Arctic Sea Ice –Barneo 2016–Problems, problems–No airstrip yet–

The “active ice” in the area near the Pole continues to crack the flat areas where the Russians have been attempting to put in blue-ice airstrips. It is stressing the already stressful, tight schedules, that all who operate at Barneo work under. There is a narrow window, basically April 1 to May 1, when conditions are considered “safe” for the hubbub of activity.

I sometimes have disparaged the effort as the “Barneo Daily Circus”. This year it might not happen, and suddenly I appreciate the hard work, and am sorry I disparaged this example of amazing endeavor, (even if some of the people involved are hard to take seriously). It reminds me of the old song, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

The tourists who spend atrocious amounts to spend an hour at the North Pole may be worth poking fun at, but the support-crew who make such vanity possible are amazing, and deserve respect. They work under brutally harsh conditions. This year they’ve been working harder than ever. A hint of the effort leaks into the  (translated) report below.

In the morning it was received bad news from the Barneo ice camp. On the new runway, is not made until the end, there was a crack width of 10 cm. The water did not come out of it. Apparently, the area district is necessary to change the construction of the new runway.
Landing was suspended.
Victor Serov, expedition leader, received the card status ice card ice and meteorological forecasts AARI site. He commented: “Combining these images, we can see that it is precisely in the area where is located Borneo, there is a powerful jet of ice movement and it has an impact on all the ice around. That is, it is in a high voltage and hence there are such movements along.. the forecast for tomorrow is expected to accelerate the drift, it generally turns into a whirlpool and twists around the pole. and starting from April 10, we see that everything calms down. “
Helicopters made a flyby in search of a new ice floe. This operation has been spent more than 5 hours. They flew out of the 67 meridian east in the western hemisphere through the North Pole. We got to 40 minutes. Ice does not. Out of 150 east longitude meridian, reached 89 degrees north latitude. Ice does not. We returned to the base. Victor Yatin said that everywhere crushed ice, flood, river.
A anticyclone left. Blowing east wind of 8-10 m / s, snow, blizzard, visibility is zero. The search for an ice floe preostanovleny to improved weather conditions. Fly helicopters can not yet. Temperature * -24.
It was decided to do reset with diesel fuel, industrial oils and products. The second landing is the tractor when the helicopter pilot would find a new location for the construction of the strip.
From Moscow to Tver moved to the platform, which assembled last night. By the morning of the IL-76 will deliver them to Murmansk, where they will load and, weather permitting on Borneo, the evening desantiruyut. We are lagging behind schedule, because the AN-74 is not able today to fly from Longyearbyen to Murmansk towards IL-76. Starting this year, the Norwegian authorities have tightened rules for obtaining a permit for departure from the country and arrival. We are waiting for the start of tomorrow’s working day for permission to take off from the Norwegian authorities.
I have a feeling certain “Norwegian Authorities” could be subject to repercussions, especially if they cause the Barneo base to be cancelled this year. Russians remember.
It is interesting that the Russian expert speaks of a “jet” of sea-ice. That is a new concept to me. The article contains a current map of ice movements, and forecast maps of future movements.
The ice looks like it should calm down by April 10.
Barneo 4A 12977242_979580585444424_5084450400146870999_o98
I expect the motions of the ice will be called proof that the sea-ice is thinner and Global Warming is occurring. To me other explanations seem possible. If I have time I’ll go into them later.

2 thoughts on “Arctic Sea Ice –Barneo 2016–Problems, problems–No airstrip yet–

    • Actually that doesn’t seem to be the problem. The blue-ice airstrips are cracking and buckling when the jets are far away.

      The problem seems to be shifting winds. The ice is moving one way, and then winds move it another. But this doesn’t happen smoothly and evenly. The ice is various plates of ice, and when they are not all on the same page an almighty jostling occurs.

      A 60,000 pound airplane is like a flea, compared to a 60,000,000 pound plate of ice nudging into another 60,000,000 pound plate of ice. The result is a lack of smooth runways.

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