Friday, January 3, 2014

Ship of Fools: Doomed by Wishful Thinking !

Today, once the weather cleared over Antarctica, 52 passengers (made up of one-third tourists) of the ice bound Russian ship, MV Akademic Shokalskiy,  were rescued by a Chinese helicopter. The Russian crew will stay on board to wait for the ice to free their ship. But strangely, 98 per cent of the U.S. media didn't mention that mostly the ice-trapped passengers were global warmists, not tourists.

The farce: warmist scientists and reporters sail to Antarctica to find signs of global warming they claim has changed that continent since Douglas Mawson explored it a century ago. Instead, they find sea ice when Mawson didn't and their ship is locked in. Be clear about the joke here. This Australasian Antarctica Expedition (AAE) was meant to scare us about global warming changing Antarctica, causing melting instead of all this damn ice. As the expedition leader Chris Turney, a publicity-hungry professor, said on their website: ''....there is an increasing body of evidence, including by the AAE members, that have identified parts of the East Antarctic which are susceptible to melting and collapse from ocean warming....We are going there to determine the extent to which human activity and pollution has directly impacted on this remote region...''

A month ago the mission of the $1.5 million expedition was ''to answer questions about climate change''. Now the Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) describes the expedition as ''a Russian ship stuck in the sea ice in Antarctica....''  Let there by no doubt, the mission was to document and record scientific changes in Antarctica to broadcast to the world. Most scientific missions don't have a dedicated media team, but this one had a staff of FIVE journalists! There is a journalist and documentary maker from the leftist Guardian as well as a senior producer from the Science Unit at the BBC world service. Boy...if they'd discovered less sea ice, fewer penguins, or big cracks, we know the images would be all over the mass media and it would be evidence for ''climate change.''

But having their ship trapped by thick sea ice, the mission changed quickly to call it a tourist boat that only wanted ''to follow the route explorer Douglas Mawson travelled a century ago'', don't mention the climate.... The spin was that the team has ''met heavy ice.'' Not ''been trapped by unprecedently thick sea ice, unlike anything Mawson ever saw, and in record levels''. If they had met thin sea ice, would it have been described as a dangerously thin layer, a risk for penguins, and a stark reminder of how much the climate is changing? Would it have been an undeniable factoid? It's not what the ABC says, it's what it doesn't say (a.k.a ''lying by omission''). The headlines could read ''Global warming scientists trapped in  Antartica by record sea ice they didn't predict''. As if. Of course that would be against ''the religion''.

Penguins coming for a ''sticky beak''
Instead, there are bullshit reports from the ABC like this, with no mention of climate change or what the ''passengers'' on the ''cruise ship'' were actually up to: ''The Australian operation to rescue passengers from a Russian cruise ship stick in thick sea ice, is continuing this morning, but it's slow going. The Aurora Australis ice-breaker is the third vessel to try to help the stricken ship which has been trapped since Christmas Eve with 74 people on board. The ship is named The Spirit of Mawson in honour of Douglas Mawson who spent two years on Antarctica during which he lost two colleagues on the trek.'' Unfortunately, even the Aurora was stopped in its tracks and had to return to Casey base to finally finish unloading the coming year's supplies for the station as well as a number of researchers and their science gear.

The Way I See It.....this expense expedition was doomed by wishful thinking and cost-cutting. The first error the expedition leaders made was under-estimating the prevailing sea ice conditions at Mawson station, their destination. The scientists seemed to be convinced that Antarctica was a warmer place today than it had been 100 years earlier, and thus perhaps they could expect less sea ice there. This in turn would allow them to charter a lighter, cheaper vessel. This preconceived idea seems to be the case by their choice of vessel. It is only an ice-strengthened ship built in Finland in 1982.

What made the expedition even more dubious is that Turney and his team brought on paying tourists in what appears to have been an attempt to help defer the expedition's costs and to be a source of cheap labor with prices starting at $8000 a berth. It seems 26 paying tourists and 4 journalists got suckered in joining this ship-of-fools. Here it seems that the obvious risks and hazards of bringing tourists to the world's harshest environment in a budget-priced vessel unable to handle ice-breaking may have been played down or worse, brushed aside. Was this reckless on the part of Chris Turney? (photo) He was quoted on the website: ''In the Antarctic the conditions are so extreme that you can never make forecasts.''  Really Chris, is this an environment you'd want to bring unfamiliar tourists in (along with your wife and two youngsters) -- on a vessel that cannot even brake ice???  How much did this fiasco cost? Who's paying for the rescue?  The hubris of many warmists is amazingly stupid!

UPDATE:  The rescue will cost Australian taxpayers $400,000 !  The rescued people are on the Aurora Australis heading back to be dropped off in Tasmania costs at least $30,000 a day aside from the lost research time it had intended to do while down at Casey station. Officials say this mis-adventure has blown the Antarctic Research budget for this year. Just heard that the Chinese ice breaker that tried to help initially  but was thwarted by the dense sea ice is now also stuck fast.

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