24 November 2007

Record Antarctic Sea Ice Sinks Cruise Ship

The southern hemisphere winter of 2007 was particularly cold and harsh. Antarctic sea ice was the highest ever recorded--and MS Explorer out of Toronto has paid the ultimate price for underestimating the ice.
A Canadian cruise ship struck submerged ice off Antarctica and began sinking Friday, but all 154 people on board, including Americans and Britons, took to lifeboats and were plucked to safety by another cruise liner. The Explorer struck submerged ice and began taking on water through its cracked hull. Photos released by the Chilean navy showed the ship later lying nearly on its side, surrounded by floating blocks of ice. Passenger and crew were picked up by a passing Norwegian cruise ship, the Nordnorge, after several hours in eight semi-rigid lifeboats and four life rafts.


G.A.P. Adventures of Toronto owns the stricken MS Explorer. Company representative Susan Hayes revealed the reasoning behind the ship's dauntless charge into the ice hazard: "...it's highly unusual . . ." When the world is supposedly in the grip of "global warming" a ship's captain might be excused for not believing his own eyes, and supposing his small ship might get away with a little game of "dodge the ice." The captain of the Titanic felt the same way, though the northern hemisphere was barely out of the "Little Ice Age" at the time.

Earth's southern hemisphere has failed to show the same small bit of warming that has been seen in the northern hemisphere. Natural climate cycles depend upon solar effects and other cyclic weather phenomenon caused by the interaction of Earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land masses with naturally varying incoming solar radiation. CO2's heat trapping effect should extend over the entire planet almost uniformly, although other non-anthropogenic climate forcings are distributed unequally over the globe.

Interestingly, while much was made of the 2007 northern summer sea ice, the media is largely silent about the record 2007 southern winter sea ice. Any ideas?

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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