Sailboat navigates once-frozen Arctic waterway

Sep 11, 2012
A photo released in 2007 by the European Space Agency shows an Envisat ASAR image of the McClure Strait in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. A three-man sailing expedition for the first time has navigated the once-frozen Northwest Passage, a perilous Arctic route made accessible only because of melting caused by global warming.

A three-man sailing expedition for the first time has navigated the once-frozen Northwest Passage, a perilous Arctic route made accessible only because of melting caused by global warming.

The Swedish sailboat, the 9.4 meter (31 foot) Belzebub II, navigated through McClure Strait, northernmost waterway on the edge of the Canadian Northwest Territories.

The crew—American Morgan Peissel, Canadian Nicolas Peissel and the Swedish owner of the vessel, Edvin Buregren, 35—said it was the first time that a vessel other than an icebreaker had breached the passage.

They chronicled their three month long expedition on their website belzebub2.com.

The voyage took them from Newfoundland, Canada to Greenland and through the , on their quest to document the rapidly dwindling and to bring awareness to the .

"By sailing this newly-opened route we hope that our expedition will play a small part in bringing further attention to climate change and contributing to a larger shift in attitudes," they wrote on their site.

"The Arctic is melting at an alarming rate and is clear proof of our disharmony with the planet," they wrote.

"Our approach to sail across a historical stretch of water that has traditionally been frozen is meant to be a clear visual example of the extent of declining polar ice."

The vessel is due to sail into Nome, Alaska, on Wednesday.

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VendicarD
2.8 / 5 (11) Sep 11, 2012
Another nail in the coffin of Republican, Anti-Science, Global Warming Denialists.
GuruShabu
2.1 / 5 (14) Sep 12, 2012
Vendicar, you should read more and state less.
The "Northern Passage" has multiple records of ships crossing it since the 18th century.
This article is a very good example on how "pseudo science" tries to bend the truth with sensationalistic news like this one.
VendicarD
4 / 5 (12) Sep 12, 2012
The North West passage is rarely been navigated due to heavy pack ice, although it has with increasing frequency been navigated by ice breakers.

The first navigation in the 1800's took 3 years.

Now due to warming it is so open that a sailboat glides through.

"A three-man sailing expedition for the first time has navigated the once-frozen Northwest Passage, a perilous Arctic route made accessible only because of melting caused by global warming." - Article

"The "Northern Passage" has multiple records of ships crossing it since the 18th century." - GuruTard
SteveS
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 12, 2012
The "Northern Passage" has multiple records of ships crossing it since the 18th century.


I think you may be confusing the Northwest Passage with the Northern Sea Route, also called the Northeast Passage.

The Northeast Passage was first traversed in 1878 by Nils Nordenskiöld. The Northwest Passage was first crossed between 1903 and 1906 by Roald Amundsen via the Rae Strait.

The fact that a sailboat can now make the journey in three months is big news, and not at all sensationalistic.

thermodynamics
3.5 / 5 (8) Sep 12, 2012
Guru: You said: "The "Northern Passage" has multiple records of ships crossing it since the 18th century." Can you please give us a URL with a reference or two so we can verify your claim? I recall the situation being more as SteveS is saying.

You also said: "This article is a very good example on how "pseudo science" tries to bend the truth with sensationalistic news like this one."

Unless you can give us examples of your claim of multiple crossings "since the 18th Century" it looks like you might be the one "bending the truth." I am waiting to see what you come up with for references. I always like learning new things.
gmurphy
5 / 5 (8) Sep 12, 2012
Roald Amundsen first traversed the Northwest Passage in 1906, the journey took 3 years, during 2 of which the ship was iced in. http://en.wikiped..._Passage
GuruShabu
2.2 / 5 (10) Sep 12, 2012
Thanks gmurphy.
You can find a trove of references here:
http://www.ouslan...10/4259/
http://junkscience.com/
And I would recommend reading this book:
http://www.amazon...96985852
Just to have a taste on hom much manipulated the media is by $$$ interest.
BTW, Vendicar, I do believe arrogance is proportional to ignorance in inversely proportional to square of intelligence.
Why you always have to behave like a monkey?
Courtesy and kindness get better results.
and here:
SteveS
4.5 / 5 (8) Sep 12, 2012
The "Northern Passage" has multiple records of ships crossing it since the 18th century

You can find a trove of references here:


None of your links support your statement
rubberman
3.9 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2012
Guru - "BTW, Vendicar, I do believe arrogance is proportional to ignorance in inversely proportional to square of intelligence."

It is neither courteous,nor kind, nor intelligent to make a false claim...twice. As Steve said, none of your links support your statement. (they appear to be anti-science/anti environment propaganda sources) If you have no verifiable account of anyone crossing the northwest passage prior to the 3 year journey of amundsen (or the multiple journeys you claim), then it's pretty clear who the monkey is....

GuruShabu
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 12, 2012
Guru - "BTW, Vendicar, I do believe arrogance is proportional to ignorance in inversely proportional to square of intelligence."

It is neither courteous,nor kind, nor intelligent to make a false claim...twice. As Steve said, none of your links support your statement. (they appear to be anti-science/anti environment propaganda sources) If you have no verifiable account of anyone crossing the northwest passage prior to the 3 year journey of amundsen (or the multiple journeys you claim), then it's pretty clear who the monkey is....


Rubberman, Did you browse the Green Hell book?
I think you should read it because I did and it presents substantial references and sources.
rubberman
4.3 / 5 (6) Sep 13, 2012
I read the description of the contents. Essentially the agenda of the "green movement". I laughed. Just in the description of contents alone it is clear that the book is written from the point of view of the financial upper class. The freedoms he is claiming will be lost to the "green movement" are either non existent already or are going to be lost regardless of what governments are in power. The book is appears to be more of a manual on how to live like an ignorant asshole. Case in point, controlling the temperature of your shower? From a global standpoint, 15% of the population has access to the type of shower he is talking about. The other 85% would rather drink the water and water their crops. The book has no global perspective. Still waiting on Northwest passage multiple crossing vessel list as well GS.
NotParker
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 13, 2012
I think if you read their account, the only reason thy made it is because tiny narrow passages over shallow water opened up because the wind blew the ice away from shore.

A normal ship would never have made it.

"The small lead was only a few miles wide with the cliffs of Banks Island on one side and a wall of thick multiyear ice to the other. We had to navigate through varying ice concentrations and there was a constant concern about hitting an underwater obstacle so close to land"

http://belzebub2.com/?lang=en
VendicarD
4 / 5 (8) Sep 13, 2012
Here is a nice plot of Northwest passage transits per year.

http://www.skepti...sits.png

Poor Guru. He seems to have lost touch with reality.

GaryB
4.2 / 5 (5) Sep 15, 2012
Another nail in the coffin of Republican, Anti-Science, Global Warming Denialists.


NEVER! Years from now as the tides have submerged Florida, a few survivors clinging to floating wreckage will still fervently believe that the expense of trying to fix it is too much for the economy to bear, especially "now" (in the future) when it's all literally underwater.
Vendicar Dickarian
1.6 / 5 (7) Sep 15, 2012
Here is a nice plot of Northwest passage transits per year.

http://www.skepti...sits.png

Poor Guru. He seems to have lost touch with reality.



Not sure why you're getting your panties in a bunch buddy boy. Personally, I'm hopeful that I can finally make that walk across the Bering Strait. Any day now.
GSwift7
4.5 / 5 (4) Sep 19, 2012
The following wiki page on the Northwest Passage seems to indicate that the above article is not accurate in regard to this being a "first" achievement.

http://en.wikiped..._Passage

It says that the vikings are known to have crossed it several centuries ago, before the little ice age froze it over. It also lists several years when one or more of the routs have been clear enough for safe commercial shipping without an icebreaker. The passage has been clear enough for small non-commercial vessels many times though.

The story above seems to actually be a mis-quote. The web site of the expedition actually claims that they made "the most northern crossing of the Northwest Passage in a sailboat", not the first. There are several possible routs, and one or more of them may be open or partially open from year to year. This is the first time anyone has reportedly taken such a far northern route in a sailboat.
SteveS
5 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2012
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage

It says that the vikings are known to have crossed it several centuries ago, before the little ice age froze it over.


The wiki artical says "the Vikings sailed as far north and west as Ellesmere Island, Skraeling Island and Ruin Island" which are at the Greenland end of the Northwest Passage so they did not even make it to the western entrance.
GSwift7
4.3 / 5 (3) Sep 19, 2012
The wiki artical says "the Vikings sailed as far north and west as Ellesmere Island, Skraeling Island and Ruin Island" which are at the Greenland end of the Northwest Passage so they did not even make it to the western entrance


Perhaps I'm wrong here, but don't those areas normally freeze in the winter? If you don't want to call that part of the northwest passage, then that's fine with me. I don't really care. Either way, it isn't relevant to the discussion about whether the above story is accurate or not, because modern people certainly have sailed it. They did mis-quote the original source above.
SteveS
not rated yet Sep 19, 2012
Perhaps I'm wrong here, but don't those areas normally freeze in the winter? If you don't want to call that part of the northwest passage, then that's fine with me. I don't really care. Either way, it isn't relevant to the discussion about whether the above story is accurate or not, because modern people certainly have sailed it. They did mis-quote the original source above.

SteveS
5 / 5 (1) Sep 19, 2012
Sorry about the previous blank post

Perhaps I'm wrong here, but don't those areas normally freeze in the winter? If you don't want to call that part of the northwest passage, then that's fine with me. I don't really care. Either way, it isn't relevant to the discussion about whether the above story is accurate or not, because modern people certainly have sailed it. They did mis-quote the original source above.


My only issue with your post was your belief that the wiki artical claimed that the Vikings had crossed the Northwest Passage several centuries ago which was incorrect. With regard to the story mis-quoting the original source you are right. Starting with Amundsen in 1903 a number of Sailboats have crossed it, this voyage was only exceptional because it was the first to do so via the McClure Strait which until recently has been impassable to small vessels.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Sep 20, 2012
the McClure Strait which until recently has been impassable


Pretty amazing how far the ice receded this year. I don't think any of the agencies that produce predictions of minimum extent called for numbers this low, and I can't tell by looking at the graphs whether it has reached minimum yet.
SteveS
5 / 5 (1) Sep 21, 2012
Pretty amazing how far the ice receded this year. I don't think any of the agencies that produce predictions of minimum extent called for numbers this low, and I can't tell by looking at the graphs whether it has reached minimum yet.


"The SEARCH Sea Ice Outlook is an international effort to provide a community-wide summary of the expected September arctic sea ice minimum. Monthly reports released throughout the summer synthesize community estimates of the current state and expected minimum of sea ice—at both a pan-arctic and regional scale"

http://www.arcus....2/august

I think this year caught everybody by surprise
thermodynamics
3 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
OK, I'll play. I thought it would be good to see what the "Guru" of climate denialists - Anthony Watt produced for his estimate and contribution to the SEARCH sea ice outlook. You can find his estimate here:

http://wattsupwit...bmitted/

He posted his estimate as 4.9 million square km. And, he did that in June, just a few months before the September low. I have to know how the "all knowing" Watt could miss by that number. What happened to make his estimate one of the higher estimates. Oh, maybe it is his lack of a science based approach? In fact, at the bottom of his page he admits his "forcast skill" = none.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
He posted his estimate as 4.9 million square km. And, he did that in June, just a few months before the September low. I have to know how the "all knowing" Watt could miss by that number. What happened to make his estimate one of the higher estimates.


It's an open poll. He just does it for fun, and the number submitted is the range that got the most votes in the poll. I participated in that poll. There were three ranges that got the vast majority of the votes. The 4.9 range was the highest of the three. The range just below that was third highest and the lowest of the three was in second place. I voted for the lowest of those three ranges, but the actual extent this year ended up below that.

There are articles at the NOAA/NSIDC web site that explain why this year surprised everyone and didn't follow any of the models. If I can find one I'll post a link in a follow-up post.
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2012
Well, I don't see the article I was looking for. They will have a comprehensive summary of the season in October. Their main page says that the arctic was actually cooler this year than it was in the previous record melt season, 2007. They mentioned over-all thinning of the seasonal ice in combination with an unusually strong storm in August. It's interesting that this year the melt was distributed differently than other record melt seasons, especially 2007, when the northwest passage did not open.

I suspect that the unusually large fresh water influx on the Russian side of the Arctic played a strong roll this year. That should have changed the flow of currents into and out of the Atlantic and Pacific.

I'll be watching for the report because I'm curious why this year was so different.
thermodynamics
2.3 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2012
GSwift7: Let us know when you see the summary. I have posted a couple of times that I learned a lot about the arctic situation from you (particularly the influence of winds). You are about the only person who leans to the natural sources instead of human induced who actually knows what he is talking about. We put up with NotParker, Unatuba and others who just toss out drivel. You put your money where you mouth is and even participate in something like the polls here. Keep us informed of what you find out about the unusual melt year. Thanks for following up.

I knew Watt's entry was based on his poll, but I thought I would toss it out for fun after NP's ridiculus comments on the Northwest Passage. I have never seen anyone other than you say something like "perhaps I'm wrong here." I will continue to follow your posts with interests while I will continue to dig deep to use facts to counter idiots like NP. Science will reveal the truth.
NotParker
1 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2012
GSwift7: Let us know when you see the summary. I have posted a couple of times that I learned a lot about the arctic situation from you (particularly the influence of winds). You are about the only person who leans to the natural sources instead of human induced who actually knows what he is talking about. We put up with NotParker, Unatuba and others who just toss out drivel. You put your money where you mouth is and even participate in something like the polls here. Keep us informed of what you find out about the unusual melt year. Thanks for following up.

I knew Watt's entry was based on his poll, but I thought I would toss it out for fun after NP's ridiculus comments on the Northwest Passage. I have never seen anyone other than you say something like "perhaps I'm wrong here." I will continue to follow your posts with interests while I will continue to dig deep to use facts to counter idiots like NP. Science will reveal the truth.


What was ridiculous?
GSwift7
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2012
GSwift7: Let us know when you see the summary.


Sure thing.

You are about the only person who leans to the natural sources instead of human induced


I see natural sources in addition to human, not really instead of.

You know one thing I see as striking? The differences between northern and southern hemisphere. North has most of the industry, population, and human land use changes. South has a much larger portion of ocean surface. Arctic is setting new record lows, while antarctic is showing mass balance gains. Since that seems to be a semi-persistent diffence, that should tell us some things.
thermodynamics
3.7 / 5 (3) Sep 21, 2012
NP said:
I think if you read their account, the only reason thy made it is because tiny narrow passages over shallow water opened up because the wind blew the ice away from shore.

A normal ship would never have made it.

"The small lead was only a few miles wide with the cliffs of Banks Island on one side and a wall of thick multiyear ice to the other. We had to navigate through varying ice concentrations and there was a constant concern about hitting an underwater obstacle so close to land"

http://belzebub2.com/?lang=en


NP: You asked: "What was ridiculous?" Here it is. They made it in a small sail boat and you come up with this specious argument about why it is not relavent. Almost any large ship could have made it. This was a news worthy article because it was a small sailing vessel
ValeriaT
1 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2012
Another nail in the coffin of Republican, Anti-Science, Global Warming Denialists.
Not so fast, the melting of polar ice caps is not evidence of anthropogenic global warming at all. The Antarctica was once covered with rain forest. The signs of global warming occur at many other planets of solar system too. Your schematic biased approach and blind labeling of everything in your sight is more close to stance of radical conservatives, than you may think. Actually we may find many imbeciles at both sides of GW controversy.
thermodynamics
3 / 5 (2) Sep 21, 2012
GSwift7 said:
"You know one thing I see as striking? The differences between northern and southern hemisphere. North has most of the industry, population, and human land use changes. South has a much larger portion of ocean surface. Arctic is setting new record lows, while antarctic is showing mass balance gains. Since that seems to be a semi-persistent diffence, that should tell us some things."

I agree and I think it would be a great topic for someone to follow up on. I have seen some information on the expected differences but I have not seen explicit studies on those issues. From what I have read they do expect Antartica to respond differently because it is a continent surrounded by an ocean while the Arctic is the oposite. The Antarctic also started colder so it should take longer to heat up to melting. However, those are generalities and I would like to see more specifics. Let me know if you run across more.
NotParker
1 / 5 (5) Sep 21, 2012
Almost any large ship could have made it.


"and there was a constant concern about hitting an underwater obstacle so close to land"

So a tiny little sailboat was worried about grounding and you claim any ship could have made it?

Nonsense.