Posts Tagged ‘Antarctica’

Why was it necessary to rescue the Antarctic wimps’ expedition if the crew can remain aboard?

January 2, 2014

A Ship of Fools and Wimps. And they claim to be invoking the Spirit of Mawson!

The global warmists and their hangers-on have all been rescued from their ship trapped in the Antarctic ice. But the crew remains on board and are prepared to wait it out until the ice lets them go.

Why then did they have to be rescued with the enormous expenditure and diversion of resources that entailed? 

Their travails – if any – pale in comparison to what Mawson encountered 100 years ago.  For these fools to invoke the Spirit of Mawson is a travesty. They were in no danger. Their expedition to prove that the Eastern Antarctic ice was melting has ended up as a fiasco.

What were they being rescued from – except failure and boredomNamby-pamby and spoilt brats and wimps come to mind.

The Australian writes:

Stuck on a ship of (cold) fools

YOU have to feel a touch of sympathy for the global warming scientists, journalists and other hangers-on aboard the Russian ship stuck in impenetrable ice in Antarctica, the mission they so confidently embarked on to establish solid evidence of melting ice caps resulting from climate change embarrassingly abandoned because the ice is, in fact, so impossibly thick.

The aim of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition, led by Chris Turney of the University of NSW, was to prove the East Antarctic ice sheet is melting. Its website spoke alarmingly of “an increasing body of evidence” showing “melting and collapse from ocean warming”. Instead, rescue ships and a helicopter, all belching substantial carbon emissions, have had to be mobilised to pluck those aboard the icebreaker MV Akademik Schokalskiy from their plight, stuck in what appears to be, ironically, record amounts of ice for this time of year.

In that lies a hard lesson for those who persistently exaggerate the impact of global warming. We believe in man-made climate change and are no less concerned than others about it. But the cause of sensible policy is ill-served by exaggeration; there is a need for recognition of the science, which shows there are variations in how climate is changing and what the impact is, or will be.

Professor Turney’s expedition was supposed to repeat scientific investigations made by Douglas Mawson a century ago and to compare then and now. Not unreasonably, it has been pointed out Mawson’s ship was never icebound. Sea ice has been steadily increasing, despite the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s gloomy forecasts. Had the expedition found the slightest evidence to confirm its expectation of melting ice caps and thin ice, a major new scare about the plight of the planet would have followed. As they are transferred to sanctuary aboard the icebreaker Aurora Australis, Professor Turney and his fellow evacuees must accept the embarrassing failure of their mission shows how uncertain the science of climate change really is. They cannot reasonably do otherwise.

But what was the danger requiring them to be rescued? And why are their lives more valuable than those of the crew of the Akademik Shokalskiy?

Chris Turney comes out of this as the Chief Fool and Lead Wimp.The journalists will no doubt wish to treated as brave reporters returning from the war front. The Climate Change Research Centre of the University of New South Wales would seem to have more money than sense.

How Mawson met the Antarctic challenge 100 years ago

January 2, 2014

This comment by a reader about an earlier post is being elevated to be a post in its own right.

The Smithsonian also has an article titled: The Most Terrible Polar Exploration Ever: Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic Journey. 

Douglas Mawson, leader and sole survivor of the Far Eastern Sledge Party, in 1913. Photo: Wikicommons.

By Darryl Ware

What a bunch of wusses! Sir Douglas Mawson must be rotating in his tomb on learning of how the whole fey mob of “intrepid adventurers” suddenly ditch their goal of commemorating Mawson’s spirit, and prepare to helibandon the whole “expedition” and scurry home to Mum.

Good god! I mean, just look at the difference between the original Mawson and these arrivistes when faced with Antarctic adversity.

Here’s how Mawson met the challenge 100 years ago. Note the difference in attitude and resolve.

They were 31 men at the bottom of the world exploring uncharted territory. What followed was one of the most terrifying survival stories of all time.

Mawson heard the faint whine of a dog behind him. It must be, he thought, one of the six huskies pulling the rear sledge. But then Mertz, who had been scouting ahead on skis all morning, stopped and turned in his tracks. Mawson saw his look of alarm. He turned and looked back. The featureless plateau of snow and ice stretched into the distance, marked only by the tracks Mawson’s sledge had left. Where was the other sledge? Mawson rushed on foot back along the tracks. Suddenly he came to the edge of a gaping hole in the surface, 11 feet wide. On the far side, two separate sledge tracks led up to the hole; on the near side, only one led away.

It was December 14, 1912. Thirty years old, already a seasoned explorer, Douglas Mawson was the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE), a 31-man team pursuing the most ambitious exploration yet of the southern continent. Let Scott and Amundsen race for the South Pole. Mawson was determined to discover everything he could about a 2,000-mile-long swath of Antarctica that was terra incognita, and to wring from it the best scientific results—in terms of geology, meteorology, magnetism, biology, atmospheric science, and glaciology—ever obtained on a polar journey. Having built a hut on the shore of a cove they named Commonwealth Bay, the men of the AAE had wintered over in what was later proven to be the windiest place on Earth (at least at sea level), with gusts up to 200 mph. At times, the gales were so strong they knocked the men off their feet and sent them sliding across the ice.

Setting out in November 1912, Mawson’s sledging party was one of eight three-man teams sent off on journeys in all possible directions. For his own Far Eastern Party, he chose 29-year-old Swiss ski champion Xavier Mertz and 25-year-old Belgrave Ninnis, an eager, likeable Englishman serving in the Royal Fusiliers. Hoping to connect the unmapped interior with the heights of far-off Oates Land, discovered by Robert Falcon Scott’s party only the year before, Mawson was bent on making the deepest push of all into the unknown.

By the morning of December 14, 35 days out, the trio had reached a point nearly 300 miles from the hut. The men had crossed two major glaciers and scores of hidden crevasses—deep fissures in the ice camouflaged by thin snowbridges. Just after noon that day, Mertz had held up his ski pole, signalling yet another crevasse. Mawson judged it to be only a minor nuisance, as his sledge glided smoothly across the bridge. He called out the usual warning to Ninnis, and, in a last glance back, saw that his teammate had corrected his path to cross the crevasse head-on rather than diagonally.

Now Mawson and Mertz cut away the fragile lip of the open crevasse, roped up, and took turns leaning over the abyss. What they saw appalled them. One hundred fifty feet down, a husky lay moaning on a snow shelf, its back evidently broken. Another dog, apparently dead, lay beside it. A few pieces of gear lay scattered on the same shelf. There was no sign of Ninnis or the sledge. For three hours, Mawson and Mertz called into the depths, hoping against hope for an answering cry. They had far too little rope to lower themselves into the crevasse to search for their companion. At last they accepted the inevitable. Ninnis was dead. Gone with him were the team’s most valuable gear, including their three-man tent, the six best huskies, all the food for the dogs, and nearly all the men’s food.

The two men might have perished the first night if they hadn’t improvised a shelter. With the temperature just above 0°F, they pitched a spare tent cover over a frame concocted of sledge runners and Mertz’s skis. Inside this gloomy cave, they laid their reindeer-skin sleeping bags directly on the snow. So cramped and flimsy was their “tent” that only one man could move at a time, and neither could rise higher than a sitting position.

In the first days of their homeward dash, driven by adrenaline, they made excellent mileage. But during the next two weeks, the dogs gave out one by one. When George, then Johnson, then Mary could no longer pull, they were loaded on the sledge and carried to that night’s camp, where the men shot them with the rifle. Desperate to hoard their tiny supplies of pemmican, biscuits, raisins, and cocoa, the men ate the tough, stringy dog meat, then threw the bones and skin to the remaining huskies, which fought ravenously over every scrap.

Navigating with a theodolite and dead reckoning, Mawson steered a homeward course as much as 25 miles south of their outward track, hoping to skirt the worst of the crevasses and the heads of the two big glaciers. He tried to bolster his partner’s spirits, promising him a safe return to Australia. At 1 a.m. on December 25, Mawson woke Mertz to wish him a merry Christmas. “I hope to live to share many merry Christmases with my friend Mawson,” Mertz wrote in his diary.

By now, only Ginger, the pluckiest of the surviving dogs, could haul. The two men put on their chest-and-hip harnesses and pulled the sledge alongside her, exhausting themselves after only a few miles’ run. Crossing wind-carved ridges of hard snow known as sastrugi as high as three and a half feet, they repeatedly fell down and often capsized the sledge. To save weight, they threw away gear—their alpine rope, the rifle, the extra sledge runners, and, most painfully, Mawson’s camera and the film packs that held the visual record of the trio’s pioneering journey.

Something was wrong with Mertz. He was rapidly losing strength. Too weak to move on January 2, he could manage only five miles the next day before giving up, forcing Mawson to pitch the tent. In disbelief that his fingers had been frostbitten, Mertz surprised Mawson by biting off the tip of one. Mawson knew that their only hope was to keep moving, but on January 5, Mertz refused. It would be suicide, he said.

Though racked with pain himself, Mawson persuaded Mertz to ride the sledge. Summoning extraordinary powers, Mawson pulled the terrible load by himself for two and a half miles. In his diary that night, he wrote, “If he cannot go on 8 or 10 m[iles] a day, in a day or two we are doomed. I could pull through myself with the provisions at hand but I cannot leave him.”

By January 7, the men had covered some 200 miles of their return trek, with 100 still to go. But as they tried to pack up that morning, Mawson discovered that his teammate had “fouled his pants.” As a nurse might tend a baby, Mawson undressed Mertz, cleaned up the mess, and put him back in his sleeping bag. That afternoon, he tried to lift Mertz to a sitting position to drink cocoa and weak beef broth, but the man started raving deliriously and again soiled himself. At 8 p.m., Mertz pulled himself half out of his sleeping bag and flailed about in a wild frenzy, breaking one of the tent poles. For hours he raved in German. Mawson held him down, hoping to calm him, then stuffed him back into his bag. At 2 a.m. on January 8, Mertz died in his sleep.

Mawson buried his friend, still in the sleeping bag, beneath a mound of snow blocks atop which he fixed a rude cross made of discarded sledge runners. Many years later, some researchers speculated that Mertz’s debilitation was caused by poisonous overdoses of vitamin A from the huskies’ livers. But if so, why did the condition affect Mertz so much more drastically than it did Mawson? Other experts suggested that Mertz’s collapse was due simply to hypothermia, overexertion, and near starvation. Whatever its cause, Mertz’s death now threatened Mawson’s survival as well. The food was almost gone, and his own physical state was deplorable, with open sores on his nose, lips, and scrotum; his hair coming out in clumps; and skin peeling off his legs. And he still had a hundred miles to go. “I am afraid it has cooked my chances altogether,” Mawson wrote in his diary. But he added, “I shall do my utmost to the last.”

Using only the serrated blade of his knife, he cut the sledge in half. Then he fashioned a makeshift sail by sewing Mertz’s jacket to a cloth bag. Three days after Mertz’s death, Mawson discovered to his horror that the soles of his feet had completely detached from the skin beneath them, which spurted pus and blood. He taped the dead soles to his feet, and put on six pairs of wool socks. Every step thereafter was an agony.

Mawson was now in a race against time, as well as miles. The expedition’s relief ship Aurora was scheduled to arrive at Commonwealth Bay on January 15 to pick up the men and steam toward home in Australia. But as the days ticked by, Mawson was still more than 80 miles from the hut, and he was growing weaker by the hour.

One day, ploughing through deep snow, he broke through a snowbridge covering a hidden crevasse. Suddenly he was falling unchecked through space. Then a fierce jolt halted his plunge. The 14-foot harness rope attaching him to the sledge had held, but now Mawson was sure that his weight would pull the sledge in on top of him. He thought, So this is the end. Miraculously, the sledge stuck fast in the deep snow, anchoring him. But as his eyes adjusted to the semidarkness, Mawson saw how hopeless his predicament was. He dangled free in space, the crevasse walls too far away to reach even with the wild swing of a boot. His first thought came as a searing regret that he had not had the chance to eat the last ounces of his food before he died.

His only chance to escape was to pull himself hand over hand up the harness rope. Providentially, he had tied knots in the rope at regular intervals. He seized the first knot and pulled himself upward, then lunged for the next. Even for a fit, healthy man, such a feat would have been barely possible; yet Mawson pulled, rested, and lunged again. He reached the lip of the crevasse and tried to roll onto the surface above.

That effort broke loose the overhanging lip. Mawson fell all the way to the end of his harness rope. Despair overwhelmed him. He pondered slipping out of the harness to plunge to the bottom of the crevasse, ending things at once rather than by strangling or slowly freezing. At that moment, a verse from his favorite poet, Robert Service, flashed through his mind: “Just have one more try—it’s dead easy to die, / It’s the keeping-on-living that’s hard.” The words spurred him to “one last tremendous effort.” As he reached the lip, he thrust his legs out first, then pulled the rest of his body free from the crevasse. He rolled over and passed out, waking an hour or two later to find his body covered with a dusting of new-fallen snow.

Mawson was now convinced he had no chance to survive. Besides, the deadline to reach the hut had come and gone. For all he knew, the Aurora had steamed away with all the other AAE hands on board. What drove him onward was the hope of leaving his diary, along with Mertz’s, in a place where searchers might eventually find them and learn the story of the doomed Far Eastern Party.

Yet on January 29 a minor miracle occurred. Just north of his track, Mawson saw something dark loom through the haze. It was a snow cairn covered with a black cloth. Inside, he found a message from three teammates who had been out searching and a bag of food—blessed food! From the note, Mawson learned that he stood only 28 miles from the hut. It would take him ten days to cover that short distance, as he waited out a prolonged blizzard. At last, on February 8, he began the last descent. Before he could see the hut, he caught sight of a distant speck on the horizon. As he feared, it was the Aurora, leaving Commonwealth Bay for good. Was he alone? Then the hut sprang into view, and outside it, three men working at some task. Mawson stopped in his tracks and waved for 30 seconds. The men were too far away to hear his shouts. At last one of them glanced up and saw the apparition on the horizon.

Mawson had missed catching the Aurora by a mere five hours. Instead, he and six men deputized to stay on to search for Mawson’s party were condemned to spend another year in the windiest place on Earth. Now the men at the hut rushed up the icy slope to embrace their leader. The first to arrive was Frank Bickerton, a stalwart 24-year-old British engineer who had been in charge of another of the exploring parties. From 50 yards off, Mawson recognized Bickerton. And from the startled look on Bickerton’s face as he beheld the gaunt, ravaged countenance of the man staggering toward him, he knew exactly what Bickerton was thinking: Which one are you?

Another ten months passed before the Aurora returned. When Mawson finally reached Australia in February 1914, he was greeted as a national hero and knighted by King George V. He spent the rest of his career as a professor at the University of Adelaide. Although he would lead two more Antarctic expeditions, his life’s work became the production of 96 published reports that embodied the scientific results of the AAE.

Australian icebreaker abandons first attempt to reach the global warming pilgrims

December 30, 2013

This was a pilgrimage to the gods of global warming and led by a high priest of the Order of the Melting Poles. But they forgot to placate Uller and seem to have angered the ice-gods.

Ull, sometimes called Uller, ….  was the god of ice and snow, as well as hunters and archery. His following seems to have been overshadowed only by Thor and Odin, as all he had to offer his followers was blizzards and cold. Still, the Norse lived in a subarctic climate, so they tried to placate him instead of follow him. 

The Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis has abandoned its first attempt to reach the tourists on the Akademik Shokalskiy. The 2m+ ice was too thick and threatened to close in behind them and they had to turn back towards open water. The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long was also retreating to open water.

A French icebreaker abandoned its rescue mission on Saturday when it became clear that the ship wouldn’t get any closer than the Chinese boat had. The two remaining icebreakers with one helicopter between them have now to devise a strategy to rescue these irresponsible tourists/pilgrims/idiots led by Chris Turney. The cost according to the SMH is likey to be in the “multi-millions” and according to the Law of the Sea ought to be charged to the operators of this “pleasure” cruise.


But Turney needs to bear his share. As do the BBC, the Guardian and other media tourists. There is a case to be made for a certain amount of pillorying – maybe by reintroducing the stocks just for Chris Turney. The cover-story of this being a privately funded “scientific expedition” is a travesty. Douglas Mawson must be spinning in his grave at these tourists invoking his name and comparing their luxury cruise with his battles for survival.

From the SMH:

  • The Aurora Australis has abandoned its first attempt to cut through the ice surrounding the stranded Akademik Shokalskiy in Antarctica after moving just two nautical miles. 
  • About 6am, the Aurora’s captain, Murray Doyle, began to manoeuvre the icebreaker through thick wedges of consolidated sea ice. But by 9am [midday Sydney time], the master made the call to turn the ship around and move back into open water. “The ice became too thick for us to penetrate. Some of the floes are up to two metres of ice with a metre of snow on top and very compact. There was just nowhere for us to go.” 
  • Captain Doyle also feared that the 55-kilometre south-easterly wind running up the ship’s stern would blow ice in and around the back of the vessel. “It was pushing those same types of floes in behind us,” he said. “If we got into that compact stuff it would have sealed us in, we would have lost our manoeuvreability and we wouldn’t have been much use to anybody. 
  • A low-hanging fog also hampered rescue efforts. “We had no visibility so we couldn’t really see if there was a way through.” 
  • Captain Doyle had informed the Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Canberra of the situation. 
  • The passengers on the stranded Shokalskiy would likely be evacuated to the Aurora or Chinese icebreaker the Xue Long, which was also in the area. 
  • “It’s now up to us three ships [the Shokalskiy, the Aurora and the Xue Long] to agree on a [rescue] strategy,” Captain Doyle said. While the Xue Long had a helicopter onboard, it was too heavy for the Aurora’s helideck. “We also can’t use the helicopter at the moment because there is no visibility,” he said. “The helicopter wouldn’t be able to differentiate the horizon from the ice.” 
  • The captain planned to wait until the weather cleared before deciding whether to cut another path through the ice. The icebreak was designed to cut through ice floes of about 1.35 metres, not the thick ice built up in Watt Bay, some of which has grown over several years. “It wasn’t all multi-year ice, there was some first-year ice, which can be thick, especially if it’s old first-year ice,” he said. 
  • The Xue Long, which has been waiting near the Mertz Glacier since Boxing Day, was also making its way back to open water. “They’re trying to make it back into open water so they’re not trapped as well,” Captain Doyle said.

That this is no scientific expedition becomes obvious  from the Guardian report that Janet Rice, the Green party senator-elect for Victoria, Australia, who has been on board the ship since it left New Zealand, said: “I understand why people might be concerned, but the feeling today on board the ship is like a summer holiday when the weather is bad, when you’re stuck inside reading books and playing Scrabble. We’ve been assured that we’re in no danger and it’s just a matter of waiting.”

I wonder if the Green party is covering her costs?

Summer in the Antarctic and expedition is trapped in thick ice

December 25, 2013

“Global sea ice area is second highest on record for the date after 1988, and closing in the #1 spot. Antarctic ice is melting very slowly this summer, due to record cold Antarctic temperatures”.Real Science, 21st December 2013

Certainly no irony would have been intended but irony there undoubtedly is when even The Guardian is forced to report that:

Antarctic expedition stranded as ship gets stuck in ice

Scientists and explorers on Spirit of Mawson voyage will spend Christmas and Boxing Day awaiting rescue. Explorers are stranded near Antarctica after their ship became wedged in by thick sheets of sea ice.

The Spirit of Mawson voyage, which includes scientists, explorers, tourists and the Guardian journalists Alok Jha and Laurence Topham, is trapped in Antarctic ice floes and awaiting rescue.

But with the nearest ship with ice-breaking abilities at least two days away, the crew will spend Christmas and Boxing Day stuck about 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority received a distress call on Christmas morning, notifying the rescue co-ordination centre that the ship was trapped and would need help. …

Akademik Shokalskiy surrounded by ice

A view of the ice from the boat. Photograph: Laurence Topham

The voyage is part of a research expedition to commemorate the centenary of Douglas Mawson’s exploration.

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition leader, Chris Turney, wrote on Twitter: “Heavy ice. Beautiful; light wind. Only -1degC. All well. Merry Xmas everyone from AAE.”

Surprise! 99.8% of Britishers on the Falklands wish to stay British!!

March 12, 2013

While there seems to be very little merit in the Argentine claim to the Falkland Islands (they didn’t discover the islands, they didn’t settle there permanently and they haven’t invested there), the results of the vote by the Falklanders showing that 99.8% wish to remain British is little more than an exercise in packaging.

The numbers for the referendum are interesting:

  • Population – 2841
  • Registered voters – 1649
  • Turnout 92%
  • Votes counted 1517 (excluding 1 spoiled vote)
  • Votes for 1514 (99.8%)
  • Votes against 3

But this reminds me of a Sales Manager I once worked for who managed to convince his new bosses during his annual performance review that he was due a massive bonus because he had achieved a “100% market share of his market”.  He taught me a great deal about what “selling” was all about!

But there is no denying that 99.8% of Britsishers on the Falklands wish to stay British.

I don’t suppose it would be very difficult to identify the 3 people who voted against.

(Alex Salmond should learn his lesson for the referendum on Scottish independence due in the autumn of 2014. As of now only some 20% of the expected electorate are likely to support him in breaking away from the UK and having to reapply to the EU for membership. If he can just make sure that non-permanent residents (say people with less than 3 or 5 generations born in Scotland) and those who have the majority of their assets outside Scotland don’t get to vote, he could  get a much larger market share of his market. He does not stand much chance unless he manages  – more by crook than by hook – to restrict the vote to just his supporters and even if he does – he still won’t win.)

Of course the real interest in “owning” the Falklands – for Argentina and for Britain – is the proximity to Antarctica, the basis it provides for territorial claims and the access it ensures. Territorial claims in  Antarctica have been frozen since 1961 till when 7 nations had registered claims. Currently the entire Argentinian claim falls within the British Antarctic Territory and it must be terribly frustrating for Argentina to find the UK leveraging its ownership of the Falklands all the way to the South Pole.

Antarctic territorial claims(graphic -

Antarctic territorial claims
(graphic –

falklands and antarctica (BBC)

falklands and antarctica (BBC)

Further confirmation that carbon dioxide lags temperature by hundreds of years

July 24, 2012

I find the blithe assumption – based on supposition and without any evidence – that carbon dioxide has any significant impact on climate, perhaps the most irritating part of the politically correct global warming dogma. I have no objection to it being a hypothesis but it is not rational to take such an hypothesis as fact just  “because there is no other explanation”. In fact, solar effects provide most of the “missing” explanation but since solar effects cannot be put down to man and clearly this is politically incorrect!!

Historical data of ice ages shows that carbon dioxide changes lag temperature changes and previously it seemed that the lag might be as long as 700 – 1000 years. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have published a new paper. The paper suggests that the lag was more likely a few hundred years and less than 400 years. But lag it was. I draw two main conclusions:

  1. That carbon dioxide variations in the past were primarily caused by temperature changes and not the other way around, and
  2. That the degassing of the oceans following a temperature rise caused an increase in carbon dioxide  in just a few hundred years.

Of course this does not prove that increasing carbon dioxide emissions cannot influence temperature. But what it does show is that the primary link between temperature and CO2  is that temperature leads CO2 concentration.

Given that

  1. there have been no “temperature runaways” in the past where the subsequent increase of  CO2 concentration has provided a positive feedback to the initial temperature rise and
  2. given that in any system which tends to an equilibrium the effect tends to neutralise the cause,

I find it more plausible that increasing CO2 concentration may well have contributed to neutralising the temperature increase which caused the CO2 emission in the first place.

The greatest climate change the world has seen in the last 100,000 years was the transition from the ice age to the warm interglacial period. New research from the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen indicates that, contrary to previous opinion, the rise in temperature and the rise in the atmospheric COfollow each other closely in terms of time. The results have been published in the scientific journal, Climate of the Past. …

It had previously been thought that as the temperature began to rise at the end of the ice age approximately 19,000 years ago, an increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere followed with a delay of up to 1,000 years.

“Our analyses of ice cores from the ice sheet in Antarctica shows that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere follows the rise in Antarctic temperatures very closely and is staggered by a few hundred years at most,” explains Sune Olander Rasmussen, Associate Professor and centre coordinator at the Centre for Ice and Climate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen.

Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2during the last deglaciation by J. B. Pedro, S. O. Rasmussen, and T. D. van Ommen Clim. Past, 8, 1213-1221, 2012

Solar effects on climate – evidence mounts that the Little Ice Age was a global event

May 9, 2012

And another paper showing that the Little Ice Age was a global event.It is highly probable that the LIA was related to the solar effects which gave a dearth of sunspots during the Maunder Minimum.

GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 39, L09710, 7 PP., 2012, doi:10.1029/2012GL051260

Little Ice Age cold interval in West Antarctica: Evidence from borehole temperature at the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide


Anais J. Orsi , Bruce D. Cornuelle, Jeffrey P. Severinghaus – Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA


Antarctic sea ice is increasing and rate of increase is accelerating

August 4, 2011

An instance of actual measurements over the last 30 years rather than just model results. Overall, sea ice extent is increasing in the Antarctic, contrary to climate model predictions for the 21st century, and this increase is accelerating and has strong regional and seasonal signatures.

A new paper in Climate Dynamics, DOI: 10.1007/s00382-011-1143-9 

(H/T The Hockey Schtick)

Sea Ice Trends in the Antarctic and Their Relationship to Surface Air Temperature during 1979 to 2009 by Qi Shu, Fangli Qiao, Zhenya Song and Chunzai Wang

Sea ice trends in the Antarctic and their relationship to surface air temperature during 1979–2009


Surface air temperature (SAT) from four reanalysis/analysis datasets are analyzed and compared with the observed SAT from 11 stations in the Antarctic. It is found that the SAT variation from Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) is the best to represent the observed SAT. Then we use the sea ice concentration (SIC) data from satellite measurements, the SAT data from the GISS dataset and station observations to examine the trends and variations of sea ice and SAT in the Antarctic during 1979–2009. The Antarctic sea ice extent (SIE) shows an increased trend during 1979–2009, with a trend rate of 1.36 ± 0.43% per decade. Ensemble empirical mode decomposition analysis shows that the rate of the increased trend has been accelerating in the past decade. Antarctic SIE trend depends on the season, with the maximum increase occurring in autumn. If the relationship between SIC and GISS SAT trends is examined regionally, Antarctic SIC trends agree well with the local SAT trends in the most Antarctic regions. That is, Antarctic SIC and SAT show an inverse relationship: a cooling (warming) SAT trend is associated with an upward (downward) SIC trend. It is also concluded that the relationship between sea ice and SAT trends in the Antarctic should be examined regionally rather than integrally.

As put by Skeptical Science – “The most common misconception regarding Antarctic sea ice is that sea ice is increasing because it’s cooling around Antarctica. The reality is the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica has shown strong warming over the same period that sea ice has been increasing. Globally from 1955 to 1995, oceans have been warming at 0.1°C per decade. In contrast, the Southern Ocean (specifically the region where Antarctic sea ice forms) has been warming at 0.17°C per decade. Not only is the Southern Ocean warming, it’s warming faster than the global trend. This warming trend is apparent in satellite measurements of temperature trends over Antarctica”.

Antarctic Climate and Sea Ice Variability – a Brief Review by Marilyn Raphael, UCLA Geography, WRCP Workshop on Seasonal to MultiDecadal Predictability of Polar Climate, October 2010


Antarctica’s remoteness, the difficulty of conducting research there and the paucity of observations, are some reasons why the Antarctic climate and sea ice variability are not as well understood as in the Arctic. However, research has shown that the climate of Antarctica including its sea ice is dictated by numerous influences with origins ranging from the Tropics to local atmosphere/surface interactions. Over the period of record indications are that much of Antarctica is warming, led by the Antarctic Peninsula. Regional changes in atmospheric circulation, sea surface temperatures and sea ice may explain this warming. Overall, sea ice extent is increasing, contrary to climate model predictions for the 21st century, and this increase has strong regional and seasonal signatures. Sea ice variability is strongly influenced by ENSO, Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM) and by zonal wave three (ZW3) among other large scale atmospheric circulation mechanisms. The Antarctic climate and sea ice variability are reviewed with respect to the atmospheric and oceanic mechanisms that influence them.


Peer review becomes incestuous when it comes to Global Warming

February 17, 2011

The Climategate emails revealed the extent to which the global warming establishment were prepared to go to pervert and doctor the peer review process to inhibit the publication of any papers challenging global warming orthodoxy.

Fraser Nelsonthe editor of the Spectator relates the story in his blog of how a critique of faults in a paper written by one of the establishment (Eric Steig) was sent to the criticised Steig himself for peer review!! He writes:

Debunking the Antarctica myths

In January 2009, Nature magazine ran the a cover story (pictured) conveying dramatic news about Antarctica: that most of it had warmed significantly over the last half-century. For years, the data from this frozen continent – with 90 percent of the world’s ice mass – had stubbornly refused to corroborate the global warming narrative. So the study, led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington, was treated as a bit of a scoop. It reverberated around the world. Gavin Schmidt, from the RealClimate blog, declared that Antarctica had silenced the sceptics. Mission, it seemed, was accomplished: Antarctica was no longer an embarrassment to the global warming narrative.

He spoke too soon. The indefatigable Steve McIntyre started to scrutinise his followings along with Nicholas Lewis. They found several flaws: Steig et al had used too few data sequences to speak for an entire continent, and had processed the data in a very questionable way. But when they wanted to correct him, in another journal, they quickly ran into an inconvenient truth about global warming: the high priests do not like refutation. To have their critique (pdf) of Steig’s work published, they needed to assuage the many demands of an anonymous ‘Reviewer A’ – whom they later found out to be Steig himself.

Lewis and Matt Ridley have joined forces to tell the story in the cover issue of this week’s Spectator.

It’s another powerful, and depressing tale of the woeful state of climate science. Real science welcomes refutation: with global warming, it is treated as a religion.

As they say in their cover story:

“Nature’s original peer-review process had let through an obviously flawed paper, and no professional climate scientist then disputed  it – perhaps because of fear that doing so might harm their careers. As the title of Richard Bean’s new play – The Heretic – at the Royal Court hints, young scientists going into climate studies these days are a bit like young theologians in Elizabethan England. They quickly learn that funding and promotion dries up if you express heterodox views, or doubt the scripture. The scripture, in this case, being the assembled reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. …… So has Antarctica been warming? Mostly not – at least not measurably. Retreat of the floating Antarctic ice shelves is a favourite story for the media. But, except in a very few peripheral parts, Antarctica is far too cold to lose ice by surface melting.”


Antarctic sea ice extent almost 3 SD’s higher than “average”

November 25, 2010


The Southern Hemisphere is coming into summer but seems significantly cooler (and wetter in Australia) than usual.

The ice extent in the Antarctic is reducing much slower than normally and currently the sea ice extent is about 1.3 million sq. km or 9%  or 3 Standard Deviations higher than the 1979 – 2000 average.

The Pacific Oscillation – or La Nina – is probably responsible.

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