Holey Moley - From Neven:
Watts seems to have a renewed interest in the Arctic, now that we won't be seeing back-to-back records after last year's insane record smashing melting season. I prefer to ignore his sh*t, but his timing was so impeccable this time that I had to react: Hole.If you've not been keeping up with Neven's excellent Arctic Sea Ice blog (eg on the grounds that this year may not be another record low), you're missing out. As John Abraham wrote in the Guardian recently (my bold italics):
Neven, like many other armchair scientists has little formal training. But, he makes up for that with a doggedness that would impress anyone. While he describes his blog as basically weather reports, many publishing researchers turn to him for a comprehensive view of current conditions. Do you want to know what the short term ice conditions will likely be? Ask Neven. Interested in learning about impacts of current conditions on the atmosphere? Ask Neven.
Not only is he a great resource, but the commenters provide insightful thoughts as well. And very often, they are not in agreement with each other. It is refreshing to see people engage in polite yet candid discussions of various views of our Arctic.
Neven is fact-full and normally doesn't say much about disinformation from deniers, preferring to explore what is happening to Arctic sea ice. But he is not unaware of Anthony Watts and others like him who are in the climate science denial business.
Go read his latest article. While Anthony Watts is posting unconvincing BS with his "the holes now are no different", it looks as if there are real holes in the ice opening up near the north pole. The holes will be considerably bigger (kilometers wide) than the little cracks shown in Anthony's August 1987 photo, which look as if they aren't much more than about 100 m or so in diameter from the photo. (The length of the longest sub in the picture, USS Billfish is 95.02 metres).
Here is Anthony's "evidence":
|Credit: Commander Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet|
USS BILLFISH (SSN 676), CDR F. Terry Jones (Jeffrey Gossett), USS SEA DEVIL (SSN 664), CDR Dennis A. Napior (Douglas Shaefer), and HMS SUPERB (S 109), CDR James Collins (Don Stephens), conducted the first multi-national 3-ship rendezvous at the North Pole
North Pole not so trivial trivia
And some more interesting bits of non-trivial trivia that I came across while researching this. Who was the first person to reach the North Pole and when? More on that here. And how easy was it to get to the North Pole back in 1988? What about trying on a sailboard? Does anyone know if Stéphane Peyron made it? He did cross the Atlantic on a wind-surfer. Back in 1988 (glasnost era) a joint Canadian-Russian group tried crossing the Arctic on skiis to promote international cooperation, and they made it!
This article gives a thumbnail sketch of the Arctic with some historical context.
From 1958 to to 1987 to 2010As for Anthony's wrong then corrected then repeated but uncorrected claim relating to a photo he wrongly attributes to a submarine surfacing at the North Pole in 1959. While the Skate did surface at the North Pole in March 1959, Anthony's photo was not of that event. Nor does it signal that ice cover today is anything like what it was back then.
Here is a comparison of Arctic seasonal sea ice extent over the years from 1900 to 2010. Click the image for a larger version.
|Source: Cryosphere Today|
1958 - First sub go under the North Pole (reportedly)And here's an article about the first ever submarine to travel under the North Pole - or perhaps to admit to it. The Nautilus. In August 1958. But it didn't surface there. Here is a paragraph:
The submarine traveled at a depth of about 500 feet, and the ice cap above varied in thickness from 10 to 50 feet, with the midnight sun of the Arctic shining in varying degrees through the blue ice. At 11:15 p.m. EDT on August 3, 1958, Commander Anderson announced to his crew: "For the world, our country, and the Navy--the North Pole." The Nautilus passed under the geographic North Pole without pausing. The submarine next surfaced in the Greenland Sea between Spitzbergen and Greenland on August 5. Two days later, it ended its historic journey at Iceland. For the command during the historic journey, President Dwight D. Eisenhower decorated Anderson with the Legion of Merit.
Here is the New York Times reporting the same journey. Some relevant extracts:
He recounted briefly how the Nautilus had cruised submerged on a northerly course past the Aleutian Islands and through the Bering Strait between Alaska and Siberia toward the brittle fringe of the ice pack and then beneath it.
Above the Nautilus the covering icecap was plainly visible over the vessel's closed-circuit television, the sixth months period of Arctic daylight making visibility no problem. Now and then great holes appeared in the icecap but the Nautilus sped on....
...Commander Anderson indicated a distinct lack of curiosity about the precise make up an penetration of the icecap below the surface of the sea. It ranged in thickness from ten to fifteen feet and loses about three feet of its winter depth in summer. But pressures caused by wind and tide, sent it to a depth of fifty feet in unchartered places and these were well above the submarine, he explained....
...A humorous note crept into the recitation as Commander Anderson gave the first public definition of what he called "longitudinal roulette," a passtime not to be indulged in while traversing the arctic sea for the first time in a submarine.
"A trip across the North Pole, where there is no opportunity to observe anything outside of the ship, no opportunity to observe stars or do any type of electronic navigation, presents a very formidable problem- or what has been up to now a very formidable problem," the skipper explained.
"For example, it would be possible for a ship equipped with conventional navigation equipment to become so confused at the North Pole that they might actually work themselves around in a slow circle, thinking that they were going in a straight line, and end up coming into perhaps the ice-locked coast off Greenland, or even more disappointing, back where they came from."
I doubt Commander Anderson would have imagined back then that not much more than sixty years later, the Arctic would not only be able to be traversed by submarines, there would be commercial shipping routes opening up - without ice-breakers or with only occasional help from them.
From the Wall Street Journal, ships transporting oil and gas through the Arctic, which is quite a worry, given the huge risks posed by commercial shipping in the Arctic, from Seatrade Global.
Now go and check out Neven's excellent blog for the latest on the Arctic sea ice.