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Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #6

For anyone who believes for a second that the Arctic is some benign home to only polar bears and Inuit, and ice is melting away faster than we can measure and somehow no longer an impediment to shipping, we can attest that it is not quite so.  Certainly, there is indisputable evidence that overall ice cover has been reducing, but the ice is still here; it has kept us working along the Alaskan coast longer than originally planned.

Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #5

The greatest problem with the Arctic is not the Arctic itself, it is the incredible ignorance of what it is truly like up here.  It starts with media hype about global warming claiming an “ice free Northwest Passage”, which leads to incorrect conclusions that there is no ice or that it is not a problem one really needs to be concerned about. These incorrect conclusions sometimes end with adventurers leaping to “experience” the Arctic without real preparation or understanding.  

Ice Navigation RV Mirai Deployment 2013 #4

It is the Arctic.  Everything changes constantly.  Weather changes, the ice changes.  Plans change.  Most often it is the variability in ice conditions that cause plans to change.  This time, it was weather.

Ice Navigation RV Mirai Arctic Deployment 2013 #3

31 August and science has begun in earnest.  Mirai cruise 13-06 stn 001 was conducted just outside the US 3 mile limit to the east of Little Diomede Island.  Under sunny skies, winds NE15 and a slight 1m swell four separate casts were conducted In relatively shallow depths of 52m, the casts went quickly.  First a PRR (spectroradiometer) cast from the stern, followed each in turn by an HydroScat (spectral backscattering sensor), a NORPAC plankton net cast and the full 36 Niskin bottle CTD (Conductivity Temperature Depth) rosette from the starboard side.  The massive CTD rosette is the most impressive to watch swung over the side by the purpose built Dynacon 3 ton articulated crane.

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