Maybe you heard about the three icebreakers going to the rescue of the Russian passenger ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy stuck in frozen Antarctican waters with 74 researchers, crew and tourists aboard. They got hit by 50 knot winds and a blizzard Monday, are frozen about 100 miles east of Dumont D’urville, and the first expected to arrive is expected to be the Chinese Snow Dragon. The ice is about ten feet thick in places.
The iced-in Russian ship usually keeps to open waters, but is following the path of explorer Sir Douglas Mawson a century ago, and conducting the same experiments as that crew. The blizzard came up unexpectedly. The ship still runs, and is provisioned to feed the passengers. Now they’ve been stuck since Monday December 23rd.
Now, six miles away, the Snow dragon is stuck in the ice. The French Icebreaker Astrolabe is looking like it may be stuck too. And the The Aurora Australis is two days away.
If you want to follow their progress firsthand, journalists aboard are tweeting from @alokjha, @loztopham, and @GdnAntarctica.
What is a little ironic, (or not, if they start to get claustrophobic) is that an Australian climate change professor is in charge of a ship is full of climate experts studying the effects of climate change. From here in sunny California we could have saved them a pretty penny. It looks like the prognosis on the south pole is this: Still cold out there.