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Polar Kayaker Lewis Pugh Could Have Gone Further…in 1979!

What’s worse than a gimmick?

A trip to the Cryosphere Today’s archive can reveal evidence that Lewis Gordon Pugh’s “achievement” of having “kayaked to within 1,000 km (620 miles) of the North Pole to highlight a rapid shrinking of Arctic ice” has really been no achievement at all.

In fact, had he tried the same in 1979, he may have actually gone a little further.

Sea Ice 2008 09 06

Sea Ice 2008 09 06

Sea Ice 1979 09 05

Sea Ice 1979 09 05

The following is an animated comparison of the sea ice status around the Svalbard. Remember: the one with MORE ice around those islands is the image from 2008, not 1979.

1979 09 05 Svalbard

1979 09 05 Svalbard

2008 09 06 Svalbard

2008 09 06 Svalbard

I chose 1979 because of course it is the first year of complete satellite observations of polar sea ice extension, and by luckly chance the year when the aforementioned extension was the largest ever recorded (by satellite).

There’s more than could be said about the differences between September 1979 and September 2008 (a large part of the sea ice loss appears to concern Northeastern Siberia, i.e. the East Siberian Sea). For now one can only guess why the Polar Defense Project chose to kayak in the Greenland Sea, where the anomaly in September 2008 from the 1979-2000 mean is close to zero (as evident in the animated picture above).

One wonders if Mr Pugh had any intention to reach the North Pole…otherwise, the judgement of whoever helped him plan his trip, must be seriously questioned. There was and still there is simply no indication whatsoever that a Svalbard-North Pole passage will open this decade or next.

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  1. 2008/09/08 at 15:58

    thank you Tony, the D-day analogy made me laugh!

  2. Tony Nicholls
    2008/09/08 at 15:36

    The worst bit about this self-proclaimed saviour of the arctic, is that he doesn’t know the difference between sucess and failure.

    He had the stated objective of getting to the North pole.
    He gave up when he hadn’t even got within 1,000 km.

    This is a failure. He is proclaiming it as a success.
    He will be talking about it as a success when he addresses Congress next month.

    If he were to have been in charge of D-Day, and missed his objective of putting his troops down in Normandy by 1,000 km, it would not have been called a success. It would be a total and utter disaster.

    I attempted to post this on his blog, but it didn’t get through. How strange.

  3. Alan D. McIntire
    2008/09/07 at 23:37

    Hi, I’m getting slightly off the topic of this post. I came across your blog while looking up information on Venus and Mars, and ran across your February 27, 2008 posting, which gave me food for thought.

    “Ratio of available solar energy Venus/Earth: 190%

    Earth, surface pressure: 1000 mbar; temperature: 288K
    Venus, 50km altitude pressure: 1000 mbar; temperature: 330K
    330K/288K = 114% < 190%”
    The Energy flux is measured in Watts, but temperature is
    proportional to the 4th ROOT of the energy flux. It’s true that
    Venus gets 190% of Earth’s energy. If the two planets were otherwise identical, Venus surface temperature should be
    (1.9)^0.25 = 1.174 that of earth, which is coincidentally very close to the 1.14 ratio of their temperatures.

    at first I was playing around with the formula,

    PV =mu R T,
    and for adiabetic changes, P*V^gamma constant,

    trying to adjust for adiabetic changes , but then realized that
    each planet’s atmospheric pressure is solely determined by the mass of the atmosphere divided by the planet’s gravity, which won’t change, adiabetically or otherwise. I don’t know why the temperature at 1 bar should be roughly proportional to what an earth twin should have at that distance. I don’t know why Venus couldn’t have had a 93 bar pressure , 3 times the volume, and the 1.17 times the temperature. There may be a rule determining changes in temperature with changing atmospheric density, leaving everything else constant, but I don’t know what the rule would be, or why there would be such a rule.

  1. 2010/01/07 at 09:35
  2. 2008/09/22 at 23:21
  3. 2008/09/09 at 15:24

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