ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barneo Battles–

Every year at this time a remarkable battle against the elements occurs close to the North Pole, as the Barneo Jetport and Tourist Trap is constructed, and then deconstructed, upon the shifting surface of sea-ice that covers the Arctic Sea.

Besides the battle against the elements, there are other battles, involving the greed of nations to exploit the arctic, and also the wish of some to see the arctic made into a National Park. Some who interfere, (with those seeking to exploit the arctic),  are conservationists of the best sort, but others are Satan’s Useful Idiots environmentalists. In any case, it is no easy task to get the Barneo base up and running.

This year there has been a lot of polite silence about what the hold-ups are. This makes me very curious, and also to a degree suspicious.

At the risk of sounding paranoid, I will state that there are those who would like nothing better than to block the construction of Barneo. Though they may state their opposition is due to an altruistic desire to keep the sea-ice pristine and pure, and unspoiled by jet-airplane exhaust, in actual fact they indignantly dislike the fact jets land on sea-ice that they have publicly stated would be gone by now.

Jets landing at the North Pole is “bad press”. However, if they could block the construction of the Barneo base, it would be “good press”, because they would never admit that they themselves blocked the construction, by throwing hammers into the works, but rather they would insist Barneo wasn’t built because there was no solid sea-ice to build it upon.

That excuse will not work this year, for this year there is ice solid enough to build upon. Neither “Climate”, nor “Weather”, is the reason the project is ten days behind schedule. The cause of the hold-up is unexplained. In fact we may never learn what sort of crap the promoters had to battle through, but it is not the sea-ice. The ice is thicker, where they are looking to build Barneo, than it has been on prior years.

The translations of their Facebook reports are as follows: From April 7:

“N 89 * 26.72 ‘and E 129 * 42.35’ are the coordinates of Jalousie-2.

There are now 23 people there: 12 helicopters, the head of the flights, the ice reconnaissance vehicle, the mechanic tractor driver (they flew from the Jalousie-1 point) and 8 paratroopers (among them the doctor) who landed with the Il-76 along with the fuel.

Tomorrow from this small camp a helicopter will fly out to search for an ice floe under the Barneo base.”

“Jalousie” is the translation (?) of the Russian “Zhaluzi”, which is the word they use to dub the base-camps they establish before the actual Barneo base is established. As I described in an earlier post, what they do is a remarkable display of faith, for they fly helicopters out past “the point of no return”, and then the helicopters land and await more fuel, trusting people will show up and airdrop the fuel. (!).  This first base is “Zhaluzi 1″. Aftwe fuel arrives they then fly on from this first base to establish “Zhaluzi 2″, and it is from that second base the reconnaissance is done that establishes the Barneo Base.

The translations from their Facebook reports of April 9 state:

 “The ice floe was found near the Jalousie-2. Annual, the thickness of 180cm.  Not far from this ice floe is another, reserve. Today, the guys will move from the Jalousie-2 to a new location, transport the fuel, and tomorrow, if the weather permits (it, unfortunately, is unstable), they will take two tractor and paratroopers from IL-76. And they will start building a runway.”

I hope you are able to read between the lines, and understand how gutsy these individuals are. They are way out on a limb, and when they state, with disinterested Russian Phlegm, that the weather, “unfortunately, is unstable,”  it is a bit like a sky-diver saying, “the parachute, unfortunately, is not functioning very well.”

For some reason the Danish Meteorological Institute has abruptly stopped issuing its North Pole maps of temperature and surface pressures. I haven’t heard any explanation. Fortunately I can fall back on the maps Dr. Ryan Maue made it possible for the Weatherbell Site to offer. They show the anomalous low pressure I dubbed “Ralph” moving up from the Kara Sea, to become a royal pain-in-the-ass for individuals attempting to establish a resort on shifting and groaning, cracking and crunching, moaning and squealing, sea-ice at the Pole.

April 8:
GEM mslp 0408 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1
April 9
GEM mslp 0409 cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1April 10
GEM mslp 0410B cmc_mslp_uv10m_arctic_1

This is not the sort of weather you want to have, when building a tourist trap on the North Pole. However the Barneo crews are unbelievable. In past years they have seen deeper gales, and in recent years have bulldozed runways only to see the sea-ice crack, and bulldozed second runways only to see those runways crack, and gone on to bulldoze a third runway. One reason they seldom post on Facebook is because they have no time to lounge at a computer.

It looks grim to me, as they are off to such a late start, and the weather is so rotten, but I do see a few glimmers of hope. One hope is that storms that far north tend to be arid, and the current storm is only dusting the landscape with less than an inch of snow.

GEM prec 0410B cmc_precip_mslp_arctic_2 (Off topic, but look at that slug of moisture slamming into southern Greenland!)

Not only are the snows slight, but, (if you look back to my past Barneo posts from prior years), you’ll see these fellows have seen worse. These gutsy fellows have worked in gales, with winds gusting above 50 mph, so the current winds of 20 mph, with gusts to 30 mph, are….well….maybe they aren’t “a piece of cake”, but they’ve seen worse.

Lastly I’d like to point out a thing they mention, that Alarmists will blithely ignore. They state the sea-ice is 1.8 meters thick. (Six feet).

Hello? I know many would feel a bit queasy about landing a jet on ice only six feet thick, atop a mile-deep ocean. But they have to land on thin ice. Such thin,  flat, fresh “baby-ice” is better than thicker ice, because the thicker “multiyear ice” is all fractured and crushed into an uneven mass of pressure ridges. That being said,  does anyone care to mention how thin the ice, which the jets landed on in prior years, was?

No.

>Why not? Well, it might be because in prior years the ice was only 1.2 meters thick. (Four feet). And it would not support “the narrative”, (would it now?), to say the “baby-ice” was four feet thick in 2015 but now the “baby-ice” six feet thick?  Rather than suggesting the sea-ice is melting away, some might be “misguided”, and suggest that it is now thicker.

Well, it is thicker. Call me “misguided” all you want. I’m tired of listening to Alarmists gyrate their brains in order to produce their bent logic. They will point out the edge of the ice, far to the south, was pushed further north this year, and this makes this year’s “sea-ice extent” less. This is true. Yes, yes, yes, this is true. But will they raise their eyes just a little bit north to where sea-ice is 50% thicker? No, no, no.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying conditions couldn’t change by next year. Conditions vary enormously at the Pole. (For example, around 1817 so much sea-ice shifted south there was open water north of Greenland, but bergs grounded on the coast of Ireland, [and Western Europe experienced “A Year With No Summer”, likely due to a chilled North Atlantic.])

All I am saying is that we should be honest about current conditions. It is silly to only look at the edge of the ice down by Svalbard, and ignore the thickness of sea-ice where they are struggling to set up the Barneo Base. If you obey that sort of bias you are like a stallion wearing blinders; all your might is made meek.

Not that this sort of petty debate means anything to the fellows struggling to create the Barneo Base. I imagine their pay is pretty good, for a ordinary toiling Joe (though a comparative pittance, to a banker or politician.) What I can’t imagine, and envy, is the sheer struggle they experience, working under such unbelievable conditions.

I envy them because, in my younger days, I worked some horrific jobs, and the fellows I worked with did not fail, and consequently we made a little more money than other slobs. But the money didn’t matter as much as the memory. The money was soon spent, but the bragging-rights are everlasting.

For example, when you buy a tin of sardines, or some pickled herring, you likely cannot imagine the fellows unloading and tinning and pickling the fish in the dead of winter, when salt water freezes.  You had to be there. And I have been there.

In like manner, the tourists spending between $30,000 and $60,000 to recline on cots in tents at Barneo, and enjoy prepared meals from a kitchen, likely feel they are experiencing some degree of hardship, for, after all, they upon the Arctic Sea. But they have no idea of the hardship experienced by the Joe’s who set up their tents and cots and cafeteria.  The tourists experience mere “inconvenience”, compared to the brutal conditions experienced by the rough and tumble Joe’s, who make upper class adventures possible

If it is possible to move a thousand privileged people through Barneo in the 21 days it is open, as much as 60 million dollars will be involved. Any wonder people are willing to work their butts off? Not that the workers will each make 60 million. But they will make more than they’d make if they stayed south.

However that 60 million will not be available, if Barneo is unable to open. And therefore the workers are battling like you wouldn’t believe, fighting all the odds, to make it possible.

Man Oh Man, do I ever wish I was young again. That was the sort of fight I loved to dig my shoulder into: To make the impossible possible.

Consequently I have never understood those rich people who think it is smart to avoid hard work, and who instead think it is a sign of intelligence to trick people, and mislead people, and to say sea-ice is thinner when it is in fact thicker.

I could go on, but will leave it at that.

2 thoughts on “ARCTIC SEA ICE –Barneo Battles–

  1. Thanks Caleb, the Barneo story is amazing, thank you for airing it.
    Also thanks for your comment about Danish Meteorological Institute stopping issuing its North Pole maps of temperature and surface pressures. For awhile I thought maybe one of the miriad of nefarious ‘updates’ I received/my incompetence had culled it.

    As always only the next years will enhance our understanding

  2. Yeah, I mean, I really hate to jump to conspiratorial statements when other explanations may be found… but damn! Where did the motivation and funding to provide real time images of the pole go?

    Why is it so hard to keep monitoring the extent and thickness?

    A few years ago it was easy, simply tack “sea ice” onto a project, pow, funding galore!

    Try to get funding for actual sea ice studies and accidentally provide good news though, sorry, no more money for that kiddo!

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