Global warming at its best.
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The United States Coast Guard is sending the Oregon-based icebreaker Polar Star south to the Antarctic to free a Russian research ship that got trapped in the ice, and also to free a Chinese icebreaker that got trapped in the ice while trying to free the Russian ship. An Australian icebreaker also was unable to help. The 399-feet long Polar Star can break ice that’s six feet deep, at a continuous rate of three knots.

The Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy with 52 passengers was on a four-week expedition to follow the path taken a century ago by Australian explorer Sir Douglas Mawson.

One aim of the expedition was to track how quickly the Antarctic’s sea ice was disappearing because of global warming, but a blizzard and thick ice caused the expedition to be abandoned on Christmas eve, despite the fact that it’s the height of Summer in the Antarctic.