Bye Bye Ice. Maybe life too?

Not my original reporting. My friend Harry brought this to my attention. He’s warned me to warn you of the usual Caveats (it might be a misunderstanding from the charter company, it might not really be what I think it is, the fact that the scientific data doesn’t agree with the pictures doesn’t mean the pictures are right, etc).

The above is a picture of an exploration ship from Mosaic. They’ve been doing tours of the Arctic in recent years, and when they get near the spot on the ice that’s ostensibly over the geographic location of the North Pole, the boat pulls up and everybody gets off and gets their picture standing on the North Pole.

Except this year they can’t. A press release from the company explains it.

At 12:45 pm on 19 August 2020 the German research icebreaker Polarstern reached the North Pole. The ship followed a route to the north of Greenland – and through a region that, in the past, was densely covered with ice, including multiyear ice. The journey from the northern Fram Strait to the Pole only took six days to complete. To mark this momentous event, countless members of the expedition team gathered on the bridge, where their eyes were glued to the position monitors, and then celebrated having reached the Pole together. 

Sounds pretty chipper, right? But the press release goes on…

This year satellite imagery indicated that, even past 87° North, the ice cover was surprisingly loose. Accordingly, MOSAiC Expedition Leader Prof Markus Rex and Polarstern Captain Thomas Wunderlich decided to head north, starting from the position of the last resupply rendezvous in the northern Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard. “Up until 87° 30’ North, for the most part we passed through open water, in some cases stretching to the horizon,” recalls Prof Markus Rex from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. “Based on the satellite imagery, at first we weren’t sure whether the loose ice cover was due to wind and currents, and were concerned that, if it was, a change in weather conditions could compact it again. Then we would have been caught in a mousetrap, and could have become trapped in the ice,” reports the MOSAiC Expedition Leader, who had previously reached the North Pole on board a research aircraft, in 2000. Once in the region, however, they found that much of the sea ice truly had melted away, and hadn’t simply been broken up by the wind. This is yet another unique phenomenon that was observed and investigated during MOSAiC, following the substantially accelerated melting rates in the Siberian sector in July.   

In Short, summing up, the ice on top of the North Pole is gone. And the ice that would have made this trip difficult (as it has been in the past) is also gone. and it MELTED.

A picture of the North Pole from 2018. people are standing on SOLID ICE. Same location. Here’s the brochure it’s from. https://expeditionsonline.com/blog/can-you-go-north-pole

If you’e been paying attention to the news from the climate group, you’d know what this is all about. Once the ice is gone from the Arctic, many expect our climate will go into runaway heating. The ‘warming’ season has until October, when the ice is supposed to begin to come back. But looking at this picture (and some of the other science documents about the Pole), there’s no ice to come back.

If I had the nerve, I’d drop a note to the company to confirm. Right now I’m busy crying. I hope this is a misunderstanding.

You should do them really, really soon.

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