Regular readers will no doubt recall that I have previously been “banned” on trumped up charges at the “Watts Up With That” blog. It thus came as a pleasant surprise when I recently popped back there and tried to pass comment on a “reprint” of an article by Professor Byron Sharp in Medium entitled “How I changed my mind… about global warming“:
Most, if not all, people would consider themselves to be open-minded. Yet, if you ask someone to name an important belief that they have changed their mind about, in response to evidence and/or logic, most struggle to give even one example.
This is the first in a series of blogs where I describe how and why I changed my mind about something. I hope to encourage myself to change my mind more often. And to encourage others.
Short summary: I now worry less about global warming than I did, the scientific evidence is that it’s not going to be catastrophic. PS Our best course of action is to adapt to the effects and to invest in R&D to develop new low carbon energy.
My initial comments survived the onerous WUWT moderation process and several of them were published without undue delay. The gist of my argument was quite simple:
I even managed to comment when somebody introduced the word “thickness” into the discussion:
Needless to say my good fortune couldn’t last forever, and eventually Anthony himself was on my case:
My request for an explanation has thus far been ignored:
How “unfortunate” it is then, that a couple of days after my “banning” on yet more trumped up charges WUWT published an article by David Middleton entitled “Back to the Anthropocene! Arctic Sea Ice Edition”, telling a familiar tale:
Two key takeaways:
Maximum Holocene sea ice extent occurred within the past 500-1,000 years at every location.
The current sea ice extent is higher at all of the locations than over 50% to 85% of the Holocene.
A significant reduction in Arctic summer sea ice relative to today, would be returning to Early Holocene conditions. If we currently have an “Anthropocene in the Arctic,” it’s actually icier than most of the Holocene’s “Goldilocks conditions.”
David’s article once again neglected to mention Arctic sea ice thickness and/or volume. My plaintive cries were made in vain:
Amongst other things my recent “banning” from Watts Up With That means I am unable to ask David the same question my Arctic alter ego “Snow White” recently put to Down Under’s favourite skeptical senator, Malcolm Roberts:
What were the sea levels in London like at the time @MRobertsQLD? Or Miami, or Manhattan, or Dhaka?
Whilst we await the PIOMAS volume numbers which generally arrive around the 5th of each month, and before we look at graphs of extent, with the refreeze well under way some “measured” thickness maps are coming back! Here’s the first SMOS map this autumn:
Then of course there’s our usual Arctic wide high resolution AMSR2 area and extent graphs:
They reveal both metrics currently still second lowest (in the brief AMSR2 record) after 2012. It looks as though that may well change soon, particularly area.
A marginally off topic excursion down under. The NSIDC 5 day average Antarctic sea extent looks to have peaked at 18.40 million km² on September 30th:
[Edit – October 7th]
The first of the MOSAiC Expedition’s Ice Mass Balance buoys has been installed, presumably on the ice floe Polarstern is moored to. It reveals sea ice that is currently just over 1 meter thick with a sprinkling of snow on top:
P.S MOSAiC IMB buoy #3 has gone live today too:
There’s currently only 0.5 meters of ice under this one.
[Edit – October 9th]
Here’s the latest annual PIOMAS “ice cube” animation from Andy Lee Robinson:
[Edit – October 10th]
Here’s the latest DMI “high Arctic” temperature graph:
Needless to say that means the DMI Freezing Degrees Days graph is tracking the lowest readings in the DMI’s records:
[Edit – October 11th]
MOSAiC IMB buoy #2 has now been installed and is beaming back data:
The sea ice at this location is decidedly on the thin side at present. A mere 20 cm or thereabouts!
Maybe I will discuss more in the next blog but the #Arctic sea ice growth season on the North Pacific side of the Arctic is just nuts, like it is drunk! Looks unprecedented to me. This needs to be watched through the #winter. Already had 2 unprecedented winters in the Bering sea pic.twitter.com/sAVoZXgNAX
“Summer solar heat absorption by the surface waters has increased fivefold over the same time period, chiefly because of reduced sea ice coverage.”
“The effects of an efficient local ice-albedo feedback are thus not confined to the surface ocean/sea ice heat budget but, in addition, lead to increased heat accumulation in the ocean interior that has consequences far beyond the summer season.”
“In the coming years, however, excess Beaufort Gyre halocline heat will give rise to enhanced upward heat fluxes year-round, creating compound effects on the system by slowing winter sea ice growth.”
In September 2019, the German research icebreaker Polarstern will set sail from Tromsø, Norway, to spend a year drifting through the Arctic Ocean – trapped in ice. The goal of the MOSAiC expedition is to take the closest look ever at the Arctic as the epicenter of global warming and to gain fundamental insights that are key to better understand global climate change.
In essence Polarstern will be following in the illustrious footsteps of Tara and Fridtjof Nansen‘s Fram before her, but with vastly more scientists in attendance than previous transpolar drift expeditions.
Hundreds of researchers from 19 countries take part in this exceptional endeavour. The MOSAiC expedition will bring a modern research icebreaker close to the north pole for a full year including for the first time in polar winter. The data gathered will be used by scientists around the globe to take climate research to a completely new level.
The expedition also bears a lot of resemblance to the more recent Norwegian Young Sea ICE Expedition, during which R/V Lance drifted embedded in winter sea ice, albeit nearer the North Atlantic.
The countdown to “the largest polar expedition in history” has begun:
Here’s an infographic to help explain what happens next:
[Edit – September 20th]
The moment has arrived. The countdown is complete and the MOSAiC expedition begins today. According to the expedition web site:
After a decade of preparations, it’s finally time: this evening at 8:30 p.m. the German icebreaker Polarstern will depart from the Norwegian port of Tromsø. Escorted by the Russian icebreaker Akademik Fedorov, she will set sail for the Central Arctic. On board researchers will investigate a region that is virtually inaccessible in winter, and which is crucial for the global climate. They will gather urgently needed data on the interactions between the atmosphere, ocean and sea ice, as well as on the ecosystem. Thanks to the collaboration between international experts, the one-year-long ice drift past the North Pole will take climate research to a completely new level.
At the launch of MOSAiC Markus Rex, Head of the expedition from the Alfred Wegener Institute said that:
This mission is ground breaking. Never before has there been such a complex Arctic expedition. For the first time we will be able to measure the climate processes in the Central Arctic in winter. And so for the first time we will be able to understand this region and correctly represent it in climate models. The Arctic is the epicentre of global warming and has already undergone dramatic changes. And it is the weather kitchen for our weather in Europe. Extreme weather conditions like outbreaks of cold Arctic air here in winter, or heat waves in summer are linked to the changes in the Arctic. At the same time, the uncertainties in our climate models are nowhere bigger than in the Arctic. There aren’t any reliable prognoses of how the Arctic climate will develop further or what that will mean for our weather. Our mission is to change that.
Here’s the Alfred Wegener Institute’s 3 hour plus recording of the send off for Polarstern and Akademik Federov from Tromsø:
Here too are some alternative sources of information about the expedition:
According to an article by Janek Uin from Brookhaven National Laboratory on the United States’ Department of Energy Atmospheric Radiation Measurement web site:
We finally found the piece of ice that will be the home for Polarstern for the next year. It’s a floe a few kilometers in diameter and with thickness ranging from half a meter to a few meters. Several ice floes were surveyed via helicopters from both icebreakers and by teams of scientists taking measurements on ice before a decision to pick this one was made. Now the two icebreakers are tied together as equipment, fuel, and people are transferred between the ships in preparation for deployment. While it’s exciting to see many new faces on Polarstern, we also had to say goodbye to some of the friends we had made on our way here.
There was also a lot of excitement today as two polar bears—a mom with her cub—wandered very close to Polarstern. Everybody who could rushed to the deck to try to capture photos of them in the diminishing daylight.
September is here once again, so the assorted minima of a variety of Arctic sea ice metrics will be reached soon, if they haven’t happened already!
In the latter category let’s first take a look at the NSIDC’s 5 day averaged SSMIS based Arctic sea ice extent:
It looks entirely feasible that the current minimum of 4.29 million square kilometres on September 7th will hold for the rest of the calendar year. The daily NSIDC number is currently 4.24 million km² on September 4th.
By way of contrast the JAXA/ViSHOP AMSR2 based extent hit a new low of 4.11 million km² yesterday:
And what of our much beloved high resolution AMSR2 metrics derived by “Wipneus” from the University of Hamburg’s AMSR2 concentration data? Area certainly looks to be past the minimum for this year, whereas extent is still conceivably capable of another push lower:
The provisional minimum extent for 2019 is 3.80 million km² on September 3rd.
The minimum Arctic sea ice volume generally occurs slightly later than area or extent. The data certainly arrives later! Here’s the PIOMAS graph up to August 31st:
Note that Arctic wide modelled volume is only slightly higher than in 2012 at the same time of year, but there is a noticeably greater percentage gap in extent. That implies that average ice thickness across the Arctic is lower in 2019 than in 2012.
Note also that the thickest ice is no longer located along the north coasts of Greenland and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Here are the equivalent maps for previous years for comparison purposes:
Perhaps JAXA extent will head still lower over the next few days? Perhaps PIOMAS volume will sneak below 2012 before the peripheral refreeze begins?
[Edit – September 13th]
JAXA Arctic sea ice extent has reached a new minimum of 4.09 million km².
NSIDC daily extent is currently 4.28 million km², still just above the September 4th minimum.
[Edit – September 14th]
JAXA Arctic sea ice extent has reached a new minimum of 4.05 million km², which now puts it below the 2007 minimum that occurred somewhat later in September:
[Edit – September 14th PM]
NSIDC 5 day averaged extent has also (by a whisker!) reached a new minimum for the year of 4.285 million km²:
The sea-ice extent in the Arctic is nearing its annual minimum at the end of the melt season in September. Only circa 3.9 million square kilometres of the Arctic Ocean are covered by sea ice any more, according to researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the University of Bremen. This is only the second time that the annual minimum has dropped below four million square kilometres since satellite measurements began in 1979.
[Edit – September 16th]
JAXA/ViSHOP extent has dropped below the 2016 minimum, and now measures 4.01 million km²:
Only 2012 left to beat!
Wipneus’ high resolution AMSR2 extent has also posted a new low for the year, but still has a little way to go before passing 2016:
Area is also currently declining, but is still well away from a new minimum for 2019:
[Edit – September 19th]
After some more modest declines JAXA/ViSHOP extent has just increased marginally from the previous day, and now measures 3.98 million km²:
That puts the (very!) tentative minimum for 2019 at 3.96 million km² on September 17th.
[Edit – September 20th]
The mid month PIOMAS gridded thickness and volume numbers have been released:
As anticipated given recent extent values, the volume difference from 2012 has increased somewhat over the last two weeks.
[Edit – September 23rd]
The National Snow and Ice Data Center have called the 2019 minimum in their latest edition of Arctic Sea Ice News:
On September 18, 2019, sea ice extent dropped to 4.15 million square kilometers (1.60 million square miles), effectively tied for the second lowest minimum in the satellite record along with 2007 and 2016. This appears to be the lowest extent of the year. In response to the setting sun and falling temperatures, ice extent will begin increasing through autumn and winter. However, a shift in wind patterns or a period of late season melt could still push the ice extent lower.
[Edit – September 24th]
To summarise the assorted minimum extent metrics for 2019:
University of Bremen – 3.77 million km² on September 18th, 2nd lowest behind 2012. JAXA/ViSHOP – 3.96 million km² on September 17th, “Statistical tie” with 2016 for 2nd lowest. NSIDC 1 day – 4.10 million km² on September 17th, “Statistical tie” with 2016 for 2nd lowest. NSIDC 5 day – 4.15 million km² on September 18th, 2nd lowest behind 2012.
[Edit – October 1st]
Two sides of the same coin? Sea ice area on the Pacific side of the Arctic has been at historic lows for most of the melting season:
whereas on the Atlantic side:
[Edit – October 7th]
The September monthly numbers have arrived from the NSIDC, together with some intriguing annotations by Walt Meier:
Arctic tours ship MS MALMO with 16 passengers on board got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen, Svalbard Archipelago, halfway between Norway and North Pole. The ship is on Arctic tour with Climate Change documentary film team, and tourists, concerned with Climate Change and melting Arctic ice. All 16 Climate Change warriors were evacuated by helicopter in challenging conditions, all are safe. 7 crew remains on board, waiting for Coast Guard ship assistance.
Something is very wrong with Arctic ice, instead of melting as ordered by UN/IPCC, it captured the ship with Climate Change Warriors.
Not a lot of people know that despite all that purple prose Malmö has somehow managed to emerge unscathed from the clutches of the sea ice on the other side of Svalbard from Longyearbyen:
It will come as no surprise to our regular readers that the web site of our even older friend Anthony Watts has also published the self same story, also without the happy ending.
Whilst it is reasonable to assume that Paul and Anthony are not fluent in Norwegian, it seems they are also unfamiliar with Google. If they had performed the merest modicum of due diligence and employed the services of Google translate before pressing the “publish” button they would have discovered the coverage of the “massive false information” about the Malmö’s story in the Svalbard Post, published on September 5th:
Trygve Monsen and expedition leader Tore Toppe were among the 16 who were evacuated when MS Malmö got stuck in the ice on Tuesday. They respond strongly to what they call misinformation on the right-wing website document.no
Those who were on board MS Malmö have a completely different version of events.
“First, we are not Swedish. We are a group of middle aged Norwegians following the route of the Ahlmann expedition of 1931“, says Trygve Monsen. He himself has worked for the Norwegian press for a long time, particularly Aftenposten, where he has been both digital manager and correspondent in Berlin.
Together with Expedition Chief Tore Topp, Monsen arrived at the Svalbard Post on Thursday. He had tried to contact document.no many times before that, to correct the false information. They also say that they are not climate activists.
“No way. But when you are in the Arctic, and have been here many times over several years, you can’t help but notice what is happening to the environment up here”, says Topp. This is the seventh expedition he has led in the Arctic.
The evacuation of MS Malmö on Tuesday took place without significant drama. The boat was surprised by harsh ice conditions and eventually got stuck. The captain decided to ask for evacuation, for safety. The Governor came by helicopter and after a few minutes all the passengers were evacuated. The crew on the boat remained on board, and later got help from KV “Andenes” to get out of the sea ice.
In other old news the southern route through the Northwest Passage opened on August 15th this year, although with the assistance of the icebreaker CCGS Terry Fox the MS Bremen made it through a few days earlier:
[Edit – September 11th]
MS Malmö is now back in the range of an AIS receiver, whilst apparently en route back to Norway:
[Edit – September 12th]
I ventured onto Twitter this morning, where I discovered Matt Ridley regurgitating the same nonsense about MS Malmö, plus this news from the Norwegian Coastguard:
Kystvakten fikk melding om at MS Malmø trengte assistanse sør i Hinlopen-stredet. Da KV Andenes kom frem til området hadde MS Malmø klart å komme seg løs fra isen i åpen råk. Fartøyet ble eskortert ut av området og MS Malmø går nå for egen maskin tilbake til Longyearbyen. pic.twitter.com/ZFpa6fEmCN
Yet another greenie expedition to the Arctic to raise awareness of ‘global warming’ has been scuppered by unexpected large quantities of ice.
Furthermore James has brought my attention to the fact that my foolish numbering system is out of date. According to his reckoning MS Malmö is actually “Ship of Fools IV”. Mind you he’s also claiming that Northabout was “Ship of Fools II”, which is obviously another porkie pie of epic proportions.
James also repeats the “stuck in ice off Longyearbyen” nonsense. For Donald, James, Paul, Anthony, Matt et al. here’s the current view of all the sea ice off Longyearbyen, via Joss Stone on Twitter:
Wow, this place is stunning. Feel very lucky to be here. Cant wait to share our experiences with you. Now, where can I get a cup of tea? #arcticpic.twitter.com/JpjbS48Ebj
In actual fact there is of course currently less sea ice in the Arctic than in any previous year (in the satellite record) apart from 2012:
[Edit – September 13th]
Today on Twitter I’ve found myself in conversation about #MalmoGate with Ken. He doesn’t say an awful lot, but he appears to think that MS Malmö being “surprised by harsh ice conditions” is significant in some way:
What’s that supposed to prove Ken?
According to #WUWT “MS Malmo… got stuck in ice on Sep 3 off Longyearbyen”
The captain would have been very surprised to encounter such conditions, because that’s unadulterated ballcocks! #MalmoGate
One of the things that is actually significant about the 2019 melting season is quite the reverse of that. The Swedish icebreaker Oden spent a couple of weeks pootling around in the Sherard Osborn Fjord in North Greenland without getting “stuck in the vanishing Arctic ice”:
[Edit – September 14th]
What Ken, Paul Joseph, Donald, James, Paul, Anthony, Matt et al. evidently fail to comprehend is that the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean doesn’t merely expand and contract with the seasons. It also moves. Just in case any of them do get around to doing a modicum of due diligence, take a good long look at this animation of Arctic sea ice age from the September 2015 minimum to the end of August this year:
[Edit – September 15th]
It has just come to my attention that our very old friend Tony Heller (the artist formally known as Steve Goddard) has somewhat belatedly jumped on the MalmoGate bandwagon:
The June PIOMAS Arctic sea ice gridded thickness numbers have been released. Here once again is Wipneus’ visualisation thereof:
The Arctic wide volume graph does not make a pretty sight:
The recent rapid rate of decline has continued through the second half of June and PIOMAS modelled volume is now lowest for the date in the Polar Science Center’s records.
The various methods of measuring Arctic sea ice thickness don’t produce meaningful results during the summer, so let’s move on to area and extent. Arctic wide high resolution AMSR2 area and extent remain “lowest for the date”, although it currently looks as though 2016 may regain that dubious honour in the near future:
Confining the view to the Arctic Basin there is no doubt that 2019’s position will not be in doubt for quite some time:
The apparent discrepancy is explained by taking a closer look at the Atlantic side of the Arctic:
Some of the thicker ice that has continued to be exported from the central Arctic in the direction of the North Atlantic is surviving there, for the moment at least.
In my humble opinion summer in the Arctic summer starts on June 1st, so let’s check the current sea ice situation in the once frozen North. For details of the preconditioning of the ice during the Arctic spring see “Melt Pond May“, where I concluded that:
Compared with 2016 at the same time of year I am compelled to say that with June 1st just around the corner the 2019 summer melting season is primed to progress more quickly.
Currently extent is significantly below 2012, albeit somewhat above 2016 at the same time of year. And what of melt ponds? In 2012 there was evidence of less snow cover over land and more surface water on the ice on the Siberian side of the Arctic. Other than that Arctic sea ice in 2019 looks to be in worse shape than in 2012.
And how have things progressed over the last few days? Take a look at this:
Our “Arctic Basin” metric encompasses the Central Arctic plus the Beaufort, Chukchi, East Siberian and Laptev Seas. It is currently headed into uncharted waters. The effect on overall Arctic sea ice extent is also readily visible:
This year both the CPOM version of CryoSat-2 thickness and the University of Bremen’s SMOS thickness maps are continuing to be published during the melting season:
Take them with a large pinch of salt at this time of year!
Finally, for the moment at least, liquid water is starting to seep out of the Lena Delta:
For comparison purposes please also take a look at the same date in 2016:
and the previous date in 2012:
[Edit – June 4th]
A significant area of the Laptev Sea ice is now turning a much darker shade of blue using the band 7-2-1 false colour combination:
In addition the DMI >80N temperature metric has reached the zero Celsius line well ahead of schedule:
[Edit – June 5th]
The May PIOMAS numbers have been released! Here is the Wipneus generated state of play on May 31st:
Again, as in previous years, the spread in the dynamical models are larger compared with statistical models. Overall, the heuristic method has the lowest projected September sea-ice extent value with a median at 4.09 million square kilometers, and the dynamical models have the highest number with the median at 4.56 million square kilometers.
[Edit – June 23rd]
Arctic wide sea ice area is now lowest for the date in the high resolution AMSR2 record, although extent has yet to follow suit:
If you exclude the peripheral seas, which are all largely ice free by mid September in this day and age, the picture is extremely stark:
A brief glimpse through the clouds reveals that the North Pole is now starting to feel the recent heat:
[Edit – June 27th]
Arctic wide sea ice extent is now lowest for the date in the high resolution AMSR2 record:
Here’s Arctic wide sea ice area, which is still well below the rest of the pack:
[Edit – June 29th]
As the end of the month draws near let’s take a look at sea ice area along a couple of the famous sea routes above the Arctic Circle. First of all here’s the Northern Sea Route, comprising the Kara, Laptev, East Siberian and Chukchi Seas:
Next here’s the Northwest Passage, comprising the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas plus the channels of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago and Baffin Bay:
For completeness here too are the current Arctic wide area and extent numbers:
Al Gore predicted in 2007 that by 2013 the Arctic Ocean would be completely ice free. In the summer of 2012 ice levels did reach all time lows in the Arctic. Emboldened by this report Australian Professor Chris Turney launched an expedition in December of 2013 to prove that the Antarctic Sea Ice was also undergoing catastrophic melting only to have his ship trapped in sea ice such that it could not even be rescued by modern ice-breakers.
The Professor should have known that a more accurate estimate of sea ice can be had from satellite images taken every day at the Poles since 1981. These images show that between summer and winter, regardless of the degree of summer melting, the sea ice completely recovers to its original size the winter before for almost every year since the pictures were taken. The sea ice has been stubbornly resistant to Al Gore’s predictions. In fact the average annual coverage of sea ice has been essentially the same since satellite observations began in 1981. However that has not stopped global warming advocates and even government agencies from cherry picking the data to mislead the public.
I also like to think that I’m something of an expert on the way “skeptical” folks cherry pick the data to mislead the public. For example I once wrote a post about David Rose‘s Mail on Sunday article concerning Al Gore’s interpretation of Prof. Wieslaw Maslowski’s research into Arctic sea ice decline. Hence I felt compelled to comment on this most recent of misleadling WUWT articles about polar ice!
As luck would have it Guy McPherson recently interviewed Wieslaw about events back in 2007 and his more recent research on Arctic sea ice melt. Here is a video recording of their conversation:
I endeavoured to bring this most relevant piece of information to the attention of Anthony’s loyal readership last night (UTC) as follows:
This morning my pertinent comment is still “awaiting moderation”.
That suggests snow cover over land is close to recent lows, which is confirmed by the Rutgers University snow cover anomaly graph for April:
This year is anomalously low, but not by as much as 2012 and 2016. For completeness, here also is the current US National Ice Center snow cover map:
Moving on to melt ponds, there are plenty to be seen on the fast ice around the Mackenzie river delta:
There also seem to be signs of some at a higher latitude off Ostrov Kotelny in the New Siberian Islands:
This year there is also a lot of open water in the Chukchi Sea, and almost no sea ice left in the Bering Sea:
Compared with 2016 at the same time of year I am compelled to say that with June 1st just around the corner the 2019 summer melting season is primed to progress more quickly.
The next obvious comparison to make is with the (in)famous year of 2012, which resulted in the lowest ever minimum extent in the satellite record. Firstly let’s look at the National Snow and Ice Data Center’s graph of Arctic sea ice extent:
Currently extent is significantly below 2012, albeit somewhat above 2016 at the same time of year. And what of melt ponds? In 2012 there was evidence of less snow cover over land and more surface water on the ice on the Siberian side of the Arctic:
Other than that Arctic sea ice in 2019 looks to be in worse shape than in 2012.
[Edit – May 27th]
We’ve established that the extent of Arctic sea ice at the end of May 2019 is less than in 2012, but something else to consider is whether that ice is currently thicker than in 2012, or not. Satellites can have a reasonable stab at measuring the area of sea ice, but the third dimension is much trickier. The European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite has been attempting to measure sea ice thickness since 2010, so let’s take at the conclusions it has reached:
Don’t forget to take a good long look at the associated uncertainties too:
According to Randall’s last but one update he’ll be stopping in St. Johns before heading for the Arctic Circle:
“Have you explained why your first stop is St John’s?” asked a friend recently, “Not New York, Boston, Camden, Lunenberg, Halifax, to name just, well, five?”
It is a good question, and the answer is simple: I never considered going anywhere else because a) St John’s is decidedly on the Figure 8 route and b) it has the required marine facilities and big grocery stores. And did I mention, it’s right on the route?
Actually, I did flirt briefly with the idea of Boston, thinking that goods there would be cheaper and marine facilities, more diverse. And though it does save some 500 miles of sailing on this inbound leg, Boston is so far west that it adds 1,000 miles to the leg up to the Arctic. So, I’ve decided to stick to the most logical stop.
St. John’s is less than a thousand miles north now. In any worthy wind, we’d be there before the end of the month. But when your average speed is 3.9 knots…you don’t do the when-do-we-make-port math.
Interestingly the background to Moli’s live tracking map is from Windy.com.
[Edit – June 10th]
It’s very early in the melting season to be reporting on this event, but any early bird traversing the Northwest Passage from west to east could now sail through open water around Point Barrow, along the Alaskan and Canadian coast and into the Amundsen Gulf. Here’s the latest sea ice concentration chart for Alaskan waters from the US National Weather Service:
Whilst we’re here why don’t we take a look at how Randall is getting along in Moli. According to his latest blog post he is now in Halifax scraping barnacles off Moli’s bottom!
On Friday, June 8, day 245 of the Figure 8 Voyage, I hauled Mo here at the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron. My expectations were that the bum would be nearly spotless. Instead, we had a new crop of hitchhikers coming in at the base of those older barnacles that remained.
Lessons Learned: “There is no good bottom paint for aluminum boats,” says my friend, fellow cruiser, and aluminum boat builder, Gerd Marggraff. Prior to departure, I had applied three generous coats of a bottom paint known specifically to ward off hard growth, but barnacles are superior beings, able to penetrate even the best defenses.
An early jump. I might have had an easier time of it if I’d dived the hull before the first Cape Horn rounding, when the barnacles were young and few.
In hindsight, I think I could have dived the hull with some success, even when the barnacles had matured into a reef. I found here in the yard that the “hold fast” (the glue that holds the barnacle fast to the hull) was easier to remove with a sharpened spatula than I had thought. It would have been a big job, taking a full day or more–but not impossible.
[Edit – June 15th]
Delving deeper into the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the clouds have cleared over “Amundsen’s Route” through the Northwest Passage to reveal extensive melt ponding:
Bellot Strait appears to be largely free of sea ice already:
[Edit – August 16th]
After a tense wait Bellot Strait has recently become blocked by 9/10 concentration sea ice but the southern route through the Northwest Passage via Peel Sound is now open to any vessel willing to cope with 6/10 concentration or less: