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US Coast Guard Ship To Attempt Rescue of 2 Icebreakers In Antarctica 382

PolygamousRanchKid writes "A U.S. Coast Guard heavy icebreaker left Australia for Antarctica on Sunday to rescue more than 120 crew members aboard two icebreakers trapped in pack ice near the frozen continent's eastern edge, officials said. The 399-foot cutter, the Polar Star, is responding to a Jan. 3 request from Australia, Russia and China to assist the Russian and Chinese ships because 'there is sufficient concern that the vessels may not be able to free themselves from the ice,' the Coast Guard said in a statement. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's Rescue Coordination Centre, which oversaw the rescue, said the Polar Star, the Coast Guard's only active heavy polar icebreaker, would take about seven days to reach Commonwealth Bay, depending on weather. Under international conventions observed by most countries, ships' crews are obliged to take part in such rescues and the owners carry the costs."
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US Coast Guard Ship To Attempt Rescue of 2 Icebreakers In Antarctica

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @11:50AM (#45870747)


    "The Polar Star is the U.S. Coast Guard’s only active heavy polar ice breaker. The ship is 399 feet in length, its maximum speed is 18 knots, it is able to continuously break six feet of ice at three knots, and able to break 21 feet of ice backing and ramming. The Polar Star is specifically designed for open-water icebreaking with a reinforced hull and special icebreaking bow."

  • by KingOfBLASH ( 620432 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @11:53AM (#45870763) Journal

    There is a western and eastern hemisphere, of which antarctica occupies both parts. []

  • by cyclohazard ( 677922 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @12:05PM (#45870845)
    According to the article, the Aurora Australis has continued on its planned course (with the rescued passengers from the Russian ship). The stuck ships are a Chinese icebreaker and the original Russian ship. However, the Russian ship is not an icebreaker, and so the sensationalist headline is a bit wrong.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 05, 2014 @12:11PM (#45870885)

    Umm, yes we do.

    Lake Superior, for example, sometimes has 6 to 12 feet of ice, and the Coast Guard opens channels in the spring for shipping to proceed as early in the season as possible.

    There can be ice around Alaska coastline as well, and Coast Guard resources are used to free stuck ships.

  • by MacDork ( 560499 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @12:47PM (#45871115) Journal
    Everybody know's there's a 1998 spike. [] Who's cherry picking now?
  • by bunratty ( 545641 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @01:12PM (#45871317)
    The two graphs use different sets of data. One shows BEST land-only surface temperature measurements, and ther other uses satellite data for land and ocean measurements. In both graphs, you can easily see the warming trend. The one you linked to [] even has trend lines that show the warming. Don't you see them? It seems that it is you that is still cherry picking data, by ignoring data from before the 1998 temperature spike caused by that year's El Nino.
  • by mytec ( 686565 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @01:34PM (#45871483) Journal

    Why would the US Coast Guard own any icebreakers?

    According to a Wikipedia article []:

    Polar Star has a variety of missions while operating in polar regions. During Antarctic deployments, the primary missions include breaking a channel through the sea ice to resupply the McMurdo Research Station in the Ross Sea. Resupply ships use the channel to bring food, fuel, and other goods to make it through another winter. In addition to these duties, Polar Star also serves as a scientific research platform with five laboratories and accommodations for up to 20 scientists. The "J"-shaped cranes and work areas near the stern and port side of ship give scientists the capability to do at-sea studies in the fields of geology, vulcanology, oceanography, sea-ice physics and other disciplines.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @02:52PM (#45872049) Homepage Journal

    At least in principle. The exact details of *weather* are always complex.

    Here's a link to an article explaining where the ice in question comes from []:

    “There's a misconception here – we are not trapped in new ice that's been created because its cold,” said Turney. “This is very old, thick ice that's been re-mobilised. It was attached to another part of the continent and has broken out and, with the south-easterly winds we've had, has pushed it up against the coast and pinned us in.”

    The austral sea ice situation is complicated by the fact there's a continent down there and it's not perfectly round. It sticks out into the sea in irregular ways. This means that the extent of sea ice (which is present year round) is dependent on the wind, which in turn is stronger with a more energetic (warmer) atmosphere.

  • by J Story ( 30227 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @06:04PM (#45873367) Homepage

    Von Storch concisely summarizes the dilemma of global warming proponents, as well as the frustration of sceptics. In particular: "It [science] is not just writing a computer simulation and then, when the predictions are wrong, tinkering the parameters (adding more "ocean temperature damping" in this case), and hoping that eventually your program will converge on the truth."

  • by clovis ( 4684 ) * on Sunday January 05, 2014 @08:01PM (#45874195)

    I was in grade school in the sixties, and we were taught two indisputable scientific consensus facts:

    That the great ice age was coming. In the early 70's, this was on the cover of Time Magazine.

    Are you sure you remembered that correctly? [] []

    And if you think that you were taught in the 1960's that Thomas Malthus essay PROVED we would all starve to death by the year 2000, well, you need to go find that teacher and have your grade changed to "F".
    Thomas Malthus wrote that essay in 1798, and it had been debunked long before our great-grandparents were twinkles in our great-great grandparents eyes.

  • by SoftwareArtist ( 1472499 ) on Sunday January 05, 2014 @08:03PM (#45874213)

    Here are some examples of things you said that are totally false:

    We are too dumb to understand climate.

    Nonsense. We're entirely capable of understanding the climate.

    Any one who calls themselves a climate expert is a huge liar

    This is total BS.

    That lack of relativity has lead to arrogance and away from science.

    Climate researchers are doing fantastic science.

    skeptics and supporters are opposite sides of the same coin of wrong headedness.

    The two groups are about as unlike as you can get. Climate scientists are dedicating their lives to working really hard, trying to solve really hard problems and figure out how the real world actually works. So called "climate skeptics" are, as a rule, willfully ignorant of the state of knowledge. They've just decided what they want to believe, make no effort to actually study climatology, and just go around making claims that are simply false. LIke, "We're too stupid to understand the climate and anyone who claims to is a liar."

    So how much time have you spent actually studying climatology? And no, I don't mean reading books and websites written by self-proclaimed climate skeptics out to expose the massive fraud being perpetuated on an unsuspecting public. I mean actual climate science. Studying basic physics, reading scientific papers, understanding the math behind climate models, studying the experiments used to parametrize and validate those models, and so on. Not so much? Then maybe you should assume that you know less about the subject than people who spend their entire lives doing that.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Monday January 06, 2014 @09:49AM (#45877405) Homepage Journal

    As for "not predicted in theory", how does a result from 1902 [] grab you?

    The relatively greater importance of wind over thermodynamics in antarctic sea ice extent was well established over thirty years ago;

    Recent statistical and function (EOF) analyses have shown two primary areas of higher annual variation of sea ice conditions which are presumed to be more sensitive to variations in forcing fields, probably of dynamic (winds and currents) rather than thermodynamic (temperature) origin.

    [Ackley, S. F., 1981: A review of sea-ice weather relationships in the Southern Hemisphere. Sea Level, Ice and Climatic Change, Vol. 131, I. Allison, Ed., International Association Scientific Hydrology, 127–159.]

    If you want a smoking gun, here is one from 2001 (Flato, G.M. and G.J. Boer, 2001: Warming asymmetry in climate change simulations. Geophys. Res. Lett., 28:195-198. [doi]:

    Observed trends in sea-ice extent over the past two decades exhibit hemispheric asymmetry with a statistically significant decrease in northern but not in southern ice cover.

    In summary, the models did not predict a reduction in Antarctic summer sea ice extent, because has been well-established for decades now that wind patterns account for more than 2/3 of the annual variation.

    And, *yes*, there have een

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