The dramatic spectacle of global warming researchers trapped in ice continues as climate change professor Chris Turney and his expedition remain trapped in this year’s massive southern sea ice.
Seventy-four scientists, guests and crew are aboard the Russian vessel Akademik Shokalskiy which is unable to move, and radioed for help Christmas morning. The expedition was trapped in ice on its way to Antarctica.
Turney’s expedition reports that Shokalskiy is in no danger of sinking and is well stocked with food and diesel.
The Australian ice breaker Aurora Australis attempted to reach the trapped vessel after the Chinese ice breaker Xue Long (Snow Dragon) failed to break through.
Captain of the Australian ice breaker Murray Doyle said that the ice was too thick to penetrate. “Floes are up to two meters of ice with a meter of snow on top and very compact.” He said. “There was just nowhere for us to go.”
Captain Doyle feared that ice would close in and trap his vessel as well, adding to “the drama.”
The Chinese may attempt a rescue using Snow Dragon’s helicopter, however, it is too heavy to land on the Russian vessel and poor visibility from heavy weather has prevented it from coming near. However, if weather improves, the helicopter may land on the thick ice itself, enabling the passengers to walk to it, likely leaving the Russian crew aboard their vessel.
In addition, the American ice breaker Polar Star is on its way from Seattle. Its massive size may permit it to break through where the Australians and Chinese failed.
2013 has been a tough year for global warming aquatic adventures.
In September, a host of yachts and research vessels thought to become global warming heroes by transiting the Northwest passage, only to likewise become blocked or trapped when cold temperatures kicked nature’s ice machine into high gear.
Also in September Russian security captured the Greenpeace vessel Arctic Sunrise as activists attempted to board an oil platform. Thirty Greenpeace campaigners and crew spent months in detention, but were released last week when Russian President Vladimir Putin issued pardons ahead of the Sochi Olympics. Russia continues to hold Arctic Sunrise which is the vessel CFACT boarded in Copenhagen during UN COP 15 in 2009, offered the crew donuts and hung a banner rechristening it the “Ship of lies.” Greenpeace has expressed concern for the future of the vessel claiming that the Russians have not adequately maintained it.
Maybe global warming campaigners looking to go boating at other people’s expense should try someplace warm.
In the not warming world of global warming, truth is stranger than fiction.