Spokesman Alvin Stone tells The Australian that the stranding of their vessel, Akademik Shokalskiy, has been misconstrued.
“One of the misconceptions is that this is a climate-change voyage full of climate scientists, which is actually not true,” he says.
“There are a couple of climate scientists on board, but it is just a scientific expedition and it is quite broad, with biologists, geographers, looking at penguin and seal populations and a whole lot of other things.
Nothing to do with climate change? Expedition leader Chris ‘The Penguin’ Turney explains the aims of the expedition in August 2013:
We are gong to discover just how much has changed in the last 100 years since the Mawson Expedition…melding science and adventure…a major research programme…looking at islands that are facing the uncertain impact of a warming planet….and trying to understand past climate to inform the present, the Southern Ocean plays a crucial role in global climate and the carbon cycle and the latest research suggests large changes are afoot..we will be collecting precious data on sea temperatures and salinity:
Note he also states that Commonwealth bay is badly clogged with sea ice limiting access over the last three years…he says they will try to reach Mawson’s hut but if unsuccessful will push on to other ice free locations and continue the work.
Good luck with that…oh…too late….didn’t listen to his own advice obviously!
I was going to add this to David’s indepth look at the troubled Antarctic expedition and the BBC’s less than perfect coverage but it grew too big as I linked through so here’s something the BBC aren’t mentioning (ironically from the Expediton’s Online who organised the trip):
The sea ice extent in Antarctica attained a near-record high level of 18.7 million square kilometres in mid-August this year, according to studies by the USA National Snow and Ice Data Center.
Normally averaging 18 million square kilometres at the height of winter, the increase is part of a long-term trend and is paradoxically consistent with how scientists believe global warming may affect the southern ocean around Antarctica.
The Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre says:
Changes in Antarctic sea ice extent are predicted under future climate change scenarios, although models for the 21st century show wide variability with a 25-40% decrease predicted.
Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey say that the melting of the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf in Antarctica has suddenly slowed right down in the last few years, confirming earlier research which suggested that the shelf’s melt does not result from human-driven global warming. Dr Pierre Dutrieux of the BAS states bluntly: “We found ocean melting of the glacier was the lowest ever recorded, and less than half of that observed in 2010. This enormous, and unexpected, variability contradicts the widespread view that a simple and steady ocean warming in the region is eroding the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.”
GRAINY film footage from Douglas Mawson’s epic Antarctic survey and expedition provides lasting proof that when the adventurer’s team reached Commonwealth Bay exactly 100 years ago, it was free of sea ice.
The BBC had on writer Sarah Wheeler a few days ago who claimed it was the Mertz Glacier collapsing which produced the ice…to everyone’s complete surprise apparently….as I mentioned earlier
It has been a sobering week.
The conditions we are experiencing over the Shokalskiy are a result of the frequent and deep low pressure systems that encircle the continent. In combination with a funnelling effect from the ice sheet, these lows are producing strong and pervasive winds from the southeast. The wind is not unusual but what is unexpected is the major reconfiguration of thick multi-year sea ice to the east of the Mertz Glacier. In 2010, a large iceberg known as B09B, calved from the continent and collided spectacularly with the extended tongue of the Mertz Glacier. The knock-on effect has been that Commonwealth Bay has filled with sea ice (termed ‘fast ice’), preventing direct access from the sea to Mawson’s main hut at Cape Denison. Unfortunately for the AAE, it appears the region has just undergone a massive reconfiguration of sea ice, years after the loss of the Mertz Glacier tongue.
So nothing to do with climate change….no melting glacier as implied by Wheeler….a massive iceberg hit the protruding ‘tongue’ of the Mertz Glacier knocking it off in 2010…the bay coast then became clad in ‘fast ice’ which clogged the bay…as already known by Turney before the expedition began.
Sea ice is frozen seawater. It forms when the surface layer of the ocean becomes cold enough to freeze, not to be confused with icebergs, which have their origin in land glaciers.
A university researcher has accused a group of scientists of carrying out an expedition to the Antarctic “on the cheap”.
Robert Headland, of Cambridge University’s Scott Polar Research Institute, blamed the team for not investing in a ship suitable to the ‘easily predictable’ sea ice.
Passengers, scientists and journalists were evacuated from the ship via helicopter on January 2, but the Russian crew must wait until the ice thins before heading home.
Mr Headland said: “The team were in an area where it is common for ice to suddenly build up, and instead of using an icebreaker, they used an ice-strengthened ship, which is totally unsuitable.”
The team were taking the ship, which cannot break ice sheets and can only operate in light ice, around to repeat measurements taken by Douglas Mawson, an Australian explorer, in 1912.
It is thought that the rescue will cost £220,000.
I [Chris Turney] am an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow and Professor of Climate Change at the University of University of New South Wales where my team and I are focussing our efforts on using the past to better understand the changes we are seeing today. To do something positive about climate change, I helped set up a carbon refining company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.
So…the expedition is based on climate change research…they knew already that there was huge amounts of sea ice present…and the expedition leader has a vested interest in AGW.
Shame the BBC doesn’t seem to want to look at all this indepth.