Archive for the ‘Weather’ Category

“Poor” Indian monsoon so far unlikely to derail growth

August 30, 2014

With one month to go for the “official” 4 month-long monsoon season, rainfall has been 18% deficient so far. At the half-way mark most states were deficient in rainfall. However about half the states have now crept back to “normal” rainfall. With any El Nino only expected to be weak – if it even actually develops – a catastrophic monsoon can now be ruled out. Rainfall will be below normal but the last month of the monsoon holds some hope for further recovery. There is also some hope that the monsoon – which developed about 10 days late – may also be delayed in withdrawing giving some rainfall into the first two weeks of October. It will still be a “poor” monsoon but may not be labelled “bad” or “catastrophic”.

IMD’s chart covering the 3 months so far is below. Green is “normal”, red is “deficient”, yellow is “scanty” and blue is “excess”:

Monsoon 2014 75%

Monsoon 2014 75%

There is still some risk that a poor monsoon will hold back the industrial recovery somewhat. The growth in the last quarter has been the highest for 2 years as sentiment has turned positive, and is not likely to be reversed by this “poor” monsoon.

BBC: 

India’s economy grew by 5.7% in the three months to June, its fastest pace in two-and-a-half years, according to an official estimate. The economy was helped by strong growth in electricity, gas and water supply, and financial services, the Ministry of Statistics said.

The growth figure was higher than analysts had been expecting. …

….. Ever since the Narendra Modi government took charge, business sentiment has improved on the ground. Investors have started pumping in money again, capital markets have been roaring, consumer demand has revived & hiring has picked up.

But this euphoria is primarily driven by sentiment and more steps would be required to sustain this optimism.

Swedish Environmental Party makes a fool of itself (again)

August 9, 2014

The Swedish Environmental Party (Miljöpartiet) has not been slow in trying to cash in on the large forest fire in Västmanland. The Swedish General Elections are in September and “anything goes”. Especially if it is alarmist. I don’t expect much intellectual or scientific honesty from them any longer but I though their behaviour yesterday was particularly opportunistic and crass.

  1. Never mind that forest fires in Sweden reduced from over 250,000 hectares destroyed every year before 1850 to less than 1,000 hectares per year in recent times when forest “cultivation” increased.
  2. Never mind that because of the reduced incidence of forest fires the owners have reduced their fire watches.
  3. Never mind that the number of military helicopters suitable for fire fighting have reduced from 33 to 3 in the last 20 years.
  4. Never mind that Sweden no longer has any planes suitable for water bombing.
  5. Never mind that in the grip of complacency, fire fighting equipment has reduced under 3 successive governments.
  6. Never mind that global temperatures have been stagnant for the last 18 years and have actually reduced slightly in the last decade.
  7. Never mind that carbon dioxide emissions by humans are apparently having no impact on real global temperatures (but are absolutely fundamental to every climate model)
  8. Never mind that temperatures in Västmanland this summer are nothing out of the ordinary.

Never mind the facts, just feel the fear. They came out with this picture yesterday even though the Västmanland fire has yet to be brought under control.

“We cannot afford to ignore Climate Change” it reads.

I get the impression that the Swedish Greens have prostituted themselves on the altar of global warming orthodoxy (sorry – climate change >> sorry – extreme events >> sorry – global cooling?).

mp västmanland

mp västmanland

But the temperature anomalies in Västmanland are nothing out of the ordinary.

Västmanland temperatures - The Stockholm Initiative

Västmanland temperatures – The Stockholm Initiative

 

Cold records simultaneously in both hemispheres are inconsistent with global warming.

August 6, 2014

Cold records simultaneously in both hemispheres (Death Valley and Adelaide) don’t prove anything of course. They don’t prove that global cooling is underway but are not inconsistent with that hypothesis.

But they certainly are inconsistent with global warming.

Washington Post:

Death Valley, Calif., which is known for being the world’s hottest location, maxed out at a relatively chilly 89 degrees on Sunday. This temperature – nearly 30 degrees below average – was its coolest high temperature on record for the date by a whopping 15 degrees. The previous record of 104 was set in 1945.

This was only the eighth time that a high in the 80s has occurred in Death Valley in July or August, and there hasn’t been a high less than 90 since 1984. Weather records in Death Valley go back to 1911.

Locations that were hotter than Death Valley yesterday include Spokane Wash. (93), Missoula, Mont. (91),  Casper, Wy. (92), and Boise, Idaho (99).

The average June high in Death Valley is 110 degrees, July is 117 degrees, and August is 115. This makes Sunday’s high temperature a ridiculous 26 degrees below normal.

Death Valley set the world’s record hottest temperature of 134 degrees on July 10, 1913.

ABC News:

Adelaide has woken to its coldest start to an August day in 126 years and it was colder across other parts of South Australia.

The weather bureau said it was the coldest August morning since 1888. It was also the coldest day Adelaide has experienced in any month in six years.

Senior forecaster Mark Anolak said the low temperature has been brought on by cold air from the Antarctic moving over Adelaide. “Under a ridge of high pressure that we are experiencing at the moment, clear skies have led to very cold temperatures over the last couple of days,” he said. “Murray Bridge has had its coldest ever start to the day in August at -2.7 degrees this morning.”

Most of regional South Australia woke to cold and frosty conditions.

The weather bureau said it got down to -5.6C in Renmark, just above freezing in Lameroo and -3.9C in Loxton.

Swedish forest fire largest in recent times but a tiny fraction of pre-industrial times

August 6, 2014

Västmanland, Sweden

Increasing humidity and some rain has limited the spread of the largest forest fire which has been ongoing for 7 days in the northern part of Västmanland in Sweden. One person has been found dead  and some 4,000 homes were evacuated a few days ago. Some of those evacuated can now begin to return.

The fire followed 2 weeks of quite warm weather over the entire country with temperatures around 30ºC (high, but not unknown at this times of year and no records were broken).

What became quite clear was that the equipment available to the emergency services was sadly lacking. Three successive governments have taken the easy opportunity of cutting emergency services and there were just no helicopters or planes available in the country for containing the fire. One was requested from Italy yesterday but could not be sent. Another from France is only arriving today. Needless to say they will probably arrive after the point at which they could have done the most good. If it continues to rain today, they will be irrelevant.

Before 1850, fires consumed 250 times larger areas of forest in Sweden than today. It has been the “industrial harvesting” of forests which has drastically reduced the incidence of forest fires. And it has been the complacency brought about by the low incidence of forest fires which has led to a reduced preparedness to fight the fires when they do occur.

The climate alarmists (and there are many of them in Sweden) have not been slow to blame the fire on global warming. A little depressing to hear people so ready to switch off all their rational faculties and parroting what sounds like a climate catechism.!!

But a few sane voices can also be heard.

Swedish Radio:

Two hundred years ago forest fires raged much more freely in Swedish forests. It was when humans began to harvest the forest that fires reduced.

“Swedish forests burned much more in historical times”  says Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson, professor of plant ecology at Mid- University. “Just a few hundred years ago one percent of Swedish forests burned each year. 250 thousand hectares every year. Today only about a thousand acres are lost to forest fires every year“.

Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson sees three separate  eras of fires in the Swedish forests. From prehistoric times to the seventeenth century there were only a few but very large fires. From the seventeenth century until the mid-nineteenth century, when the population increased and people started residing there, the number of fires increased but they were smaller. In the mid-nineteenth century industrial forestry started and the number of forest fires declined sharply. There was a dramatic shift to a landscape where people – rather than fire – harvested the trees.

“Even the very first people in Sweden might have affected how much it burned in the woods”, according to Bengt-Gunnar Jonsson. “Although we have observed fires for several thousand years, we cannot really explain effects of climate and lightning. Many argue that even the ancient fires had a human footprint. It could be that humans have influenced fire history since the ice retreated”.

Västmanland forest fire 2014 - Jocke Berglund -TT

Västmanland forest fire 2014 – Jocke Berglund -TT

Climate and the butterfly in Brazil

June 22, 2014

You may think that the weather outside your window is a consequence of the prevailing climate. But that would be the cart before the horse. Without weather there is no climate.

Climate is to weather as evolution is to reproduction.

Evolution is just a label given to the result of many, many individual survival and reproduction events. Evolution is not a “force” which directs who will survive and who will not or which individuals will reproduce and who will not. Evolution is then the name we give to the resultant changes in the genetic make-up of species as individuals of that species survive and reproduce (or fail to reproduce where  the species goes extinct). The survival and reproduction of individuals changes as the environment they live in changes. Evolution is thus the global, net result of the millions of successful, local, individual matings, and of the many more millions of failures to reproduce. Natural selection is merely a record of those that manged to survive and reproduce and thereby “deselected” all the failures. Without environmental change first causing a change in which individuals survive and then reproduce, there can be no evolutionary change (except due to random mutations).  Similarly there is no great driving force called climate which determines the weather outside your window. Climate is the label we give to the summation of all the local weathers in a region or around the globe as being the climate of that region or of the world. Just as resulting evolution and evolutionary change is impacted by the local survival or failure of a species, so is resulting climate impacted by weather and by changes to local weather patterns. Climate is a calculated result, an average, of  myriads of local weather events

Without reproduction and consequent genetic change there is nothing to be called evolution. There is no evolutionary change if a species is genetically static – if it’s surroundings and its growth are unchanged.  Similarly there is no climate change if local weather patterns remain static. And without individual events of local weather there can be no average to be called climate.

The weather we each experience locally outside our windows covers a very wide range. Within a few minutes, on any day of the year we can experience temperature changes of  5 – 10ºC as clouds appear or it starts blowing or if it rains or if it snows. Winds can vary from virtually still upto over 100km/h in the midst of a storm. Every single day we see a change of around 10ºC between day and night. Over a period of a week it would not be unusual to have a temperature change of even 20ºC. Over a year a temperature variation of 60ºC (+35ºC on the warmest day to – 25ºC on the coldest) could be expected at my latitude.

Politically correct “climate science” today takes it for granted that any unpleasant warming of the earth, or uncomfortable cooling of the earth, or increased frequency of storms, or copious amounts of rainfall and any resulting flood, or no rainfall and any resulting drought, or any unduly severe hurricanes is – by virtue of its unpleasantness – due to man-made climate change. And man’s evil influence is all manifested by the emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide!

But in the meantime it is mid-summers day and a cloud has passed over the sun. And when the cloud has passed I will feel a lot warmer than by increasing the carbon dioxide around me!!!!

In the 1960’s Edward Lorenz developed his chaos theory and in 1972 gave his famous talk questioning if the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could set off a tornado in Texas. (Lorenz Butterfly 1972).

Lorenz 1972

Lorenz 1972

Without reproduction there is no evolution and without local weather there is no climate.

Blaming fossil fuel combustion for climate change is like blaming one poor butterfly in Brazil and ignoring every other bird and insect flapping its wings.

 

When molluscs and plovers take precedence – the “green” contribution to drought and flooding

February 13, 2014

Do-gooding idiocy has its consequences.

High rains (which happen from time to time) and undredged rivers will inevitably result in escape channels for the water being restricted and increase the possibility of water breaking out of the river channels and finding their own way to the sea. In the UK it seems rainfall levels have been very high this winter – but not as high as in 1929/1930. People are now living in much more vulnerable areas than they did before and the lack of dredging – mainly to protect some form of plant or wildlife – has led to – or at least contributed to – some of the flooding that is currently being experienced. Sections of the Thames have been left undredged to protect molluscs!

Apparently the same form of green idiocy  has also been prevalent in the US. In South Dakota plovers take precedence over humans and in northern California, the Delta Smelt – a small fish – is preventing the release of waters which could alleviate the drought being experienced by many farmers.

Human Lives Being Imperiled to Save the Mollusc and the Plover

It’s time for the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its British counterpart the Environment Agency (EA) to put humans first on their epic Endangered Species Lists. 

The new mantra of everyday people who make the populations of the U.S. and Britain should be: ‘People First, Rare Molluscs, Plover, & Delta Smelt Last’.

Thousands of people in both nations are being flooded out of house and home and lives are being imperiled because weak western leaders like Barack Obama and David Cameron allow their environment protection agencies to continue to cower to the demands of radical environmentalists.

Out of decency for the devastated, photo ops for Prime Minister David Cameron and politicians visiting Britain’s flooded areas wearing “wellies” (as in Wellington rubber boots) should be curtailed. …… 

It now turns out that in spite of the afflicted region being one of the most ‘undefended flood plains in England’, the Thames was not dredged in case a rare mollusc was disturbed. (Daily Mail, Feb. 13, 2014)

The EA,  of course is claiming that the mussels were not the only reason the Thames was not dredged, even though in a 2010 report, seen by the Mail, they ruled out dredging between Datchet and Staines because the river bed was home to the vulnerable creatures. ….. 

Even with devastation as the result, in South Dakota the waters of the mighty Missouri River are held back each spring to protect the plover, a shore bird that nests along the Missouri. 

“If they let out too much water in the spring, it drowns out their nests and kills the baby birds.  So the corps holds it back to allow the birds to hatch.” (William Kevin Stoos,CFP, June 1, 2011)

“Fast forward to the spring of 2011.  As I watch my friends in Dakota Dunes frantically trying to escape the mighty flood waters released in record amounts by the Corps this week, while their houses are ruined by the Muddy Mo, and my friends, neighbors, and family members work feverishly to protect our own homes and each others’ homes in Wynstone, South Dakota—up river a ways—I thought about the plover. ……

That’s the true tawdry tale of the plovers saved by environmentalists along the Missouri.

Then there’s the never-ending curious story of the Delta Smelt, a tiny fish that is exclusive to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a once fertile area that serves as a transition for water originating in northern California, ending in water delivery west of the delta for agriculture and south of the Delta for citizens of southern California.

According to Save-the-Fish radical environmentalists, pumping stations used for water delivery were pulverizing the smelt and leading to a dramatic decrease in population and possible extinction.

“The Delta smelt is not edible, does not eliminate pests or have any meaningful commercial value.  Sometimes, despite environmentalist’s protestations to the contrary, certain species reach a natural evolutionary dead end,” wrote William Busse in the Maricopa County Conservative Examiner back in September of 2009.

“However, using the weapon of the Endangered Species Act, environmental groups sued, and on December 14, 2007, Judge Oliver Wanger of the United States District Court for the Eastern district of California, issued an Interim Remedial Order

“The impact on farmers in the area has been devastating with the San Joaquin Valley unemployment rate reaching 14% and leaving thousands of previously productive farming acres scorched and unusable.  In addition, water utilities in southern California have already begun raising rates and creating tiered pricing to address the 85% reduction in imported water.”

To this day California is still under deadly drought—and still diverting water to save the Delta Smelt.

The incredulous headlines today are about a snowstorm in Washington. A snowstorm in winter! Who could possibly have anticipated that?

Environmentalism gives little priority to humans.

Great Lakes ice cover approaching highest levels for twenty years

February 8, 2014

The Great Lakes ice cover on 7th February had reached 78% and will continue increasing in the coming days – at least until the 3rd week of February (Source: NOAA).

Gl Ice 7th February 2014 NOAA

Gl Ice 7th February 2014 NOAA

Having a high ice cover is apparently a “good thing” . Jeff Masters writes:

The increased ice coverage on the Great Lakes this winter is good news for water levels on the lakes, which are still struggling to recover from some record lows recorded at this time last year. During January 2013, water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron fell to their all-time lowest values since record keeping began in 1918, 29 inches below the long-term average. While the water levels recovered substantially during 2013, which was one of the wettest years in Michigan’s history, water levels were still a foot below average at the beginning of 2014. The above average ice cover this winter will reduce evaporation from the Great Lakes, keeping water loss lower than in recent winters. 

I suppose one can have too much of a good thing and that being completely frozen for too long a time is not a “good thing”.

Historically the ice cover is approaching the highest levels seen for over 20 years. (From Canadian Ice Service)

Great Lakes Ice february 4th 2014 - Canadian Ice Service

Great Lakes Ice february 4th 2014 – Canadian Ice Service

If there is a global warming (or global cooling) signal in this chart – I can’t see it. The natural variations are of an amplitude which hides any such signal – if it exists. Whenever weather observations – however extreme – are still within the envelope of what has been observed before it only shows that such observations are not unprecedented and must be taken as to be within natural variations. And if what is observed has also been observed before the industrial revolution – say 200 years ago – then industrialisation cannot be blamed.

Meteorologist Mark Torregrossa writes:

Ice continued to build this past week on the Great Lakes due to the cold air and temperatures staying below freezing, and Lake Superior’s new record shows it.

The lake is 92 percent frozen, toppling a 20-year-old record of 91 percent set on Feb. 5, 1994. That statistic helped total Great Lakes ice cover soar, and we can expect to see more form in coming days.

The air temperatures this past week averaged around five degrees below normal for the Great Lakes area. This amount of deviation from normal means it was a fairly cold week.

….. 

Lake Superior

Lake Superior is almost frozen over as of yesterday February 5, 2014. Lake Superior is 92 percent covered with ice now. The ice has increased rapidly in the past week, from 76 percent ice cover on January 30, 2014. The high resolution satellite picture from February 3, 2014 shows all of the ice cover on Lake Superior. The current ice cover on Lake Superior is the highest amount ever for February 5. In 1994, Lake Superior was reportedly 91 percent covered in ice.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is now 51 percent covered with ice, as opposed to 42 percent at this time last week. Coyotes were seen walking on the ice just offshore of Chicago this week. This makes us wonder if the lakes freeze over totally, will animals from Canada be able to cross over Lake Huron or Lake Superior, and enter Michigan. It is thought that this is how the last wolverine spotted in Michigan made it into Michigan. Lake Michigan has been covered with more ice on this date in the past. In 1977 and 1996, Lake Michigan was up to 74 percent ice covered.

Lake Huron

Ice cover on Lake Huron rocketed up an additional 14 percent this week, climbing to a total ice cover of 86 percent. If the ice continues to build at that rate in this next week, Lake Huron could be almost frozen over, or frozen over by the end of next week. People ice fishing are reporting 24 inches of ice on Saginaw Bay near Bay City. Lake Huron has been as much at 95 percent covered in ice on this date back in 1981 and 1994.

Lake Erie

Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes, with an average depth of 62 feet and a maximum depth of 210 feet. It also has the least volume of any Great Lake, with 116 cubic miles of water. So it should come as no surprise that Lake Erie currently has the highest percentage of ice cover. Lake Erie is 96 percent covered with ice. Last week at this time Lake Erie had 94 percent ice cover. Erie was entirely ice covered on February 5, 1996.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario is an interesting lake. It is the smallest Great Lake when it comes to surface area, but actually holds more than three times the amount of water when compared to Lake Erie. The average depth of Lake Ontario is 283 feet, making it the second deepest Great Lake behind Lake Superior. The deepest spot in Lake Ontario is 802 feet. The ice cover on Lake Ontario is the lowest of any of the Great Lakes, with only 32 percent covered in ice. Last week at this time, Lake Ontario had 27 percent ice cover. Lake Ontario has been covered with as much as 79 percent ice up to this point in the winter in 1994.

 

One cold wave is not proof of Global Cooling, but ….

January 9, 2014


One cold wave is not proof of Global Cooling,

Even if polar ice is now steadily increasing,

But a quiescent Sun is in another Minimum,

And AGW theory suffers a diverticulum,

For Climate Change is changing to a Cooling from a Warming.

From CBN News:

Global Cooling: Is an Ice Age Coming?

The fact that Arctic ice is growing may not be the good news that it seems to be. There are signs that the Earth is entering a very unpleasant cooling period. Sunspot activity remains very low.

“The sun has been very unusual for almost 15 years now,” Jens Pedersen, senior scientist at the Denmark’s Technical University, said.

Pedersen said the sun recently reached solar maximum and that there should be a lot of sunspot activity, but there isn’t.

“We have to go back 100 years to find a solar maximum that was as weak as the one we are in right now,” he told CBN News. “And the recent solar minimum…one has to go back 200 years to find one that was as weak.”

The last time the sun was this quiet, North America and Europe suffered through a weather event from the 1600s to the 1800s known as “Little Ice Age,” when the Thames River in London regularly froze solid, and North America saw terrible winters. Crops failed and people starved.

Pedersen said climate scientists know the Earth stopped warming 15 years ago. But the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, of which Pedersen is an expert reviewer, suppressed a recent report from its own scientists that the U.N.’s climate model has been proven wrong.

“In particular one of the issues has been why global warming has stopped during the last 15 years, and climate scientists were very frank that the climate models do not match the climate we observe,” Pedersen said.

But politicians removed that embarrassing finding from the final draft.  It’s as if the alleged danger from climate change can’t be wrong because it is now too important.

It has become a political movement, a cash cow for climate scientists and environmental groups, and a way for world leaders to control economies and people.

“It’s a political agenda,” Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture at the Media Research Center, said. “When you look at what the government will be able to do with climate change, it gives them (access) into every aspect of our lives.” ….. 

Related: https://ktwop.wordpress.com/tag/landscheidt-minimum/

New Global warming “event”! All 50 US states record temperatures below freezing

January 8, 2014

I note that the global warming priesthood are busy contorting themselves to show that the current icy blast across the US is no proof that global warming has stopped and may even be proof that it is entirely due to global warming and ice melting in the Arctic!!! Every single US State – including Hawaii – recorded temperatures below freezing yesterday. Never mind that no climate model ever predicted record cold waves. The contortions can get quite amusing but it is a little frightening that “global warming ideology” has become the new catholicism of this age. (Note that Eric Holthaus was prepared to get a vasectomy for his faith and to save the world from global warming)

Ultimately reality must prevail – even when it conflicts with what computer models may say. This from  The Guardian ( which is still smarting from the Ship of Fools fiasco).

The Guardian: 

Polar vortex – temperatures drop below freezing in all 50 US states

Temperatures in all 50 US states dipped below freezing on Tuesday in a rare nationwide chill that will keep a grip on much of the country for at least another day, with cutting winds and blizzards posing the most danger.

Florida, a state that normally basks in its reputation as a warm winter escape, experienced unusually low temperatures. In the midwest, northeast and eastern Canada, it was dangerous to venture outside. At some point on Tuesday, at least one location in each of the 50 US states recorded temperatures below freezing, with the highest point on Hawaii, Mauna Kea, recording a temperature of 21F (-6C).

The morphing of the science

Global warming >> Climate change >> Extreme Events >>>>>>>> Global Cooling

Consequences of Turney’s Antarctic junket are not yet over

January 5, 2014

The Xuelong is thought to have 111 crew on board while the Akademik Shokalskiy has 22. They are both currently trapped in the ice and the US icebreaker Polar Star is on its way from Sydney to render assistance if necessary. It will take the Polar Star about 7 days to reach the vicinity of the trapped vessels.

Cnut commanding the waves

Cnut commanding the waves

The consequences of Chris Turney’s narcissistic self-image of himself as an explorer in the Mawson mould and his irresponsible, publicity-seeking, junket into the Antarctic are not yet over. His proclamation that the ice should have melted away is reminiscent of King Cnut. Or perhaps like Cnut trying to demonstrate his limitations he was trying to demonstrate the fallibility of climate models which predict the loss of polar ice (and models such as that by his colleague Sherwood). It would be a travesty if the cost of diverting the 4 icebreakers (Chinese, French, Australian and now US) from their normal missions is not charged to Turney, the Climate Change Research Centre of the University of New South Wales and his media sponsors.

Xinhua reports:

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) — China has set up a leading team to rescue its icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, which has been trapped by heavy floes since it rescued passengers on a Russian vessel stranded in Antarctica on Thursday.

The State Oceanic Administration (SOA) announced on Saturday the team will map out rescue plans and make “all-out efforts” to coordinate rescue operations, despite there is no immediate danger to personnel aboard Xuelong, which has abundant fuel and food supplies. …. 

Xueying 12, a helicopter on board Xuelong, on Thursday successfully evacuated all the 52 passengers aboard the Russian vessel MV Akademik Shokalskiy that has been stranded since Christmas Eve to the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis.

However, after the rescue, Xuelong’s own movement was blocked by fields of floating ice.

Currently, Xuelong is located at 66.65 degrees south latitude and 144.42 degrees east longitude. It is surrounded by floes up to four meters thick and is about 21 km away from unfrozen waters, according to the SOA.

Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration’s Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, said the planned expedition by Xuelong is inevitably affected and changes are expected to be made to the vessel’s mission after it gets out of trouble.

“If the ship is stranded for a very long time, which is very rare indeed, then we’ll have to evacuate the people onboard and leave the vessel there,” he said.

AMSA Press Release:

6.30am AEDT Sunday 05 January 2014

US Coast Guard ice breaker to assist ships beset in ice in Antarctica

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has requested the US Coast Guard’s Polar Star icebreaker to assist the vessels MV Akademik Shokalskiy and Xue Long which are beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay.
The US Coast Guard has accepted this request and will make Polar Star available to assist.
The Polar Star has been en route to Antarctica since 3 December, 2013 – weeks prior to the MV
Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice in Commonwealth Bay. The intended mission of the Polar Star is to clear a navigable shipping channel in McMurdo Sound to the National Science Foundation’s Scientific Research Station. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel and other goods to the station. The Polar Star will go on to undertake its mission once the search and rescue incident is resolved.
RCC Australia identified the Polar Star as a vessel capable of assisting the beset vessels following MV Akademik Shokalskiy being beset by ice overnight on 24 December, 2013. RCC Australia has been in discussion with the US Coast Guard this week to ascertain if the Polar Star was able to assist once it reaches Antarctica.
The request for the Polar Star to assist the beset vessels was made by RCC Australia to the US Coast Guard on 3 January, 2014. The US Coast Guard officially accepted this request and released the Polar Star to RCC Australia for search and rescue tasking at 8.30am on 4 January, 2014.
The Polar Star will leave Sydney today after taking on supplies prior to its voyage to Antarctica.
It is anticipated it will take approximately seven (7) days for the Polar Star to reach Commonwealth Bay, dependent on weather and ice conditions.
At 122 metres, the Polar Star is one of the largest ships in the US Coast Guard fleet. It has a range of 16,000 nautical miles at 18 knots. The Polar Star has a crew of 140 people.
The Polar Star is able to continuously break ice up to 1.8 metres (6ft) while travelling at three (3) knots and can break ice over six (21ft) metres thick.
RCC Australia will be in regular contact with the relevant US Coast Guard RCC at Alameda, California, and the Captain of the Polar Star during its journey to Antarctica.


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