Richard North, 15/11/2021  

It isn't only the Pacific islands which serve as a poster child for the climate worshipers. Another great cause célèbre has been the shrinking Artic ice, which is such a dominant part of warmist theology that the level of shrinkage has been posted daily on the Guardian website throughout the duration of CoP26.

However, the paper has been careful not to point out that, when the ice pack reached its minimum extent on 16 September, far from reinforcing the picture of a steadily decreasing extent, there remained 1.82 million square miles.

This not only confounded the predictions of some pundits who forecast that the Arctic Ocean would be ice-free by the year 2020, it actually represented only the 12-lowest ice-extent in the nearly 43-year satellite record.

Said Mark Serreze, director of National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) – the institution which publishes the annual figures – "We had a reprieve this year - a cool and stormy summer with less ice melt".

Seeking to comfort his warmist colleagues, however, Serreze was quick to point out that "the amount of old, thick sea ice is as low as it has ever been in our satellite record", with the NSIDC adding that the figures were preliminary and that "continued melt conditions could still push the ice extent lower".

Had that occurred, it is pretty certain that the media would have been trumpeting the figures as another example of "global heating", so the silence tells its own story. And so too does the silence on another drama building up in the so-called Northern Sea Route (NSR) which would further confound the alarmist propaganda which has been saturating the media over the past weeks.

The NSR is not unknown to us, as it was featured by the Independent in early September 2009 under the heading: "A triumph for man, a disaster for mankind", claiming that two ships were finishing the first commercial navigation of the fabled "North-east Passage", marking it as "an epic moment", but also "a vivid sign of climate change in the Arctic".

The story, as it turns out, was completely untrue, as I was quick to point out, demonstrating that the passage – called the NSR by the Russians – had been commercially exploited since 1935 and, in 1993, 15 Russian ships with 210,000 tons of transit goods had passed along the route.

This didn't stop other media organs piling in to repeat the Independent's false claims, provoking a further evaluation from me. More detail followed from me but, with a disdain for veracity for which it has become famous, the BBC repeated the canard, locking another falsehood into the climate change theology.

Amongst other things, I had pointed out, the Murmansk Shipping Company as then running a fleet of 303 vessels with a total deadweight of about 1.2 million tons through the NSR. In 2006, the company had shipped 2 million tons of cargo through the route. But, I remarked, the BBC, in pursuit of their religion, "are utterly shameless". Any lies will do, as long as they support the cause.

Bringing us up to date, one can contrast the enthusiasm of the media back in 2009 to report the passage of two ship through the NSR with the total silence about a report published seven days ago by the Barents Observer warning that: "A critical situation might be in the making on the Northern Sea Route".

An early freeze, the paper said, had taken shippers by surprise and more than 20 vessels were either stuck or struggling to make it through increasingly thick sea-ice. Over the past years, the paper continued, shipping along the Russian northern coast had proceeded rather smoothly in late October and early November. But not this year. Large parts of the remote Arctic waters were in late October covered by sea-ice. And the white sheet was quickly getting thicker and harder to navigate.

So much, therefore for the NSIDC caveat about "continued melt conditions", but the paper had not finished. Ice maps, it said, show that major parts of the Laptev Sea and the East Siberian Sea are covered by sea-ice that is more than 15 cm thick. In the eastern parts of the East Siberian Sea are areas with up to 70 cm thick one-year ice, as well as 2 meter thick multi-year ice.

Ships located on the eastern part of the route included two oil tankers and a significant number of bulk carriers. Among the latter were three ships bringing iron ore from the Canadian Milne Island to China, and two vessels carrying iron ore from Murmansk.

This is very much redolent of a story I covered in January 2011 when a number of Russian ships became trapped by ice in the Sea of Okhotsk, part of the Gulf of Sakhalin. Only briefly mentioned by the BBC and not at all by the rest of the UK media, I followed the drama all the way to the end, in what was a very tense affair with no certain outcome.

This time round, on 10 November, the Barents Observer was retailing the news that two icebreakers were on their way to rescue the ice-locked ships.

The paper added the detail that, over the past years, ice conditions in late October and early November had allowed extensive shipping along the vast Russian Arctic coast. This year, it says, large parts of the remote Arctic waters were already in late October covered by sea-ice.

Furthermore, the ice was quickly getting thicker and harder to navigate. There was an ice layer across most of the Laptev Sea and East Siberian Sea that was up to 30 cm thick. And in the strait separating the mainland with the Island of Wrangel there was an area with more than a metre thick multi-year ice.

But what was also very interesting is the way the ice extent has caught both shippers and the authorities by surprise, so much so that an October report was telling us that the period of unassisted navigation on the Northern Sea Route had increased by three to four weeks.

Thus, no preparations have been made for the sudden chill and, of the two rescue icebreakers, the nuclear-powered Yamal was on the 9th of November still moored in Murmansk, at the other end of the NSR, while the Novorossiisk was located off the coast of Kamchatka.

The Yamal is not due to arrive in the region until 20 November, while the diesel-powered Novorossiisk is expected to arrive tomorrow. Additional help is not close to hand. Russia's two most modern nuclear icebreakers, the 50 Let Pobedy and the Arktika, are currently moored in Murmansk and St. Petersburg respectively, the latter undergoing a technical upgrade to one of its three electro engines.

No further news has emerged but this is another example to add to the many over the years which illustrate how selective and essentially dishonest climate change propaganda is.

Now that CoP26 is finished, though, most of the media will move onto other things – bar the Guardian and a few others – probably with next to nothing reported on this unfolding drama. And there are plenty of other issues to cover, not least of which is the bomb in Liverpool, which is being treated as a terrorist incident.

But, while the media, and with it most of the nation, are looking the other way, the beat goes on. There's the next CoP scheduled for 7-18 November 2022, held in the luxury Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Then there's CoP28 to be held in the UAE in 2023. After that, there'll be the next one, and the next.

It would be nice, therefore, if we could all breathe a sigh of relief and go back to sleep, but it ain't over. It's very far from over. And while early snow is forecast for the UK "within days", the real damage is only just about to start.

Also published on Turbulent Times.

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