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Mark Serreze Says Hempleman-Adams Can Sail Through 3-Meter Ice!

September 13, 2016

By Paul Homewood 




It is one thing when Joe Romm peddles his lies, but another thing entirely when Mark Serreze gets involved.

Serreze, for those who don’t know, is Director of the NSDIC. In recent years, however, he has been an activist as much as a scientist.

In the above article for Mashable, he actually starts with an honest statement:


In an interview with Mashable, Serreze said sea ice coverage across the different regions of the Arctic has fallen dramatically in association with a series of unusually powerful summertime Arctic storms during August.

These large storms helped force the ice to move around in a cyclonic, counterclockwise motion and break up, making individual pieces of ice more vulnerable to melting by coming into contact with milder than average ocean temperatures.


But then he embarks with his dishonest propaganda:



Right now, a few hundred miles northwest of the tiny community of Tuktoyaktuk in Canada’s Northwest Territories, a sailboat called the Northabout is fighting harsh winds and rough waters in the open Beaufort Sea.

The ship has sailed more than 5,000 miles since leaving Bristol, England, on June 19, but still has a long ways to go.

"This little Irish boat should be given the Freedom of Westport," wrote David Hempleman-Adams, the expedition’s leader, in a ship’s log on Wednesday.

"It has travelled through the Irish Sea, North Sea, Norwegian Sea, Barents Sea, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, East Siberian Sea, Chukchi Sea and now the Beaufort sea. Each sea has had its quirks. Laptev the hardest with the ice, and then closed behind us," Hempleman-Adams wrote.

The vessel, part of a project called the Polar Ocean Challenge, is closing in on the crew’s goal of circumnavigating the Arctic to call attention to sea ice loss and climate change.

All that remains is a successful traversing of the Northwest Passage.

While that would have been a perilous and inhospitable task for voyagers in previous centuries all the way to the start of the melt season in 2007, we are now living in an era where the Passage is routinely navigable in late summer.

In keeping with this, satellite images show that routes through the Passage are now relatively ice-free.

In fact, if they want to, the Hempleman-Adams and the rest of the ship’s crew could actually sail nearly all the way to the North Pole, since sea ice cover is largely absent to about 86 degrees north, according to Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado.


In fact, he must know that last statement simply is not true.

For the Northabout to sail to the North Pole, it would have to cross hundreds of miles of two and even three meter thick ice.




Far from sailing across the Pole, the Northabout has been clinging close to the coast ever since arriving at Murmansk.

They knew full well that, if they ventured far from shore, they would risk being engulfed in ice.





Contrary to Serreze’s claims, there is nothing unusual about what the expedition has done, as boats have made similar voyages many times in the past, albeit not the whole way round at once, (probably because nobody wanted to!) Many of these voyages took place without the benefits that the Northabout had, such as GPS, satellite radio etc.

Indeed, the only surprising thing about the expedition was that they were stuck for so long in the Laptev Sea, trapped by sea ice.


If anybody doubts what I have said, just take a look at yesterday’s ship’s log:



Well, slowly up Prince Regent Sound, we came to our ice as forecast but it had nearly sealed off the strait, if we didn’t get through, then it would be a long slog back to Cambridge Bay to overwinter,

The ice has changed rapidly in the last few days, thickening and closing the route also to Resolute Bay, winter is on its way.

We plodded for an hour up the front of 5/10ths ice, too thick for us to go through but we could see clear waters the other side.

Mrs Irish came on watch, Holy Water in her pocket, and after 15 mins, she saw a possibility of squeezing through to the other side, and that’s exactly what she did, squeezed Northabout through to the other side,

Someone once said to Arnold Palmer after he won another Golfing competition how lucky he was, he said its’s amazing, the harder I practise the luckier I get. Well Mrs Irish had plenty of practise on the entire route of the Laptev sea, so she deserved a bit of luck.

The North West Passage is ours, just another day to go. The midnight toast tonight is Mrs Irish. We would still be going around in circles trying to find a way through if it wasn’t for her

BUT, and there is always a BUT, we are sailing down Lancaster Sound in the pitch dark trying to avoid small lumps of ice the size of a car. The bigger bits you can see on the Radar. I have just come off watch, my brain is frazzled, probably from the Radar but the concentration you need is intense. It’s like driving down the motorway next to a lorry in the rain, you can’t see a thing but hope you get to the other side when the wipers have cleared the screen. Horrible.

What a day, I have gone from thinking of overwintering in Canada with the boat, to now getting to Greenland as planned.


The idea that the Northabout has been sailing through ice free seas is a con. Without the aforementioned advantages, not to mention an engine, the boat would never have made it any where Greenland.

  1. Sara Hall permalink
    September 13, 2016 12:41 pm

    I remain rather unsure of what exactly went on in the Vilkitsky Strait on the 9th August, particularly as the AIS plots of ships in the vicinity at the time showed a tanker stuck in the ice on the northern side of the strait that was supposedly waiting for an icebreaker (the Russian vessel, Yamal) to turn up and free them.
    Northabout was hanging around too at the same time, near the entrance to the strait and discussing exactly which day the ice would “open up” to let them through.
    The Yamal duly turned up sometime on the 9th August and then, rather mysteriously, Northabout seems to have disappeared from the plots for a while, before emerging a few hours later on the other side, in the Laptev Sea, where their real problems with the ice began, as recorded in their later (b)log posts.
    I can’t but help but wonder if they they weren’t helped just a teensy weensy little bit by the Yamal? Even if they didn’t use its services directly, they could very well have taken advantage of the broken ice channel that had temporarily been created to let the other marine traffic through.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      September 13, 2016 6:52 pm

      Yamal has been known to help any Mann in difficulty.

    • nightspore permalink
      September 13, 2016 7:35 pm

      There was a 14-year old on board the Northabout. Maybe someone should slip him a few beers and see if he’ll open up.

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    September 13, 2016 12:58 pm

    I take it Mark Serreze hasn’t seen the news about the wreck of HMS Terror being discovered. The idea of ships having been able to get so far into the Northwest passage back in Victorian times wouldn’t suit his view of the world.

    • September 13, 2016 3:24 pm


    • September 13, 2016 4:40 pm

      Note also that the purpose of the Franklin expedition was to map the seaways in the area, surely a time consuming business, not to make a dash through an already mapped area.

  3. John F. Hultquist permalink
    September 13, 2016 4:07 pm

    My bold:
    “… the Polar Ocean Challenge, is closing in on the crew’s goal of circumnavigating the Arctic to call attention to sea ice loss and climate change.”

    I pay attention via sites such as this but otherwise I would not know they are there. I have seen nor heard nothing on more standard news sites or local or national news. I’ve not heard a single person mention this. Thus, I think the POC has failed to call attention to either ice loss or climate change.
    In all honesty, because both sea ice and climate appear to be carrying on as usual, such a stunt as the POC is a fool’s errand.

    • September 13, 2016 4:45 pm

      The BBC gave several reports on it early on, but stopped when they ran into major ice problems. From the ships log it appears that they were twice very close to getting stuck, not obviously different from ice conditions encountered by the first transit expeditions around 100 years ago.

  4. September 13, 2016 4:29 pm

    Taking the most southerly route possible. Just sayin’

  5. Nigel S permalink
    September 15, 2016 3:25 pm

    ‘This little Irish boat’ my ar**! Purpose built for an earlier expedition. 49 foot aluminium designed for polar sailing, 2000 litres of diesel giving 2500 mile range under motor and which it’s plain they’ve used much of the time. My guess would be that she has at least twice the power of the 25hp steam engine in Franklin’s HMS Terror.

    ‘In 2001 we sailed our specially designed, ice-strengthened yacht, Northabout through the Northwest Passage from Ireland to the Pacific by way of Greenland, Arctic Canada and Alaska. Details of this expedition on our website.’

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