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The research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.

The research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen.

First phase of Arctic climate change study cancelled due to climate change

June 12, 2017 — 

The Science Team of the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen has cancelled the first leg of the 2017 Expedition due to complications associated with the southward motion of hazardous Arctic sea ice, caused by climate change.

This regrettably postpones the much-anticipated Hudson Bay System Study (BaySys) involving 40 scientists from five universities across Canada. Timing was key for this $17 million, four-year, University of Manitoba-led project.

The need to deal with extreme ice conditions in the south meant the ship would arrive too late on site to meet research objectives. 

The Arctic deployment of the Canadian Research Icebreaker CCGS Amundsen is undertaken through a long-standing collaboration between the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) and University-led Arctic science in Canada.

This productive partnership has been providing Canadian researchers and their international colleagues with the ability to monitor and understand the impacts of climate change and resource development on Arctic marine and coastal ecosystems and northern communities since 2003.

This year the Expedition Logistics and Science Teams accelerated the mobilization of the 2017 Arctic Expedition to permit departure of the Amundsen six days ahead of schedule.

This would allow CCG to carry out critical marine safety and security operations in the unusually severe ice conditions in the Strait of Belle Isle and along the northeast coast of Newfoundland before beginning the Science Mission.

Unfortunately, the conditions required much more extended support than anticipated. Fleet management issues and inadequate alternative ships forced the cancellation of the science program due to significant safety concerns. 

This decision to cancel the BaySys 2017 program was not made lightly. Although the cancellation was due to circumstances beyond control of the Expedition Team, every effort was made to develop a viable option to allow this valuable work to proceed.

The decision to terminate the 2017 program has significant impacts on partners and the large number of graduate students involved. 

“Considering the severe ice conditions and the increasing demand for Search And Rescue operations (SAR) and ice escort, we decided to cancel the BaySys mission. A second week of delay meant our research objectives just could not be safely achieved – the challenge for us all was that the marine ice hazards were exceedingly difficult for the maritime industry, the CCG, and science,” says Dr. David Barber, Expedition Chief Scientist and BaySys Scientific Lead. 

Dr. Barber and his team of experts were able to use the state-of-the-art equipment onboard the Amundsen to confirm that a significant proportion of the sea ice present originated from the high Arctic.

He noted that, “Climate-related changes in Arctic sea ice not only reduce its extent and thickness but also increase its mobility meaning that ice conditions are likely to become more variable and severe conditions such as these will occur more often.”

The Sea Ice Research Team collected a comprehensive dataset on the physics of the ice, ocean and atmosphere in the area and these data will contribute to the understanding of these events and assist Canada in preparing for climate change driven increases in marine ice hazards. 

“This extremely unfortunate event is not expected to affect the remainder of the 2017 Amundsen Expedition resuming on July 6. We believe that the oceanographic studies will proceed as planned and do not anticipate an impact on the Nunavik Inuit Health Survey, says Dr. Louis Fortier, Scientific Director of the Amundsen and ArcticNet Science programs. “The Amundsen Science Team is committed to working with Canadian Coast Guard and our industrial partners to plan a 2018 BaySys program.”

The research of our scientists clearly indicate that climate change is not something that is going to happen in the future – it is already here. Research results from scientists onboard the Amundsen and innovative Networks like ArcticNet show the impacts of climate change in Canada’s Arctic and Arctic Ocean affect not only northern ecosystems and communities, but also the environments and people living in the south of Canada – as so dramatically seen off the coast of Newfoundland.

The provision of the best information possible is essential for proper planning, decision–making and adaptation to the realities of climate change.

This experience, and climate change conditions currently affecting Churchill, Man., clearly illustrates that Canada is ill prepared to deal with the realities of climate change.

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26 comments on “First phase of Arctic climate change study cancelled due to climate change

  1. WarEagle82

    So your efforts to study the vanishing ice cap were endangered and canceled due to the expansive ice cap? And you believe this is due to climate change, even though the climate has never been in stasis?

  2. David Quirion 1st engineer officer of the Amundsen, crew A.

    I feel that we are living now the beginning of the exponential portion of the curve of climate changes!

  3. Dennis Zwicker

    Is this article discussing extensive sheets of ice or numerous floes and bergs drifting in navigable areas. Just saying “sea ice” doesn’t give a clear picture. I have seen this article quoted on Breitbart as a counterpoint to global warming because of too much ice to sail through.

  4. Tim

    Really, that’s your thought process after finding unusually heavy ice conditions? If the ocean had thin or no ice, it would more easily back your claims of global warming.

  5. Dodgy Geezer

    Is it a prediction that Arctic Ice will expand southwards due to Climate Change? I thought it was expected to shrink…

  6. Dave Walker

    Am I alone in wondering quite what message in this article is? It appears that the term “climate change”, as used in the context above, actually means that their is more ice than anticipated and therefore that the term is being used in the exact opposite sense of the generally understood definition?

  7. Chris Welland

    Yea Will somebody please shake their head ! Being from Ontario, I remember well when the cold air moved in and the ice got thicker on the ponds and lakes – so we could play hockey. In spring it warmed up and the ice got thin and we never ventured out on it. Are you seriously trying to make me and others believe that the “thickening ice” and deeper pack are signs that the weather is getting hotter – ie. climate change.? Please this isn’t only bad science it insults common-sense people like me and I’m sure many others. It’s so obvious – it’s laughable. Come on – is this the best you can do. You left because conditions were “dangerous” due to heavy ice. That speaks of things getting Colder. Does it not.???

  8. Tony

    Didn’t a research expedition to Antarctica get well and truly stuck in ice just a couple of years ago?

    How is their experience in the southern hemisphere and your experiences in the northern hemisphere conducive to the belief that climate change will cause more melting?

  9. Walt Dunn

    I am totally confused! Thicker than normal Arctic sea ice means that the Arctic ice is melting? Really? I would like an explanation or I will probably chalk it all up to balony!!

  10. Walt Dunn

    I do not understand. Could you please explain why thicker than normal arctic sea ice is occurring and we are led to believe it is disappearing due to climate change? Isn’t that having both ways?

  11. Stephan Schulz

    I’m sorry to say it, but this is an incredibly irresponsibly chosen headline. Predictably, the Denialosphere is picking this up as “too much ice shows it’s not warming”. It’s only clarified around paragraph 10 or so that reduced ice coverage can lead to increased ice mobility – and even then there is no sign that this explanation is backed by a study instead of just being speculation to explain a one-off random event.

  12. PG

    @Dave Walker

    The definition of “climate change” is just that. The climate changes. You’re thinking of the phrase “global warming”, and that appears to have fallen out of favour with incidents like these.

  13. Thelma

    This article does an absolutely terrible job of explaining what’s going on.

    Is this an unexpected extent of sheet ice? It is it unexpected berg activity due to melting?

    Clarity is doubly important when discussing divisive issues.

  14. Gerald Machnee

    The “warmists” using the term “climate change” are still talking about warming. They refuse to accept that it may not be warming or even cooling.

  15. Kymm Wolfe

    If you’re going to try and convince the average person that more ice is the result of ‘climate change’ (which in today’s vernacular = global warming) then connect the dots with specific data proving that more ice is the result of global warming or at least present a decent theory. Please stop using misleading language to try and spin the reader to misinterpret the situation. Which is, the plans were cancelled due to hazardous conditions created by more ice than anticipated. Its articles like this, using catastrophizing language, which perpetuate the belief that severe, planet-altering, climate change is imminent when in reality the rate of climate change can’t be proven to be more than the natural cyclical changes of our planet. Show me the data and stop trying to push your agenda down our throats!

  16. Pavel

    On the face of it, the comments above make sense, but the reality is different. The excessive ice in the region of the study migrated from further north. It was ice from the permanent ice covering the Arctic sea, which is thinning and thus more easily moved.

  17. Dave, eh?

    $17 million study. That’s a good hint at why we have a apocalyptic climate crisis. If there’s no crisis, that money dries up.

  18. Norman

    This feeble attempt to pass off the increase in polar ice as an effect of “climate change” does not pass the common sense test, at all, whatsoever. No matter how many times that you say “climate change” in this article (ten times) it does not make it so, and is not at all convincing.
    If one were to actually follow the scientific method, and choose the most reasonable explanation and then attempt to disprove it, then it would appear that we experience cyclic trends in warming, and that it’s highly possible that anthropogenic effects are minimal. There’s even a possibility that anthropogenic effects on our environment could just as easily contribute to cooling, as was the prevalent theory in the Seventies before temperatures were observed to rise. If one simply looks at the polar ice core temperature records for the last 400,000 years it’s painfully obvious that the Earth’s temperatures are cyclic in nature, and that we’re simply around the peak of the latest warming trend, which still isn’t as warm as previous temperature peaks. This alarmist hyperventilating over AGW lies in the the nexus of power, money and religious adherence, which has simply become to big of an “industry” to fail.

  19. Peter

    Can any of you do just a bit of research so that you don’t paint large “Stupid” signs on your foreheads.
    Due to the rotation of the earth (for those you still believe the earth is round and spins), the ice on the Canadian shore is thick than the Russian side. Due to the thinning of the over all ice sheet over the arctic, due to climate change, the ice pack is breaking up much earlier than in the past. Thus, the broken pieces of ice are piling up on the Canadian shore. You can see this sort of effect on any good size lake during late winter and early spring, where the prevailing wind piles ice on the downwind shore.

  20. Matthew Maschinot

    The way in which this article, written by an institution of higher learning, is written to obfuscate simple facts, truly shows the climate science has devolved into simple junk science!

  21. Joseph

    Please just accept the fact that every change in the atmosphere, earth, rivers, lakes and oceans is caused by climate change. Also, if there is no change, that is also caused by climate change.

  22. Really?

    Why are there so many idiots in the comment section here acting as if more ice breaking off and floating around than usual, is indicative that there is no Climate Change?

    The issue isn’t ‘it’s hot there fore theres more ice’ like people are disingenuously pretending. The issue is ‘It’s hot therefore more bergs are out floating around in lanes, making it difficult to navigate’

    The issue is what should normally be ice in a northern shelf, has instead broke off and is floating around. There is more of that than usual, because things are breaking up more than usual.

    Either the majority of commenters trying to use this to criticise the very real phenomenon of climate change as made up are being wilfully ignorant, or just plain ignorant.

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