September 15, 2013

The Great White Con Continues

After last weekend's performance the Mail on Sunday have today hosted yet another edition of the David and Judy show. David Rose's headline for this week reads:

Global warming is just HALF what we said: World's top climate scientists admit computers got the effects of greenhouse gases wrong.

This new article also refers back to this time last week, saying:

The Mail on Sunday’s report last week that Arctic ice has had a massive rebound this year from its 2012 record low was followed up around the world – and recorded 174,200 Facebook ‘shares’, by some distance a record for an article on the MailOnline website.

But the article and its author also became the object of extraordinarily vitriolic attacks from climate commentators who refuse to accept any evidence that may unsettle their view of the science.
A Guardian website article claimed our report was ‘delusional’ because it ignored what it called an ‘Arctic death spiral’ caused by global warming.

Beneath this, some readers who made comments had their posts removed by the site moderator, because they ‘didn’t abide by our community standards’.

I was one of those "commentators" that "had [some of] their posts removed by the site moderator". This is what one of my comments that failed to impress the Mail's moderators looked like:

A comment missing from the Mail Online, posted at 15:04 on September 8th 2013

A comment missing from the Mail Online, posted at 15:04 on September 8th 2013

This didn't appear on the Mail Online, it didn't strike me as being "libellous or abusive" either, and it's certainly not "extraordinarily vitriolic" .  Hence the following day I sent the following email to the Managing Editor of the Mail Online:

Subject: Mail Online moderation policy

Date: 09/09/2013 17:42

Hello Rhiannon,

I'm assured that the buck concerning the above subject stops on your desk. I tried phoning you earlier today, and eventually ended up leaving a message on Lucy's voicemail. No response as yet though, hence this email!

To summarise, I'm trying to discover the Mail Online moderation policy. As far as I can tell I abide by the house rules, but a number of my comments have failed to appear. Including a link certainly doesn't seem to help, but even without some don't get through. Can you enlighten me about what's going on behind the scenes?

For additional background see for example this recent "tweet" of mine -  https://twitter.com/jim_hunt/statuses/376729633992884224

Thanks in advance,

Jim Hunt

I have yet to receive any response to that email, or to the various questions I have put to David Rose via a number of different avenues. In today's article David Rose has the temerity to state that:

Another assault was mounted by Bob Ward, spokesman for the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at the London School  of Economics. Mr Ward tweeted that the article was ‘error-strewn’.

The eminent US expert Professor Judith Curry, who unlike Mr Ward is a climate scientist with a long list of  peer-reviewed publications to  her name, disagreed.

On her blog Climate Etc she defended The Mail on Sunday, saying the article contained ‘good material’, and issued a tweet which challenged Mr Ward to say what these ‘errors’ were.

He has yet to reply.

Please join me in rearranging the following well known phrase or saying:

The black pot is calling the kettle.

As if further proof is needed to support that assertion, here is what another comment of mine posted earlier today that has thus far failed to emerge from the Mail Online's moderation queue looks like:

The facts of the matter are that the increase in Arctic sea ice extent compared to "this time last year" was just HALF of what David Rose said in the Mail on Sunday this time last week:

http://GreatWhiteCon.info/2013/09/a-million-square-miles/

Here's the thing. You don't need to be a climate scientist like Judy to work out that David Rose is just a fairground performer. You only need to be able to work out the difference between half a million and one million:

Filed under Politics by

September 12, 2013

"Biblical" Floods in Boulder Close NSIDC

Following up a line of research suggested to me by The Telegraph earlier today I followed a link to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center. This is the sight that greeted me:

NSIDC closed because of flooding on September 12th 2013

NSIDC closed because of flooding on September 12th 2013

Not only are the NSIDC offices closed for the day, but so is their web site. I currently cannot access the data I was searching for. According to the BBC:

Flooding from a fast-moving storm in Colorado has killed three people and led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes.

Many roads are closed because of high water and debris, preventing rescue crews from reaching the stranded.

Up to 7in (17cm) of rain fell in three hours in the Boulder area on Thursday morning, the third day of rain.

According to Tom Yulsman at Discover magazine:

The Satellite Blog of the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies has just posted some dramatic remote sensing imagery of the continuing deluge here in Colorado. And in the explanation of what’s been happening, the author of the post, Scott Lindstrom, concluded that the extraordinary amount of rainfall we’ve experienced here in the Boulder area “could be classified as a 1,000-year event.”

But could it really be something that occurs only once in a thousand years? Earlier in the day, the National Weather Service did say that “biblical rainfall amounts” have been reported. So it’s clear that the deluge here has been impressing the experts.

Here's how that deluge looked from space (click for a larger version):

GOES-15 and GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor animation (Image CIMSS)

GOES-15 and GOES-13 6.5 µm water vapor animation (Image CIMSS)

Atmospheric rivers are supposed to occur on west facing coasts, but in this case all that water has managed to work its way inland:

A monsoonal flow like this is not unusual in Colorado — during the heart of the summer. But it usually dissipates by late Labor Day. This year it has not. Instead, it has been on steroids.

Add to that an anticyclonic circulation (clockwise) in the Midwest. This has been pushing water vapor into the Front Range region as well.

In other words, two circulation patterns have come together in just the right way and just the right time to draw large amounts of water vapor into Colorado.

Tom's conclusion?

It’s not over yet.

Filed under Climate by

The Russian Northern Fleet Takes "A Trek" Along the Northern Sea Route

According to the Russian language web site "TV Star" (with the aid of Google Translate, plus a bit of poetic licence on my part):

On the personal order of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu troop ships of the Northern Fleet, led by the cruiser "Peter the Great" are making a trip through the Arctic. They have already passed the Kara Gate – between the islands of Novaya Zemlya and Vaygach. During the trek the crews of the missile cruiser and of the large amphibious ships "Olenegorsky miner" and "Kondopoga" will be improving seamanship and getting trained in rescue operations in the Arctic regions.

The Northern Fleet have just missed a great training opportunity, since according to the Barents Observer they have just sailed strait past the stricken diesel tanker Nordvik, accompanied by no less than four nuclear icebreakers!

A group consisting of ten different vessels from the Northern Fleet and led by the heavy missile cruiser "Peter the Great" yesterday sailed through the Matisen Strait north of the Taymyr Peninsula. The group was escorted by no less than four of Atomflot’s nuclear-powered icebreakers, among them the two largest and most powerful icebreakers in the world, “50 Years of Victory” and “Yamal”. Also the two shallow-water nuclear icebreakers “Vaygach” and “Taymyr” were put in to escort the world’s largest battlecruiser through the crumbling ice.

Nuclear icebreakers escorting Russia's heavy missile cruiser "Peter the Great" along the Northern Sea Route. (Photo: mil.ru)

Nuclear icebreakers escorting Russia's heavy missile cruiser "Peter the Great" along the Northern Sea Route. (Photo: mil.ru)

Click the image to watch a Russian language video of them all in action. According to "TV Star" once again:

The fourth "Peter the Great"  in a row is a third generation heavy nuclear missile cruiser. In 2011 it was the world's largest non aircraft carrier shock warship. Its main purpose – the destruction of  enemy aircraft carrier groups.

It rather sounds as though ministering to tankers in distress isn't part of Peter's job description!

Filed under Politics by

September 10, 2013

The Yong Sheng docks in Rotterdam as the Nordvik is holed on the Northern Sea Route

As econnexus.org reported back in March:

The Russians and Chinese [are] obviously extremely keen on the idea of saving many billions (and hence making many billions!) of dollars by shipping many billions of tonnes of stuff across the Arctic Ocean in the very near future.

As the Financial Times reported on August 11th:

A Chinese cargo ship is attempting the country’s first ever commercial transit of the Northeast Passage above Russia, as a changing climate opens a short-cut that promises to reduce shipping times between China and Europe.

The Yong Sheng, a 19,000-tonne vessel operated by state-owned Cosco Group, set sail on August 8 from Dalian, a port in northeastern China, bound for Rotterdam. According to an announcement on Cosco’s website, the journey via the Bering Strait could shave as much as 15 days off the traditional route through the Suez Canal and Mediterranean Sea.

According to MarineTraffic the Yong Sheng reached Rotterdam earlier this afternoon, having just sailed south through the North Sea:

The Yong Sheng approaches Rotterdam on September 10th 2013

The Yong Sheng approaches Rotterdam on September 10th 2013

Meanwhile the Barents Observer reports today that:

The 6403 tonne dead weight tanker "Nordvik”  hit an ice floe and started taking in water while sailing the Northern Sea Route (NSR) last week. The tanker was fully loaded with diesel oil. As a result of the collision with the ice floe, the tanker got a hole in one of the ballast tanks and started taking in water. The hole has been plugged with a cement box and the water ingress has stopped. The vessel is now drifting in the Matisen Strait, where the accident happened, waiting for another tanker to come and take the cargo.

The tanker acted in violation of the permit given by the NSR administration by entering waters with medium ice conditions without being escorted by an icebreaker. The ship owner Khatanga Commercial Port is negotiating with nuclear icebreaker operator Atomflot to have the tanker escorted to port in Khatanga. There is still no information about any leakage of oil.

According to the BBC last month:

One of Russia's remotest regions is a haven for wildlife. The Taimyr Peninsula is the most northerly piece of land in the world that is still attached to a continent. Only a few Arctic islands and parts of Greenland are further north.

As shipping through the Russian Arctic increases, the biggest bottleneck is at the northern tip of the Taimyr at Cape Chelyuskin. Near the cape the sea ice lingers the longest into late summer and early autumn.

This weekend the Mail on Sunday told its readers that "an unbroken ice sheet… already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores." It seems as though some people will do anything to earn a quick buck or two!

Filed under Economics by

Humberto Forecast to Become First Atlantic Hurricane of 2013 Later Today

After a very long wait it looks as though the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2013 season will be announced later today. Currently Humberto is a mere tropical storm, but according to the latest National Hurricane Centre public advisory bulletin:

AT 0900 UTC THE CENTER OF TROPICAL STORM HUMBERTO WAS LOCATED NEAR LATITUDE 14.4 NORTH, LONGITUDE 26.6 WEST. HUMBERTO IS MOVING TOWARD THE WEST-NORTHWEST NEAR 9 MPH (15 KM/H). A TURN TO THE NORTHWEST WITH A DECREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED LATER TODAY, FOLLOWED BY A TURN TO THE NORTH ON WEDNESDAY.

MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 65 MPH (100 KM/H) WITH HIGHER GUSTS. ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS EXPECTED, AND HUMBERTO IS FORECAST TO BECOME A HURRICANE LATER TODAY.

TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 80 MILES (130 KM) FROM THE CENTER. THE ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 998 MB (29.47 INCHES).

Here's what Humberto's 5 day forecast track looks like at the moment:

NHC forecast track for Tropical Storm Humberto at 05:00 EDT on Tuesday September 10th, 2013

NHC forecast track for Tropical Storm Humberto at 05:00 EDT on Tuesday September 10th, 2013

and so the NHC thankfully currently reports:

HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND – NONE

However in other news from the NHC this morning, they are now issuing new advisories about Gabrielle. According to the latest one:

GABRIELLE REGENERATES INTO A TROPICAL STORM SOUTH OF BERMUDA. TROPICAL STORM WARNING IN EFFECT FOR BERMUDA.

This is the current forecast track for Tropical Storm Gabrielle:

NHC forecast track for Tropical Storm Gabrielle at 05:00 EDT on Tuesday September 10th, 2013

NHC forecast track for Tropical Storm Gabrielle at 05:00 EDT on Tuesday September 10th, 2013

Filed under Climate by

September 9, 2013

The Mail is Being Economical With the Truth About Arctic Sea Ice

This weekend The Mail Online published a story purporting to explain how "How [the Arctic] Ice Sheet Grew 920,000 Square Miles In A Year". The story was written by David Rose, so of course it did nothing of the sort!  We've come across Mr. Rose before, when he regurgitated one of his "Great Green Con" stories earlier this year, so now let's take a closer look at his most recent "Great White Con". I quote David's opening words of "wisdom":

A chilly Arctic summer has left nearly a million more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 60 per cent.

The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013.

Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores.

Below this is a graphic. On the left is an image purporting to show the Arctic in "August 2012". The caption reads "This NASA satellite image shows the ice at the smallest extent on record". Needless to say Mr. Rose doesn't reveal the sources of his information, but here's a relevant one:

As you can plainly see, according to the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC for short) the annual minimum Arctic sea ice extent occurs in September, and "the smallest extent on record" occurred in September 2012, not August. Later on in the Mail article a remarkably similar image is labelled "Aug 27, 2012". Maybe that's correct? Maybe not!

Going back up to the first graphic in the Mail article, the right hand side purports to show the Arctic in "August 2013". Later on a remarkably similar image is labelled "Aug 15, 2013". Maybe that's correct? Maybe not!

Which ever way you like to spin it it certainly looks as though Mr. Rose isn't comparing like with like. Maybe one reason for that is because this is what the Arctic sea ice "looked" like by August 27th 2013:

Satellite image of the Arctic Sea Ice on August 27th 2013 - Click for a video!

Satellite image of the Arctic Sea Ice on August 27th 2013 - Click for a video!

That picture was created from an image generated by the University of Bremen using data from the AMSR2 sensor on board the Japanese SHIZUKU satellite. Click on the image above to see an animation revealing how the area covered by ice in the Arctic changed between August 15th and 27th. Note that the substantial "hole" in the Arctic sea ice that had developed near the North Pole by August 27th is strangely absent from any of the images in the Mail Online article. Note also that the edge of the  ice and "Russia’s northern shores" (off the image at the top) are in fact quite far apart, and that a variety of ships from a variety of nations (including China) are currently traversing the Northern Sea Route as we speak. Should you or David Rose prefer to see a "visual" image of the Arctic sea ice on August 27th 2013 rather than a "microwave" one, the NASA Worldview web site helpfully provides such a thing. This is what it reveals:

A view of the Arctic from the Aqua satellite on August 27th 2013

A view of the Arctic from the Aqua satellite on August 27th 2013

Moving on down the page at The Mail, next we are informed that:

The Northwest Passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific has remained blocked by pack-ice all year. More than 20 yachts that had planned to sail it have been left ice-bound.

As our regular readers will know here at econnexus.org we have been following events in the Northwest Passage very closely this summer. As our latest report on the topic should make clear, even to David Rose, this is nonsense. The central route via the McClure Strait certainly remains impassable by a yacht. With a certain amount of difficulty a number of yachts have made it through the southern route, and whilst one or two have decided to spend the coming winter in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, and rather more have required some assistance from a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker,  none are "ice bound" as yet.

Neither David Rose nor anyone else at the Mail has yet responded to my requests for details of which numbers they crunched to come up with their headline figures, so I'm working in the dark a bit here. Assuming for the moment that they are in some way based upon the NSIDC daily Arctic sea ice extent numbers, they can easily be viewed by any even vaguely diligent researcher on the NSIDC web site. Here's what they reveal for this time this year.

NSIDC daily Arctic sea ice extent chart,  highlighting September 7th 2013

NSIDC daily Arctic sea ice extent chart, highlighting September 7th 2013

The corresponding figure for "this time last year" is 3.53 million km². A quick calculation reveals a difference of  1.678 million km², which works out to be "0.648 million square miles". The ratio of the two numbers is 1.475, or "an increase of 47.5%" in David Rose speak.

Given the number of things that David Rose has evidently managed to get wrong in just the first few lines of his article whilst discussing Arctic sea ice, how many more do you suppose he got wrong when he went on to consider "global cooling"? Whilst you ponder that point, here's another video that explains what's really happening to the sea ice in the Arctic as we speak:

Filed under Climate by

September 4, 2013

The Northwest Passage in 2013

The two Arctic voyages we've been following closely this summer have both come to a premature conclusion. Discussions about that have spawned a debate about how much ice there actually is in the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago this year, and whether the passage is or will be navigable this year without the assistance of an icebreaker. The main route through the Parry Channel and McClure Strait certainly looks as though it will remain impassable, but what of the southern route? A few days ago I found myself engaged in a heated discussion on Facebook (now sadly consigned to the great memory hole in the sky) with someone who insisted there was lots of ice in Dease Strait because RadarSat showed it to be there! To start with today, here's how the AMSR2 sensor sees things from space at the moment, courtesy of the University of Hamburg:

Sea ice concentration in the Northwest Passage on September 4th 2013

Sea ice concentration in the Northwest Passage on September 4th 2013, according to AMSR2

The reality is that Dease Strait is still ice free. The rowers of the Arctic Joule heading from west to east made it past the sea ice at Cape Bathurst unaided. Having  subsequently made it through Dease Strait without noticing lots of ice they have now decided to finish their journey in the safe haven of Cambridge Bay without continuing on to brave the tricky currents of Bellot Strait. Moving on to vessels equipped with sails and engines, travelling from east to west the catamaran Libellule and the steel hulled Traversay III made it through some ice at the western entrance to Bellot Strait a few days ago, albeit with a modicum of assistance from the CCGS Henry Larsen. Both have now made it unaided past Cape Bathurst travelling west, and safely reached Tuktoyaktuk.

Will anyone cover the entire Northwest Passage unaided this year? Well, there is at least one candidate still. David Scott Cowper in Polar Bound does have considerable experience in these matters. Last year he succeeded in navigating Polar Bound through McClure Strait!  This year he negotiated Cape Bathurst travelling west to east on August 25th, accompanied by Jane Maufe rather than solo:

Recent track of Polar Bound on August 25th 2013

Recent track of Polar Bound on August 25th 2013

and has now passed through Bellot Strait:

Recent track of Polar Bound on September 4th 2013

Recent track of Polar Bound on September 4th 2013

At this juncture, however, it is still unclear whether David received any direct or indirect assistance from an icebreaker. It seems that the CCGS Sir Wilfrid Laurier was in the vicinity at the time, assisting a party of jet skiers! The next obvious question is where will David head next? We last took a close look at ice conditions in the area on September 1st when the route north looked to be impassable. Here is how the Canadian Ice Service forecast for the Resolute area of the Northwest Passage looks today:

Canadian Ice Service forecast for the approaches to Resolute on September 4th 2013

Canadian Ice Service forecast for the approaches to Resolute on September 4th 2013

If David, Jane and Polar Bound can thread their way through the stretch of 2/10 concentration ice to the west of Baffin Island there seems to be every chance of a successful conclusion to another epic journey.

Getting back to Arctic adventurers without sails or engines, the kayakers of Rêve de Glace have pressed on eastwards past Cambridge Bay, and are currently approaching Perry Island:

GPS position report for Rêve de Glace on September 4th 2013

GPS position report for Rêve de Glace on September 4th 2013

and Charles Hedrich is currently rowing west to east, and towards the ice around Cape Bathurst, which you will note is invisible in the satellite image at the start of this article:

Charles Hedrich's position and ice forecast on September 4th 2013

Charles Hedrich's position and ice forecast on September 4th 2013

What with one thing and another there's still plenty of interesting things to watch out for as the 2013 Arctic sea ice melting season draws to its ultimate conclusion!

Filed under Adventure by

Admiral Makarov Meets Babouchka in the Central Arctic

As we reported two days ago, the Russian diesel-electric icebreaker Admiral Makarov was heading north across the Central Arctic Basin to rescue Sébastian Roubinet and Vincent Berthet, the crew of the catamaran Babouchka, who said that they had been surprised by "a sudden change in conditions". That sudden change was captured from space by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2 for short) aboard the Japanese SHIZUKU satellite. Here's an animation built from high resolution images derived from AMSR2 data, and provided by the University of Hamburg. It covers the period from August 21st to August 31st:

Animation of Arctic sea ice concentration at the end of August 2013

Animation of Arctic sea ice concentration at the end of August 2013

The last position reported by the GPS aboard Babouchka was from 82.186 N, 171.1318333 W at 17:43 French time yesterday, which is above and to the left of the grey disc around the North Pole, between the 75 N and 85 N circles of latitude. As you can see from the animation, the concentration of sea ice over a vast area around Babouchka changed dramatically over that 10 day period.  Firstly there was a sudden decrease in sea ice concentration, followed by an almost equally rapid increase.

This morning according to Sébastien Roubinet's web site (and translated from the original French)

This morning at 3:30 local time, we noticed a speck on the horizon, it was the Admiral Makarov. Time to finish putting everything away, and then it is moored to our ice sheet. The crew give  us a sign then approach us, we leave with the feeling we are abandoning our teammate Babouchka.

With the crane, they lower a cage for us to embark on board. Vincent goes first, I joined him and then we were told: "we will embark Babouchka". Fifteen minutes later, all three of us are on board, and we are heading south at 14 knots through ice.

The crew welcomes us with a smile, showing us to our cabin and insisting that we should not hesitate to take a shower! After the shower, breakfast (a large block of brawn with lots of garlic and a bit of tea). Then we were shown around the boat. As an economy measure, we are using only three engines (out of the 9 available) which is enough to allow us to break floes over two meters thick at 12 knots. It knocks and vibrates but it goes fast. We should arrive at Pevek in 2/3 days.

Another big thank you to the crew of the Admiral Makarov, the CROSS Gri-Nez, MRSC Pevek and all those who made this rescue possible in an almost inaccessible corner of the world.

Here's a picture of Babouchka finishing this year's "Quest Through The Pole" by covering the last few metres towards the Admiral Makarov:

Do you suppose it will be third time lucky for Séb Roubinet in 2014?

Filed under Adventure by

September 1, 2013

Arctic Voyages 2013 – Update 2

Over the last few days both the Arctic expeditions we've been following since the beginning of July announced that they were abandoning their voyages before reaching their planned destinations. Although it doesn't seem to have been published on their web site yet,  Séb Roubinet and Vincent Berthet on Babouchka have just abandoned their "Quest Through The Pole". According to their "La voie du pôle" Facebook page (and translated from the original French):

We.. analyzed the ice charts and weather forecast for the next week and we had to face the facts … For two or three days,  ice has been reforming on the way to the pole and Spitzbergen and negative temperatures are forecast for the next 8 days. The trap closes earlier than expected …

The phenomenon we expected 15 days later adds to the unusual and adverse conditions we have encountered since the beginning of the expedition (adverse winds and drifting). After lengthy discussions, we felt it was becoming too dangerous to venture further north. It is vital to try to reach the nearest land.  The sudden change in conditions has surprised us, and the decision was therefore very difficult to take. Currently we are only a hundred miles from the north pole of inaccessibility, the center of the Arctic Ocean, the furthest point from any land, and our adventure is not over…

This morning, Sébastian and Vincent have triggered their distress beacon.

To give you some idea of the ice conditions that Babouchka is enmeshed in, here's a screenshot from Google Earth in which Babouchka's recent GPS position reports are overlayed on a satellite image of the Arctic sea ice on August 30th:

Babouchka GPS positions from August 26th to September 1st 2013

Babouchka GPS positions from August 26th to September 1st 2013

As you can see August 25th was a very good day for Babouchka, but she has made very little progress since then. According to Séb's report from August 29th:

A lot has happened over the last 2 days. First we passed 82°N, after a 19 hour day and much effort. Then we were forced to stop for 30 hours waiting for some strong winds to subside, which allowed us to rest properly. The next day began with temperatures of minus 20 degrees and a large floe to cross to warm us up.

Once we reached water again we had to shoot through dozens of gaps between the ice floes, until finally we arrived in an area where the snow had formed a surface like molasses. Then to move forward, we had to crush the molasses with our feet while rowing, all with a boat not strong enough to push through by force. So last night at midnight we had no strength for anything, and we collapsed.

Here's the picture that accompanied that report:

The Babouchka making slow progress through "crushed molasses"

The Babouchka making slow progress through "crushed molasses"

A couple of days earlier the Mainstream Last First team on the Arctic Joule described their decision this way on their web site:

We row into Cambridge Bay, Nunavut this afternoon – August 28th, 2013 to officially conclude the Mainstream Last First expedition. The snow squalls that dogged us earlier in the day have lifted and blue sky and sun greet us as we end our journey. It feels like a fitting end.

Over the past 54 days we traversed more than 1500-kms of the Northwest Passage from Inuvik, NWT to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut and come away humbled and awed by the experience. We had hoped to make it to Pond Inlet, Nunavut by early September but this has proven impossible. Severe weather conditions hindered our early progress and now ice chokes the passage ahead.

According to the Arctic Joule's ice router, Victor:

Residents of Resolute say 20 years have not seen anything like. Its, ice, ice and more ice. Larsen, Peel, Bellot, Regent and Barrow Strait are all choked. That is the only route to East. Already West Lancaster received -2C temperature expecting -7C on Tuesday with the snow.

Here's the current Canadian Ice Service forecast for the Resolute area of the Northwest Passage, with the Arctic Joule's original destination, Pond Inlet, over on the extreme right:

Canadian Ice Service forecast for the approaches to Resolute on September 1st 2013

Canadian Ice Service forecast for the approaches to Resolute on September 1st 2013

The Mainstream Last First adventure has finished with a warm welcome in Cambridge Bay, slightly over half the way to Pond Inlet from their starting point in Inuvik.  Séb and Vincent's adventure still continues, and we wish them a safe and speedy return to civilisation too.

[Update - September 4th]

The crew of the Arctic Joule have now flown back to Vancouver. Here they are interviewed by CBC:

Filed under Adventure by

August 29, 2013

South Brent Community Wind Turbine Installed At Last

Following the unexpected delay that we reported on back in July, the South Brent Community Energy Society's Vestas V27 wind turbine has now been delivered and installed. Here's how it looks at the moment:

As you can see, the mechanical hardware is all now in place. This week the electrical side of things is being installed, and assuming that acceptance testing goes according to plan some additional renewable energy should start flowing into the South Devon electricity grid next week.

Filed under Renewables by