Archive for the ‘Antarctic’ Category

Reading University shows Antarctic ice increased over last 3 decades and is largely unchanged over 100 years

November 24, 2016

You cannot have “global” warming which applies differently to different parts of the globe. If man-made CO2 is having any significant effect on “global” temperature it must be an effect that is visible in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Even if all the Arctic ice melts but the Antarctic ice does not then “global” warming is clearly not “global”.

A new study by Reading University shows that Antarctic ice is largely unchanged over 100 years and increasing over the last 3 decades. The man-made “global” warming theory is just not possible with these results.

Research article
21 Nov 2016

Estimating the extent of Antarctic summer sea ice during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

Tom Edinburgh1,a and Jonathan J. Day11Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK
acurrently at: Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

Abstract. In stark contrast to the sharp decline in Arctic sea ice, there has been a steady increase in ice extent around Antarctica during the last three decades, especially in the Weddell and Ross seas. In general, climate models do not to capture this trend and a lack of information about sea ice coverage in the pre-satellite period limits our ability to quantify the sensitivity of sea ice to climate change and robustly validate climate models. However, evidence of the presence and nature of sea ice was often recorded during early Antarctic exploration, though these sources have not previously been explored or exploited until now. We have analysed observations of the summer sea ice edge from the ship logbooks of explorers such as Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and their contemporaries during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration(1897–1917), and in this study we compare these to satellite observations from the period 1989–2014, offering insight into the ice conditions of this period, from direct observations, for the first time. This comparison shows that the summer sea ice edge was between 1.0 and 1.7° further north in the Weddell Sea during this period but that ice conditions were surprisingly comparable to the present day in other sectors.


Citation: Edinburgh, T. and Day, J. J.: Estimating the extent of Antarctic summer sea ice during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, The Cryosphere, 10, 2721-2730, doi:10.5194/tc-10-2721-2016, 2016.

Ice observations recorded in the ships’ logbooks of explorers such as the British Captain Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton and the German Erich von Drygalski have been used to compare where the Antarctic ice edge was during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration (1897-1917) and where satellites show it is today.

The study, published in the European Geosciences Union journal The Cryosphere, suggests Antarctic sea ice is much less sensitive to the effects of climate change than that of the Arctic, which in stark contrast has experienced a dramatic decline during the 20th century. ……

……. Jonathan Day, who led the study, said: “The missions of Scott and Shackleton are remembered in history as heroic failures, yet the data collected by these and other explorers could profoundly change the way we view the ebb and flow of Antarctic sea ice.

“We know that sea ice in the Antarctic has increased slightly over the past 30 years, since satellite observations began. Scientists have been grappling to understand this trend in the context of global warming, but these new findings suggest it may not be anything new.

“If ice levels were as low a century ago as estimated in this research, then a similar increase may have occurred between then and the middle of the century, when previous studies suggest ice levels were far higher.”

The new study published in The Cryosphere is the first to shed light on sea ice extent in the period prior to the 1930s, and suggests the levels in the early 1900s were in fact similar to today, at between 5.3 and 7.4 million square kilometres. Although one region, the Weddell Sea, did have a significantly larger ice cover.

Published estimates suggest Antarctic sea ice extent was significantly higher during the 1950s, before a steep decline returned it to around 6 million square kilometres in recent decades.

The research suggests that the climate of Antarctica may have fluctuated significantly throughout the 20th century, swinging between decades of high ice cover and decades of low ice cover, rather than enduring a steady downward trend.


 

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New Nature paper: Polar ice melt would only raise sea level by 10cm (4″) by 2100

November 25, 2015

I am surprised first that Nature, given its blatant bias, accepted such a paper for publication, and second that it was published so close to the Paris conference (end of this week). Perhaps they felt it would just get lost among the massive propaganda blitz that is currently going on.

  • Catherine Ritz, Tamsin L. Edwards, Gaël Durand, Antony J. Payne, Vincent Peyaud, Richard C. A. Hindmarsh. Potential sea-level rise from Antarctic ice-sheet instability constrained by observations. Nature, 2015; DOI: 10.1038/nature16147

Right now the ice cover at the poles (Antarctic and Arctic) are each within one SD of the long-term average. So is the global ice cover. If now any future excess melt, if it occurs, can only cause a rise of sea level of 4 inches by 2100, one wonders what the IPCC and the Paris conference are actually trying to prevent.

Global ice cover 22Nov2015  From sunshinehours

Global ice cover 22Nov2015 From sunshinehours 

It is not the first time that the IPCC has exaggerated (and it won’t be the last). But their scare scenarios of 1 metre sea level rise are themselves plain rubbish; which make the doomsday scenarios put out by the global warming “enthusiasts”, of upto 10 metres (30 feet) or more of sea level rise by 2100 just religious fantasy.

Four inches of seal level rise is what is at stake.

GWPF:

The risk of the Antarctic ice sheet collapsing and flooding coasts around the world has been exaggerated, according to researchers.

Previous studies had claimed that melting Antarctic ice could contribute one metre to the rising sea levels by the end of the century, flooding the homes of 150 million people and threatening dozens of coastal cities.

However, a team of British and French scientists has found that the collapse in the ice sheet is likely to raise sea levels by 10cm by 2100. An increase in sea levels from the ice sheet becoming unstable is “extremely unlikely to be higher than 30cm” this century, they say, describing previous, more apocalyptic predictions, as implausible.

The study, published in the journal Nature, found that there was a one in 20 chance that parts of the ice sheet breaking off could contribute more than 30cm to the sea level by the end of the century and more than 72cm by 2200.

The sea level has already risen by 19cm since 1901 and the annual rate has almost doubled since then to about 3.2mm a year, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The UN agency predicted in 2013 that sea levels would rise by about another 60cm by 2100. The panel was unable to calculate, and did not include in its prediction, the risk of substantial parts of the Antarctic ice sheet collapsing.

Some studies suggested that the risk was high and that the overall increase in the sea level would be well over a metre by 2100 once the collapse of the ice sheet was included.

Tamsin Edwards, an author of the new study — which involved scientists from the University of Bristol and Grenoble Alpes University — said that earlier reports were likely to be wrong because they were based on simpler computer models which contained many uncertainties.

Confirmed: Antarctic has been gaining ice mass (even while fossil fuel use has been increasing)

November 1, 2015

One again, very clear evidence that the IPCC reports are mere advocacy for lobby groups. They are not scientific reports.

A new study by NASA confirms their finding of 2012 that the Antarctic is gaining in ice mass. The paper is published in the Journal of Glaciology.

Zwally, H. Jay, ; Li, Jun; Robbins, John W.; Saba, Jack L.; Yi, Donghui; Brenner, Anita C. Mass gains of the Antarctic ice sheet exceed losses. Journal of Glaciology, 2015 DOI: 10.3189/2015JoG15J071

Antarctic ice accumulation not only provides no evidence of any global warming, it is also direct evidence that the global warming hypothesis itself is flawed. This ice accumulation has been taking place while carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has been increasing. Leaving aside how much of this increase may be due to human use of fossil fuel, the ice accumulation shows that carbon dioxide concentration is not a significant factor.

As the French mathematicians recently charged:

no sensible, high-quality journal would publish the IPPC‘s work. The IPPC‘s conclusions go against observed facts; the figures used are deliberately chosen to support its conclusions (with no regard for the most basic scientific honesty), and the natural variability of phenomena is passed over without comment. The IPPC‘s report fails to respect the fundamental rules of scientific research and could not be published in any review with a reading panel.

The new NASA paper shows that in recent times the Antarctic gains about 200 billion tons of ice a year while losing about 65 billion tons. Which also means that the Antarctic is responsible for about 135 million tons of water leaving the water cycle and being locked up as ice. This water can only come from the moisture concentration in the atmosphere (including clouds) or from the sea. There is no measurable change in the moisture in the atmosphere and that leaves the seas.

Rather than Antarctic melting causing sea level rise, Antarctic ice accumulation is most likely reducing the rate of sea level rise due to the recovery from the last glacial.

Of course the global warming orthodoxy will now tell us with impressive modelling results, that ice increasing at the Antarctic is perfectly consistent with the warming of the planet.

Go pull the other one.

This and the 2012 paper are in direct contradiction to the IPCC’s 2013 report which claimed that the Antarctic was losing ice. But as the French mathematicians noted the IPCC reports would not meet the normal publishing standards for scientific reports.

I don’t suppose anybody will take any notice of this during the Paris wealth transfer discussions. When will any politician or government have the courage to challenge the religious orthodoxy?

Abstract:

Mass changes of the Antarctic ice sheet impact sea-level rise as climate changes, but recent rates have been uncertain. Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) data (2003–08) show mass gains from snow accumulation exceeded discharge losses by 82 ± 25 Gt a–1, reducing global sea-level rise by 0.23 mm a–1. European Remote-sensing Satellite (ERS) data (1992–2001) give a similar gain of 112 ± 61 Gt a–1. Gains of 136 Gt a–1 in East Antarctica (EA) and 72 Gt a–1 in four drainage systems (WA2) in West Antarctic (WA) exceed losses of 97 Gt a–1 from three coastal drainage systems (WA1) and 29 Gt a–1 from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP). EA dynamic thickening of 147 Gt a–1 is a continuing response to increased accumulation (>50%) since the early Holocene. Recent accumulation loss of 11 Gt a–1 in EA indicates thickening is not from contemporaneous snowfall increases. Similarly, the WA2 gain is mainly (60 Gt a–1) dynamic thickening. In WA1 and the AP, increased losses of 66 ± 16 Gt a–1 from increased dynamic thinning from accelerating glaciers are 50% offset by greater WA snowfall. The decadal increase in dynamic thinning in WA1 and the AP is approximately one-third of the long-term dynamic thickening in EA and WA2, which should buffer additional dynamic thinning for decades.

This map shows the rates of mass changes from ICESat 2003-2008 over Antarctica. Sums are for all of Antarctica: East Antarctica (EA, 2-17); interior West Antarctica (WA2, 1, 18, 19, and 23); coastal West Antarctica (WA1, 20-21); and the Antarctic Peninsula (24-27). Credit: Jay Zwally/ Journal of Glaciology

This map shows the rates of mass changes from ICESat 2003-2008 over Antarctica. Sums are for all of Antarctica: East Antarctica (EA, 2-17); interior West Antarctica (WA2, 1, 18, 19, and 23); coastal West Antarctica (WA1, 20-21); and the Antarctic Peninsula (24-27).
Credit: Jay Zwally/ Journal of Glaciology

Science Daily reports:

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

“We’re essentially in agreement with other studies that show an increase in ice discharge in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Thwaites and Pine Island region of West Antarctica,” said Jay Zwally, a glaciologist with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study, which was published on Oct. 30 in the Journal of Glaciology. “Our main disagreement is for East Antarctica and the interior of West Antarctica — there, we see an ice gain that exceeds the losses in the other areas.” Zwally added that his team “measured small height changes over large areas, as well as the large changes observed over smaller areas.” 

Scientists calculate how much the ice sheet is growing or shrinking from the changes in surface height that are measured by the satellite altimeters. In locations where the amount of new snowfall accumulating on an ice sheet is not equal to the ice flow downward and outward to the ocean, the surface height changes and the ice-sheet mass grows or shrinks.

But still the authors find it necessary to bow down to orthodoxy. That’s probably necessary to get published and to avoid being labelled climate heretics. “It might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse”. Right, and then again it might not.

But it might only take a few decades for Antarctica’s growth to reverse, according to Zwally. “If the losses of the Antarctic Peninsula and parts of West Antarctica continue to increase at the same rate they’ve been increasing for the last two decades, the losses will catch up with the long-term gain in East Antarctica in 20 or 30 years — I don’t think there will be enough snowfall increase to offset these losses.”

In any event, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by cutting the use of fossil  fuels is of no significance to Antarctic ice accumulation – and therefore, of no significance either to any global warming that may be occurring.

No evidence of any global warming in robust Arctic and Antarctic ice extents

July 8, 2015

After 40+ years of an imagined, man-made, global warming, the ice extent at the poles and in the Greenland Ice Sheet seem pretty robust – individually and collectively.

No further commentary is necessary.

Arctic Ice Extent – 6th July 2015

Arctic Ice Extent 6 July 2015

Arctic Ice Extent 6 July 2015

Antarctic Ice Extent – 6th July 2015

Antarctic Ice Extent 6 July 2015

Antarctic Ice Extent 6 July 2015

Mass of Greenland Ice Sheet 

Greenland Icesheet mass 2015

Greenland Icesheet mass 2015

Reality check: Increasing sea ice making it difficult to reach Antarctic stations

May 12, 2015

This is reality – not a forecast from a a mathematical model.

news.com:

THE size and power of ships needed to break through Antarctica’s increasing sea ice levels is a worry for the global research community.

IN recent years countries including Australia have battled to reach their stations on the frozen continent, making resupply missions time consuming and expensive, Australian Antarctic Division spokesman Rod Wooding said.

“We’re noticing that the sea ice situation is becoming more difficult,” he told reporters on Monday.The sea ice through the Southern Ocean and around Australia’s Mawson Station usually breaks up for a couple of months a year allowing ships to enter the bay but that did not happen in 2013-14.“We had to get fuel in by helicopter which is inadequate for the long-term sustainability of the station,” Dr Wooding said.“Other national programs have had similar problems: the French in particular, Japanese also.”

The problem has been the main driver for a meeting of more than 50 international experts, convening in Hobart until Wednesday, to try and nut out a plan to accurately forecast sea ice levels.Meteorologists along with ice and Antarctic experts will take part in a series of workshops, looking at trends in satellite imagery and the environment.“One of the things that Antarctic programs will need to understand going forward is what sort of ice breaking capability we’re going to need to get through the ice in these areas,” Dr Wooding said.“Australia is currently in a tender process for a new ice breaker … and it’s important in understanding what sort of ice breaker we might need … to have a good understanding of likely sea ice conditions.”The

re is no single reason why sea ice levels are increasing but Hobart-based expert Tony Worby said it tends to gather around icebergs and wind patterns also play a part.“We know sea ice extent is increasing, there was a record maximum in September 2014,” Prof Worby said. “It’s quite hard to forecast but whatever effort we put in to improving our ability to forecast sea ice will ultimately pay dividends in terms of savings for national programs.”

Sunshinehours also points out that current Antarctic sea ice extent is the highest measured for this time of year. (In fact the global sea ice extent is the 3rd highest ever measured for this day of the year).

Antarctic_Sea_Ice_Extent_Zoomed_2015_Day_130_1981-2010

from sunshinehours

 

Antarctic sea ice much thicker than expected

November 25, 2014

The British Antarctic Survey has issued a press release regarding the use of a robot submarine which has been measuring the thickness of Antarctic sea ice. The submarine can operate at upto 30m depth and maps the sea ice from underneath. They found that, on average, the thickness of the ice beneath sea level was much greater than previously thought at 1.4 to 5.5m, with the thickest sea ice measured at 16m. They also encountered a lot of highly deformed ice, where one block had ridden over another, increasing the overall draft.

“We suggest that thick ice in the near-coastal and interior pack may be under-represented in existing in situ assessments of Antarctic sea ice and hence, on average, Antarctic sea ice may be thicker than previously thought.”

No doubt some will contort their theories and themselves to show how increased sea ice thickness and greatly increased ice cover in the Antarctic are perfectly consistent with global warming. I am inclined to the much more parsimonious explanation that increased freezing is always a sign of cooling.

The first detailed, high-resolution 3-D maps of Antarctic sea ice have been developed using an underwater robot. Scientists from the UK, USA and Australia say the new technology provides accurate ice thickness measurements from areas that were previously too difficult to access. …

Now, with the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) known as SeaBED, scientists have an invaluable new tool to fill this gap.

While most oceanographic survey instruments look down at the seafloor, SeaBED was fitted with an upward-looking sonar in order to measure and map the underside of sea ice floes. The AUV operated at a depth of 20 to 30 meters and was driven in a lawnmower pattern. These lines of data were merged to form high-resolution 3D bathymetric surveys of the underside of the ice.

Photo

SeaBed vehicle recovery Photo P. Kimball / Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

 

The yellow SeaBED robot, which is approximately two meters long and weighs nearly 200 kilograms, has a twin-hull design that gives the robot enhanced stability for low-speed photographic surveys. …….. 
The research was carried out by scientists at the Institute of Antarctic and Marine Science (Australia), Antarctic Climate and Ecosystem Cooperative Research Centre (Australia), Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (USA) and British Antarctic Survey (UK).

Live Science:

Not only is the amount of sea ice increasing each year, but an underwater robot now shows the ice is also much thicker than was previously thought, a new study reports.

The discovery adds to the ongoing mystery of Antarctica’s expanding sea ice. According to climate models, the region’s sea ice should be shrinking each year because of global warming. Instead, satellite observations show the ice is expanding, and the continent’s sea ice has set new records for the past three winters. At the same time, Antarctica’s ice sheet (the glacial ice on land) is melting and retreating. …….

The findings were published today (Nov. 24) in the journal Nature Geoscience. ….. 

The sea ice growth around Antarctica has averaged about 1.2 percent to 1.8 percent per decade between 1979 and 2012, according to the 2013 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report. The increases are concentrated primarily in the Ross Sea in western Antarctica. Sea ice in the nearby Bellingshausen and Amundsen seas has significantly decreased. Researchers suspect these regional differences could result from stronger winds or increased meltwater from the Antarctic ice sheet, or a combination of both factors.

Antarctic sea ice extent at the highest ever measured

September 16, 2014

Antarctic ice extent is at all time high levels. Since satellite measurement began in 1978, such high levels of ice extent have never been measured.

An area about three times the size of Australia, in the Antarctic region, is now covered by sea ice.

And even the growing ice is blamed by the acolytes on global warming in the atmosphere (which they seem to forget has been absent for 18 years)!! Of course the missing warming is said to be hiding in the deep oceans (among many other places) but not – it would seem – in the Antarctic.

CEO of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC, Tony Worby, said the warming atmosphere is leading to greater sea ice coverage by changing wind patterns.

Sunshinehours:

Antarctic Sea Ice Extent Sept 15 2014 – 1,224,000 sq km above the 1981-2010 mean. Data for Day 257. Data here.

18,000 sq km higher than yesterdays record. And 170,000 sq km higher than 2013’s all-time record.

Antarctic sea ice extent 2014 day 257 image sunshinehours

Antarctic sea ice extent 2014 day 257 image sunshinehours

abc.net

Satellite image showing Antarctic sea ice

A satellite image of Antarctica showing sea ice extent. The red line is the average for September – Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems CRC

Alarmists wail – “Collapse” of Antarctic ice is nigh (but it could take 1000 years)

May 13, 2014

There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The headlines would suggest an impending catastrophe. The Western Atlantic ice sheet is “collapsing”. Sea level could rise 1.2m.

The end of the world is nigh. And it is all due to global warming!!

Yes indeed – except that the melting has been going on for centuries. The so called “collapse” may take upto 1,000 years! Measurements over 9 years are projected over a millenium. Computer models have forecast that the loss of the glaciers is unstoppable and will occur sometime in the next 1,000 years.

The Guardian: Western Antarctic ice sheet collapse has already begun, scientists warn

BBC: ‘Nothing can stop retreat’ of West Antarctic glaciers

A collapse in very slow motion!

The alarmist headlines are are based on two papers. Note that one is based on 9 years of measurement and the other is a computer forecast about a “collapse” that is potentially underway.

1. E. Rignot, J. Mouginot, M. Morlighem, H. Seroussi and B. Scheuchl, Widespread, rapid grounding line retreat of Pine Island, Thwaites, Smith and Kohler glaciers, West Antarctica from 1992 to 2011, Geophysical Research LettersDOI: 10.1002/2014GL060140

AbstractWe measure the grounding line retreat of glaciers draining the Amundsen Sea Embayment of West Antarctica using Earth Remote Sensing (ERS-1/2) satellite radar interferometry from 1992 to 2011. Pine Island Glacier retreated 31 km at its center, with most retreat in 2005–2009 when the glacier un-grounded from its ice plain. Thwaites Glacier retreated 14 km along its fast-flow core and 1 to 9 km along the sides. Haynes Glacier retreated 10 km along its flanks. Smith/Kohler glaciers retreated the most, 35 km along its ice plain, and its ice shelf pinning points are vanishing. These rapid retreats proceed along regions of retrograde bed elevation mapped at a high spatial resolution using a mass conservation technique (MC) that removes residual ambiguities from prior mappings. Upstream of the 2011 grounding line positions, we find no major bed obstacle that would prevent the glaciers from further retreat and draw down the entire basin.

2. Ian Joughin, Benjamin E. Smith and Brooke Medley,  Marine Ice Sheet Collapse Potentially Underway for the Thwaites Glacier Basin, West AntarcticaScience,     DOI: 10.1126/science.1249055

Abstract: Resting atop a deep marine basin, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has long been considered prone to instability. Using a numerical model, we investigate the sensitivity of Thwaites Glacier to ocean melt and whether unstable retreat is already underway. Our model reproduces observed losses when forced with ocean melt comparable to estimates. Simulated losses are moderate (<0.25 mm per year sea level) over the 21st Century, but generally increase thereafter. Except possibly for the lowest-melt scenario, the simulations indicate early-stage collapse has begun. Less certain is the timescale, with onset of rapid (> 1 mm per year of sea-level rise) collapse for the different simulations within the range of two to nine centuries.

 

The Antarctic glaciers may well be retreating (as glaciers are often wont to do), but Antarctic ice cover is at an all time high and the processes being forecast are being projected over millenia. And there is absolutely no evidence that these processes have anything whatever to do with any man-made effects. That connection is inferred  or assumed.

Related: The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg jumps the shark again – gets called out by NYT

 

Turney’s tourists return

January 22, 2014

UPDATE!

Climate Audit points out:

The Sydney Morning Herald account adds the remarkable claim that Turney took more passengers into the field even after the evacuation notice had been issued:

A passenger standing near Professor Turney overheard the voyage leader, Greg Mortimer, telling him over the radio to bring passengers back to the ship so it can leave. But minutes later, Professor Turney drove six more passengers into the field. The overloaded vehicle had no space to collect returning passengers.

=============================================

Turney and his tourists from the Ship of Fools have returned.

The BBC covers the return.

But there are still unanswered questions as to who will pay for the expensive international rescue mission. The Aurora Australis had to suspend a resupply mission to Australia’s permanent base in the Antarctic, Casey Station, to take part in the rescue.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a long and – for them – unusually questioning article about the fiasco.

The inside story of how a polar expedition went terribly wrong, leaving dozens of tourists and scientists trapped in the ice.

This account has been reconstructed from interviews with members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013/14, most of whom wished to remain anonymous, who witnessed events or overheard conversations, and the report the voyage leader, Greg Mortimer, submitted to IAATO.

Mortimer declined to comment on his report.

The Shokalskiy’s captain, Igor Kielev, did not respond to Fairfax Media’s emails.

Chris Turney and Chris Fogwill, the expedition leaders, also declined to comment on specific questions regarding events on December 23.

Nicky Phillips and Colin Cosier travelled on board the Aurora Australis as part of the Australian Antarctic Division’s media fellowship program.

Amazingly, Chris Turney gets an award for “contributing to the understanding natural phenomena”. I suppose it’s a case of rewarding the Fool Who Rushed In!!

JoNova:

The Australian Academy of Science has announced it’s 2014 Academy awards to “celebrate scientific excellence.”

To show how excellent, their excellence is, the Frederick White Prize for scientific achievements contributing to the understanding of natural phenomena goes to Professor Chris Turney, University of New South Wales.

Turney’s tourists: the heroes who weren’t

January 9, 2014

Turney’s tourists on his Ship of Fools are severely taken to task by David Roberts in the National Geographic. They see themselves as heroes. But they were just a bunch of spoilt dilettantes who were out on a frivolous lark of no scientific significance. Douglas Mawson will be spinning in his grave.

The members of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 (AAE)—who intended to re-create a very small part of Sir Douglas Mawson‘s original monumental expedition of 1911-14—seemed strangely blasé—even giddily upbeat—during their ten days stranded in the ice. 

They recorded a New Year’s Eve sing-along for YouTube and chatted about yoga classes and knot-tying lessons to while away the time.

On their Spirit of Mawson expedition blog, one passenger signed off on December 28: “It’s Saturday and it’s bar-time (bar opens at 6 pm), so I am going to leave it here.”

They even seemed to relish their crisis. The BBC quoted Tracy Rogers, the team’s marine ecologist, as saying, “It’s fantastic—I love it when the ice wins and we don’t. It reminds you that as humans, we don’t control everything … We’ve got several penguins watching us, thinking ‘What the hell are you doing stuck in our ice?’ The sky is a beautiful grey—it looks like it wants to have a bit of a snow. It’s the perfect Christmas, really.”

For many seasoned adventurers, the team’s attitude was hard to swallow. It seemed to betoken a new kind of entitlement, in which folks who get into serious trouble take it for granted that other people will risk their lives to save them. ….

Perversely, for the general public, the hapless passengers seemed to emerge as the heroes of the story, even though they did nothing but twiddle their thumbs and wait for the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long to come to their rescue, which ended by trapping the much bigger vessel in the ice. The U.S. sent another icebreaker, the U.S. Polar Star, to rescueXue Long and Shokalskiy, but that mission was recently called off when the ships were able to break free from the ice. …..

…… The whole expedition, these experts implied, amounted to a “frivolous” lark that added almost nothing to our knowledge of the southern continent. …

The real heroes of the story were the 101 members of the Xue Long, the 22 crew members of the Shokalskiy who stayed with their ship, the crew of the Polar Star, and that of the Australian ship Aurora Australis that powered south to receive the airlifted refugees.

“It seems unlikely that the dilettantes who signed up for AAE 2013-14 would soon fork over the funds to pay for their perilous and expensive rescue. They’re still too busy congratulating themselves.

The Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long got free of the ice 5 days after Turney’s tourists abandoned ship. Why the tourists needed to be rescued is still a mystery. Presumably the booze had run out.


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