change what we’re going through now is ‘natural’ or a cycle. Apart from the irrefutable science, what really makes me doubt people like Anthony Watts is he takes money off those who have a vested interested in the continued rape and pillaging of the planet. Even if all the obfuscations and lies they peddle were somehow true, the other side of the coin is an ecological collapse. Will Exxon or BP fund more institutes to deny this also.”

I was accused of supporting genocide, called scum amongst other things, although the person who posted this appears to have deleted the comments and left the group (which I’ve also done)

An example “This thread is quickly becoming tiresome now. Jon, I’m up for debate but just not like this, particularly when you share articles from the likes of people taking money from The Heartland Institute and then for reasons I’m unclear of, you send further links from ExxonMobil and BP. Yes, there is always some debate about the climate because it’s such a complicated system, any meteorologist will admit that but everything we’re seeing is unprecendented. I don’t really have the time or inclination on your behalf to dive into the vast archives of why this is so. Are you in this group as an open minded person? If so I’d suggest you stop swallowing some of the obfuscations from organisations and individuals who have documented vested interests in oil/gas and the continued rape of the living world.”

The final comment “Plenty of admins here, I’ll let them figure it out. Far as I’m concerned, I’ve deconstructed his argument, although he’ll probably think I haven’t. To anyone reading, I wouldn’t waste your time on the articles Jon shared, you’ll quickly figure out why.”

This smacks of indoctrination and dogma rather than science.

Rudolf Huber
August 2, 2019 2:42 pm

No, this cant be. Al Gore told us personally that all Arctic Ice will be gone by 2010. We are long past that date. This ice has no justification for being there. It has not asked Gore for permission. I think he is already on his way there with the biggest hairdryer the world has seen in order to personally make sure that his prediction is being heeded. I am just amazed that this still causes a discussion – what evidence does one need in order to see that the entire GW hysteria is nothing but a fabrication. Admit it folks and let’s move on. We won’t be hard on you – we will just take your toys away and let you move on.

Andy Mansell
Reply to  Rudolf Huber
August 6, 2019 12:23 am

Amazing, isn’t it? No matter how many times the world doesn’t end on cue they just get more hysterical with their claims and the media lap it up. This snippet from a book I’m looking at might offer some explanation of the obsession with CO2. Interesting how you see the same patterns in different fields.

Lovallo found that the estimated returns for the businesses the investors were planning to invest in were a whopping 50 percent higher than the ones for the other projects they had briefly assessed. This shocked the investors, who realized that their estimates for the businesses they were focused on were probably too high.

So why did this happen? Well, psychological studies have shown that the more details we consider about something, the more extreme our judgments become.

So, if having too narrow of a focus and being too specialized can lead you astray in work and in life, what should you do instead?

To learn more about that – including why you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re a slow learner – get our blinks to Range, by David Epstein.

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