Posts Tagged ‘Douglas Mawson’

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.

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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.

Updates on the Antarctic global warming pilgrimage

January 1, 2014

Chris Turney and his warmists thought the globe was sweltering,
To the Antarctic they sailed to prove that the poles were melting,
But to their great surprise,
They got stuck in the ice,
But they had a festive time on board and got on with their drinking.

UPDATE 2: A Chinese helicopter arrived close to the vessel, bringing in a crew to assess the landing situation. The aircraft is expected to return within the hour to begin ferrying the first passengers out to another vessel.

The Chinese helicopter has arrived @ the Shokalskiy. It’s 100% we’re off! A huge thanks to all. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_13rQBXKa0A …

Update 1: Thursday, 2nd January

The Guardian: The latest rescue mission for scientists, tourists and journalists on a ship trapped in ice off Antarctica has again been postponed.

two-stage rescue had been planned for Thursday with a helicopter rescuing 52 of the passengers on Akademik Shokalskiy and taking them to the Chinese ship Xue Long before transferring them to another ship, Aurora Australis, on a barge in a 36-hour window of decent weather.

However, sea ice has prevented the barge from the Aurora Australis, where the passengers would ultimately be transferred, being able to get close to Xue Long.

The helicopter component of the rescue was to consist of seven 45-minute round trips to collect 12 passengers at a time and then their equipment and luggage.

AMSA Release: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Australia) has been advised this morning that sea ice conditions in the area are likely to delay today’s planned rescue of passengers from the MV Akademik Shokalskiy. AMSA understands that current sea ice conditions prevent the barge from Aurora Australis from reaching the Chinese vessel Xue Long (Snow Dragon) and a rescue may not be possible today. 

The Xue Long’s helicopter is unable to land on the Aurora Australis due to load rating restrictions. It is not safe to land the helicopter next to Aurora Australis at this time. The preferred and safest option at this stage is to ultimately transfer the passengers onto Aurora Australis. …. 

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These “climate scientists” and hangers-on set out to demonstrate that the poles were melting.

Instead they have been stuck in the Antarctic ice for eight days now. Today the helicopter rescue of the climate scientists and their tame journalists who want to abandon ship was aborted because of bad weather. Their denials that the purpose was to demonstrate global warming sound very hollow:

It is also a bit rich now for expedition organisers to say they did not have climate change in mind when the trip was conceived. Promotional material says the expedition’s aim was to “discover and communicate the changes taking place in this remote and pristine environment”.

Outlining the science case, the expedition says: “Three years’ worth of observations gleaned by Mawson and his men provide a unique dataset against which we can compare the changes seen today. “Policy documents highlight numerous science questions that need to be urgently addressed across the region. And yet, despite of a century of research, major questions remain about whether the changes seen today are exceptional.”

The expedition notes say the East Antarctic Ice Sheet contains enough fresh water to raise the world’s sea level by about 52m.

The US icebreaker Polar Star (which can plow through ice 6m thick) could reach the trapped ship in about 8 days but as Anthony Watts points out the forecast winds could allow the ship to get free also in about 8 days.

As Real Science puts it

Only A Complete Moron Would Attempt To Take A Ship To The Coast Of Antarctica Under These Conditions.

They do not seem to be in any immediate danger – these scientists on their Ship of Fools.They seem to have celebrated Christmas and the New Year with great gusto and spirit! And their alcohol consumption is – of course – only to keep the cold out.

Spirit of Mawson is dead as Turney and his Antarctic tourists prepare to abandon ship

December 31, 2013

UPDATE! The BBC reports that the Chinese icebreaker Xue Long may itself be stuck in the ice!!

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The Spirit of Mawson dies as Antarctic pilgrims/tourists and their great leader – but not the crew – are to be rescued by helicopter

The spirit of Sir Douglas Mawson is well and truly dead.  They have “fresh” supplies for at least two weeks and are well enough stocked to last through the entire summer. But the global warming pilgrims, the tourists, other diverse hangers-on and their tour guide have chickened out as they wait to be removed from the Akademik Shokalskiy by helicopter.

But not the crew.

If Turney is the leader shouldn’t he be the last one to leave the ice?

Chris Turney, the tour guide, describes himself as “Scientist, Explorer and Writer”. Why not “Hero”?

“Idiot” and “Charlatan” also come to mind. 

The Spirit of Mawson: 2013-2014 marks the centenary of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition led by the great scientist and explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. In a celebration of this remarkable endeavour, the new Australasian Antarctic Expedition (or AAE for short) will follow the route of its namesake, melding science and adventure, to discover and communicate the changes that have taken place in this remote environment over the last hundred years.

Led by Professor Chris Turney and Dr Chris Fogwill, from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, the 2013-2014 expedition will attempt to revisit the site of the original AAE huts at Cape Denison, Antarctica, the enigmatically named ‘Home of the Blizzard’.

But the Spirit of Mawson is not much in evidence here as Turney and his holiday makers plan to scuttle off the trapped ship leaving all the crew behind.

SMHOn Tuesday morning, Chris Turney, who is leading the expedition, said the 52 passengers on board the Akademik Shokalskiy would be flown out by helicopter after it stopped raining. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said all 22 crew members are expected to remain on board.

Authorities decided to resort to the helicopter evacuation after the Aurora Australis rescue ice-breaker was forced to retreat in the face of freezing 30 knot winds and snow showers 10 nautical miles from the Shokalskiy. Thick ice had earlier prevented the Chinese ice-breaker Xue Long and a French ice-breaker from reaching the stranded crew.

“Aurora can’t make it through. Looks like we’re going to be helicoptered out. Just need a clear weather window. Raining!,” Professor Turney posted just before noon (AEDT) on Tuesday.

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.

pillory

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?

Ironies multiply as rescue ice-breaker is also stuck in Antarctic ice

December 28, 2013

I posted earlier about the irony of the Guardian having to report this story about the lack of the expected melting of ice during the Antarctic summer.

The ironies multiply.

The objective of the tourists, the journalists and the ostensibly “scientific” team was to recreate the journey of Douglas Mawson 100 years ago. They got stuck in 3m thick ice and three ice-breakers have gone to their rescue. The first, a Chinese ice-breaker is now also stuck in the ice. The “scientific” team is led by – wait for it – Chris Turney, a “professor of climate change” at the University of New South Wales in Australia!!

Some immediate questions arise:

  1. Who pays for the rescue ships? (I do hope the Guardian and the BBC and the University of NSW pay their fair share).
  2. If the journey of 100 years ago cannot be retraced because there is more ice now – what does that say about global warming theory and melting polar ice?
  3. What does a professor of climate change do – apart from profess his faith in climate change?
  4. When does “climate change” change from being global warming to global cooling?

CNN reports:

Only at the South Pole: Icebreaker also stuck — in ice — heading for stranded ship

South Pole weather has stymied a rescue by a Chinese icebreaker trying to reach an expedition vessel trapped for the past four days in frozen seas, a ship officer told CNN Friday.

The Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, or Snow Dragon, was just six nautical miles away from the rescue, but now it’s stuck in an Antarctica ice floe, too.

The Chinese crew is hoping a French icebreaker 14 nautical miles away will arrive and offer relief, said Zhu Li, chief officer of the Chinese ship.

But it’s likely the French vessel Astrolabe will also be slowed by the polar cap’s extreme frigidity, Zhu said.

Those two icebreakers — plus a third, from Australia — were battling the planet’s coldest environment in trying to reach the stranded Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, whose 74 researchers, crew and tourists remained in good condition despite being at a frozen standstill since Monday. …..

Antarctic sea ice is currently at record levels and global sea ice extent is greater than it has been for two decades. It should be noted that few proponents of climate change yet have the courage to state what is really happening but which is politically incorrect. That global warming has stopped and global cooling has begun and that carbon dioxide emissions are largely irrelevant to climate.

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.”


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