Pushing and Pulling in the Arctic
The crew of the Arctic Joule continues to push ahead in the Arctic, and they’ve had a pretty good last couple of days (August 15-17). They’re now on shore just north of Bernard Harbor (not much but a little airstrip) and will be passing Chantry Island soon. I’ve added a new chart to show their progress a different way.
(Later: They’ve passed it, and are still going. They’ll be clear of the Dolphin and Union Strait and into the Coronation Gulf today at this rate, and can turn back east toward their goal.)
They’re facing a very cold summer indeed. Here’s a chart showing 2013′s Arctic temperature against the long-term average: We never even hit the average during the melt season this year, and it’s already dropped below freezing (average at 80° north and above):
On the new MLF_DeHavelle.PDF, I added a new chart (on Page 2 of the PDF) showing their progress kilometers per day. That begs a question: What counts as a day? What if they don’t have the GPS on, and thus most of their progress shows up when the eventually turn it on the next day? What end-of-day time is used? Universal Time? Pacific Time, where they started out? The timezone that the rowers are in at the moment (and they’re crossing through three of them)?
I’ve experimented with each of these. The GPS system sends out Universal Time on its pings, though the MainstreamLastFirst.com site translates these to the viewer’s local time zone. Since they’re still in “midnight sun” mode, they are not tied to notions of “day” and “night” in the normal sense. So, UT seemed to make sense.
What I started out with was to take the last ping of each day, whenever it was, subtract the last ping of the previous day, and determine the track covered in that time. I then factored this by the difference between the two ping times versus a standard 24 hour day. In other words, if they covered 60 kilometers but there was a 36-hour gap between day 1 and day 2, I used 24/36 of the distance or 40 kilometers as their KpD. Similarly, if there was only 12 hours difference, I doubled the distance.
This seemed fair, but was unsatisfactory in two large ways: First, it assumed a reasonably steady rate of progress, and we know the crew has battled weather and has seen good runs alternating with days sitting it out waiting for the wind to abate. Anything but the steady, 24-hours-per-day rowing that they planned on. Second, the calculation also “manufactured” and “disappeared” distances that never did quite resolve themselves. So now I’m simply summing up the distance covered on that date and calling it good. I’m also using Pacific time again, sort of arbitrarily, to keep certain calculations simpler. Here’s the result:
They’re working hard and moving well today (Aug 18, as of 9am Pacific), and it seems that in the last couple of days they’ve broken free of their habit of pulling the boat by hand along the shoreline, or staying in the shallows so they could fall back to this technique. At one point, they spoke of pulling the boat for 100km. That “pulling together for climate change” wasn’t what they intended. But today they’re moving well — 40km so far, with many hours to go.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle