“SHIP OF FOOLS” INCIDENT TEACHES VALUABLE LESSONS ABOUT SEA-ICE
People who follow this site are aware how mobile sea-ice is, however I have a strong feeling most ordinary people have better things to do than watch ice drift around the North Pole. Therefore they can be excused if they entertain the false idea ice is frozen, stable, and motionless. How are they to know the ice by the north Pole in April may float ashore 1600 miles away in Iceland nine months later?
The media seems to fuel the ignorance, likely because few reporters bother to research the arctic as we do. Most articles discuss the North Pole as if it were a fixed mass of ice, shrinking due to Global Warming. Only in the past few years has the concept of “multiyear-ice” appeared in print, and I’ve never seen it mentioned in the media that multiyear ice only collects north of the Canadian Arctic Islands and Greenland, having drifted from far parts of the Pole. The impression the media gives is of a stagnant sea, rather than a highly mobile ocean.
Perhaps this explains the mistakes made by the people in charge of the Akademik Shokalskiy, who had their “ship of fools” trapped by highly mobile sea ice during the Antarctic summer, over Christmas. An excellent (20-20 hindsight) look at the fiasco can be seen here, (and teaches a lot about sea-ice, and our capacity to look at it with modern satellites, as well:)