The video below was taken by a drone flying above last year’s Barneo base, and at the start shows the sort of pressure ridges they were dealing with, which forced them to move the entire base in the midst of their operations.
This year the ice seems smoother, and so is the operation of the base. They have drifted south past 89°N latitude, which will be handy for the cross-country skiiers headed up there to ski “the final degree”.
You can see the direction-of-drift shifted from to the southeast to the southwest, and the rate-of-drift increased. This was due to an influx of air all the way from the Pacific that raised temperatures some twenty degrees to -15°C. You can see the skies, which had been a vibrant blue, turning gray in this video taken by a woman walking about the camp.
Here is the layout of the camp seen from above.
Flights had to be canceled for a day as the “milder” air generated a snowstorm, with temperatures at -17°C
But it is not entirely uncomfortable to sit around indoors.
And soon the skies cleared and the jets could bring more people north.
Including a rock band, conducting a “Top of the World” tour.
In conclusion, the idea that “The Polar Icecap has melted away” is not true quite yet.
NOTE: Yesterday the Barneo base reported from 88º56’N, 018º15’E, but back on April 10 it was at 89º11’N, 033º10’E. I noticed a second Army Mass Balance buoy (2017B) has been deployed, and was reporting from 89.19° N, 30.07° E on April 12. It seems likely it was deployed from Barneo, as the coordinates match so well. Obviously Russians and Americans can get along, in the wild world of sea-ice. Can cats and dogs be far behind?
They placed this buoy on ice roughly five feet thick. It hasn’t reported since April 12, but it did graph the temperature rise as greatly moderated Pacific air moved in.