When we sailed east past Marion Island in the Indian Ocean a few days ago, we were 220 miles further north than when we sailed past here in Vendée Globe 2008. Then, as now, there were course restrictions for safety from icebergs breaking off Antarctica that we had to stay north of. Although we never sailed precisely at those limits, it’s interesting to note that the Antarctic Exclusion Zone (Vendée Globe 2016’s iceberg protection) is much further north than the series of ice gates in Vendée Globe 2008.
Of course my observation of this, and race management’s placing of the ice constraints, do not constitute scientific data. But they compel me to ask our Climate expert Dr. Jan Witting whether there are more icebergs breaking off Antarctica due to a changing climate, or not? Or perhaps there is another reason that the hazard has moved north?
Research in Greenland tells that the glaciers there are melting and receding. This is known by on-site researchers, who go back year after year to establish trends in one direction or another, and by satellite photographs. Similarly for the Arctic Ocean ice, satellites show that the coverage of ice is getting smaller. The same goes for glaciers in the Himalayas.
Do any of these data persuade on their own that the climate is changing? No, but the consensus of evidence globally is substantive, and one can conclude that, yes, the climate is changing. It all rests on the data, and we must look to those experts in the field for that data, and for their insights. We can wish or hope that the climate were not changing, but we cannot deny facts.