Mawson never had this trouble 83 years ago

Posted: December 29, 2013 by tallbloke in humour, Incompetence, Measurement, Natural Variation, Ocean dynamics, sea ice

I’m amused to see Global Warmist Professor Chris Turney’s expedition to Antarctica to retrace polar explorer Douglas Mawson’s route and replicate measurements has run into a spot of bother.

Here’s an old news report on Mawson’s expedition

It looks like that part of the Antarctic was warmer in Mawson’s day than now. In fact the antarctic is currently colder than it has been for a long time. The high latitudes of the Southern Ocean have been cooling since the 1980’s according to SST data.

Here’s an image of Mawson’s base camp on the coast. No sea ice to be seen.


Global Warming isn’t all that global it seems.

  1. Johnbuk says:

    Yes but Turney has his fingers crossed and so it doesn’t count. I expect the Grauniad and it’s sister (BBC) will give us the full picture. Sarc

  2. Lawrence A P Wilson says:

    Coincidentally, just last evening reading a Christmas gift book about the emergence of Australia’s first naval fleet, it quoted from a speech by Mawson at a Sydney reception on his return in 1914 from Antarctica – he said “It is certain that the Antarctic plays the greatest part in the world’s climate that is played by any land mass”.

    An interesting statement in light of today’s debate. In all of the reading I have done of the various scientific studies on climate drivers I have not come across anything much which focuses on the role of the Antarctic as a key regional or global land mass driver in influencing climate patterns. Apart from the obvious albedo factor I am intrigued to now search out more of Mawson’s basis for that statement, and any other subsequent studies by scientists which might go beyond albedo. Perhaps others can point me to more material.

  3. tchannon says:

    Janet Rice, an Australian Green party politician who has been on board since the ship left New Zealand, told a Guardian newspaper journalist who is also on board: ”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.”

    Elsewhere are reports the ship’s hull has buckled above the waterline. No problem provided nothing else goes wrong.

  4. tchannon says:

    Found one that works. Has the track of AA, looks like it is arriving on site. Was making 13.8kts

    Ship database updated 21:34 Sunday, 29 Dec 2013 UTC (time now 21:47 UTC)
    Ship last reported (UTC) position Callsign
    Akademik Shokalsky 2013-Dec-29 2125 S 66°51′ E 144°16′ UBNF
    Aurora Australis 2013-Dec-29 1500 S 66°36′ E 145°24′ VNAA
    73634 2013-Dec-29 1730 S 65°45′, E 147°53′ 73634

    AA camera, time lapse not known

  5. michael hart says:

    In one of the earlier Guardian reports I read that Mawson’s expedition had to eat boiled dog on Christmas day.

  6. tchannon says:

    Aurora Austrailis speed has dropped, now averaging 3 kts, passed though heavy floe ice, now clearing. Wind 25 to 30kt, sea and air temperature below zero.

    They circled right around and are approaching from shoreside at about NWW.

    Probably now visible, was very murky.

  7. tchannon says:

    Turkeygate after Chris “Turkey” Turney

    Russian owned ship, Russian Minstry has decided to air evacuate.

    “A decision has been made to evacuate 52 passengers and four crew members by a helicopter from China’s Xuelong icebreaker, if weather conditions are suitable,” the ministry said.

    Meanwhile Steve McIntyre has commented at WUWT

    Steve McIntyre says:
    December 30, 2013 at 9:47 am

    Together with Joelle Gergis, Turney was also co-leader of the AUS contribution to the PAGES2K climate reconstruction. Turney was one of the coauthors of Gergis et al, discussed last year at Climate Audit.


  8. tchannon says:

    A BBC primary news, midnight to midnight 15, R4 said

    So there we are.

  9. tchannon says:

    Looks like AA are trying again, 3kts into the ice, stern view, slightly broken floe ahead. They have yet to meet anything solid.

    Anthony Watts might be amused to learn there is a surface station 20 miles away, Watt Bay
    [added: but I don’t know where exactly, aws presumably or is this fake?]

    Photo of Watt’s Bay in 1911


  10. Anything is possible says:

    Admiral Turney of the HMS Clitanic heroically raises his telescope to his blind eye, and announces :

    “I see no ice”

  11. Alex B says:

    tchannon, YR is a quite reputable weather service in Norway, so you can take this for being no fake.

    Greetings from Norway!

  12. tallbloke says:

    Rescue for Antarctic ice-bound ship under threat

  13. tallbloke says:

    The Turneys own around 18% of CARBONSCAPE HOLDINGS LIMITED

    Tim Flannery has a chunk of shares in the company too.

    Prof Chris Turney was a co-author of the Gergis et al paper debunked by Steve McIntyre last year.

    Profiteering from climate alarmism?

  14. […] Klimaatwetenschappers volgen het spoor van de Mawson, het schip dat zo’n tachtig jaar geleden op expeditie trok naar Antarctica. De wetenschappers zijn op onderzoek naar de gevolgen van ‘Global Warming’ in Antartica. Helaas voor hen stranden zij in een pak ijs van 4 meter dik. Intussen heeft een Chinese ijsbreker het onderzoeksschip MV Akademik Sjokalski, na twee dagen kunnen bevrijden. Met dank aan onze lezer TheyKnew en de blog van Tallbloke. […]

  15. tchannon says:

    Rog, The BBC item you linked adds a new dimension

    “the BBC’s Andrew Luck-Baker reports from on board the Akademik Shokalskiy”

    Is this is a media circus which has been caught pants down. Who else is on board?

    Yesterday I tried to get locations on Polar Star and Polar Sea, the two US actual icebreakers, neither show as transmitting. At least one is out of service.

  16. A C Osborn says:

    Climate Science in 2013, the science that just keeps giving – everybody else a good laugh.

  17. tallbloke says:

    Keep an eye on the ‘spiritofmawson’ hashtag on twitter as well as my timeline on the left column, plenty of humour flowing 🙂

    Nice one Josh

  18. tallbloke says:

    From Benny Peiser via email:

    CCNet 31/12/13

    Global Warming Scientists Forced To Admit Defeat

    Trapped Climate Expedition Ignored Reality

    They went in search evidence of the world’s melting ice caps, but instead a team of climate scientists have been forced to abandon their mission … because the Antarctic ice is thicker than usual at this time of year. The scientists have been stuck aboard the stricken MV Akademik Schokalskiy since Christmas Day, with repeated sea rescue attempts being abandoned as icebreaking ships failed to reach them. Now that effort has been ditched, with experts admitting the ice is just too thick. Instead the crew have built an icy helipad, with plans afoot to rescue the 74-strong team by helicopter. –Mia De Graaf and Hayley O’Keeffe, Daily Mail, 31 December 2013

    A rescue mission for a ship stuck in ice in Antarctica is under threat as reports have emerged that one of the assisting vessels may itself be stuck. Fifty-two passengers and four crew members were due to be evacuated by helicopter from China’s Xue Long ship as soon as conditions allowed. However, the Xue Long has barely moved in a day and may be stuck in the ice. If the Chinese vessel is also stuck and the Australian vessel cannot help it reach clear water, there will be no airlift. –BBC News, 31 December 2013

    Whenever the ice at the North and South Pole is mentioned, it is mostly in the context of melting ice triggered by global warming. However, the sea ice in Antarctica – in contrast to that in the Arctic – has proved to be remarkably robust. New measurements have now confirmed that. As the U.S. space agency NASA announced, the sea ice in the Antarctic has extended over an area of ​​19.47 million square meters at the end of September. That is the highest since measurements began in 1979. –Spiegel Online, 21 October 2013

    The leader of a scientific expedition whose ship remains stranded in Antarctic ice says the team, which set out to prove climate change, is “stuck in our own experiment.” But Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at Australia’s University of New South Wales, said it was “silly” to suggest he and 73 others aboard the MV Akademic Shokalskiy were trapped in ice they’d sought to prove had melted. He remained adamant that sea ice is melting, even as the boat remained trapped in frozen seas. –Paul Tilsley, Fox News, 30 December 2013

    Years ago, global warming believers renamed the phenomenon “climate change” – probably because of pesky details like unusually cold weather undercutting the warming argument. Now, just as advocates argue that Earth is approaching a tipping point, there’s so much ice floating in Antarctica during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer that the Australasian Antarctic Expedition posted in a statement: “We’re stuck in our own experiment.” Too bad the folks who are supposed to predict climate decades into the future are guided by scientists who could not manage to avoid ice floes during a five-week trip. –Debra Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 December 2013

    According to Chris Turney, leader of the expedition trapped in the ice off the coast of Antarctica, the expanding sea ice has been caused by global warming. He obviously has not bothered checking the facts. First, a look at UAH satellite temperature anomalies for the region. The purple line is the trend, not the mean, but as can be seen is, to all intents and purposes flat. Any trend is actually negative. –Paul Homewood, Not a Lot Of People Know That, 30 December 2013

    Tony Abbott’s top business adviser has accused the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of “dishonesty and deceit” as it focuses on “exploiting the masses and extracting more money” in a climate crusade. Maurice Newman, chairman of the prime minister’s new Business Advisory Council, used an interview with the Australian newspaper to launch a strongly worded attack on the global body that provides advice to governments on the body of scientific findings about climate change. Newman also argued Australia had fallen “hostage to climate change madness” but he believed the “scientific delusion” was crumbling amid suggestions the global temperature could drop to little ice age levels. –Daniel Hurst, The Guardian, 31 December 2013

  19. wayne says:

    Thank goodness they finally found a way to refute their holy “Global Warming” theory themselves! lol

    Reversing course was their only way out and they refused to take it as usual. They deserve every bit of the avalanche of bad PR snowing upon them now.

  20. Scute says:

    Ah! I thought I had tagged this to follow and have been commenting over at WUWT. I would’ve put them here. I think this one should be regurgitated though because I think Talkshop people (Tim?) might make some inroads re satellite photos or historical weather reports.


    It’s now official: Chris Turney is unequivocal in blaming the 20 miles of ice surrounding the Shokalskiy on Climate Change. From the Guardian:

    “The event is likely to be a result of long-term climate change that is happening in this part of the world. ”


    Extract showing full quote:

    “There’s a misconception here – we are not trapped in new ice that’s been created because its cold,” said Turney. “This is very old, thick ice that’s been re-mobilised. It was attached to another part of the continent and has broken out and, with the south-easterly winds we’ve had, has pushed it up against the coast … and pinned us in.”
    The event is likely to be a result of long-term climate change that is happening in this part of the world. When the 120km-long iceberg, B09B, came through the area a few years ago it knocked the tongue off the nearby Mertz glacier, which itself is 120km long. The iceberg grounded on the sea bed in Commonwealth Bay causing the sea around it to lock up with ice attached to the continent.
    “There’s no Mertz glacier tongue to hold back the sea ice that broke out in the past weeks,” said Turney. “Because there’s ice in Commonwealth Bay, where we’re near, that old ice couldn’t go anywhere apart from here. It’s unfortunate circumstances.”

    This explanation is the same one as he has given in his Spirit of Mawson website blog post yesterday, 30th December 2013, after a sudden 3-day posting hiatus when the most important events were unfolding:

    Turney’s blog post shows before and after satellite pictures of the area (20th and 27th Dec) and these are used supposedly to explain the fact that all the sea ice had broken away from fast ice the other side of the Mertz Glacier and had nowhere to go but into Commonwealth bay. I suspect that some ice did break off and contributed to the situation. However I think I can see spin here just like everywhere else.

    The 10-day-old satellite pictures that had apparently only just arrived on the day of the posting are quite difficult to interpret. They don’t show exactly the same area of Commonwealth Bay in both pictures and they are low resolution so you can’t see the labelling or the legend. Turney’s explanation is unhelpful and there is no link to the source at ACE CRC. So I went to the site myself, linked below, and found it rather lacking- certainly no satellite data page.

    I’m left with a distinct impression that the details of Turney’s line of argument in this explanation-via-Global-Warming is untenable. I therefore think it’s worthy of an in-depth investigation at WUWT to root out the truth behind the ice break-out and where it went, perhaps using satellite data that is full resolution and clearly shows the whole area of Commonwealth Bay in both photos. I think we may find that they were simply sailing into denser and denser floating ice which then closed around them with a change of wind direction. The breakout ice might have just added to the periphery of this mass- after all, the ‘after’ satellite photo is from the 27th December, not from the 24th when they were iced in. Why show the situation 3 days later and not at the time or one day later? And why not show all of Commonwealth Bay in the ‘before’ picture.

    If WUWT doesn’t knock this right on the head, Turney or others will be presenting it as science fact, possibly as soon as early March 2014 at The International Glaciogical Society (IGS) 4th sea ice symposium in Hobart, Tasmania from (10-14 March 2014). That is, if they can get to Tasmania before March.


  21. Scute says:

    Further to my above comment, I don’t think I quite nailed the issue. What I’m wondering is whether, firstly, the Shokalskiy was sailing into denser and denser sea ice which closed in on them on Christmas Eve; then, secondly, the breakout happened a day or two later and added more ice- hence their showing the picture from the 27th and not the 24th. These would be two separate events. The first is reckless running the gauntlet in its own right and proves the abundant summer sea ice scenario. The second is incidental because the ship was already stuck.

    Jo Nova says that the Shokalskiy was initially trapped by 2 miles of sea ice on Christmas Eve. I read this somewhere too. That grew to over 20 miles in the ensuing days. So did the breakout happen a day or so after their entrapment because this would mean that the ship really was the architect of its own demise and that the breakout is a cover story.

  22. Scute says:

    May I suggest a choice article title for today?

    “1st January 2014: Global Warming Ship of Fools Icebound On Day Of All-Time Global Sea Ice Record.”

    This occurred to me just now. I had read a couple of days ago that this might soon be the case and I found that it was tentatively predicted for today, 1st Jan 2014 (see Real Science link below). That’s just so neat.

    I don’t know if it has actually happened, or will do later on today but what a gift of an irony that would be.

  23. tchannon says:

    Those who say they see no ice.

    Possible AA from heading is trying again. Were doing donuts, now is day there.

  24. tchannon says:

    Seeing through cloud?

    Can try ice detection.

    They are at 144 degrees

    31st Dec 213

  25. Scute says:


    Thanks but I couldn’t open that last file

  26. […] tchannon on Mawson never had this trouble… […]

  27. tchannon says:

    Scute, download and open here is fine, maybe try again.
    Only contains a bundle of images.
    I might look more today, not decided.

  28. tallbloke says:

    Aphan says:
    December 31, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Here’s a problem I have with the whole thing.

    In 2010, the Mertz glacier tongue (the part that sticks out into the sea when a glacier reaches the shore and keeps going) was broken off by a huge iceberg called B09B, that had been “nudging” and battering into the side of the Mertz tongue for almost 18 years. The debris along with the remains of B09B moved north and west into Commonwealth Bay-where Mawson’s expedition base camp was. They filled in and froze in the bay three years ago. Satellite images captured the whole event beautifully.

    The captain of the ship KNEW this because the ship/cruise ships webpage states that it cannot promise any passengers that they would make it to land to visit Mawson’s huts/camp due to the passage being blocked by ice and the iceberg, and it being summer and all, the ice might not be safe to travel across.

    Now, the Mertz tongue had FORMERLY kept random sea ice chunks from entering the bay. It acted as a sort of “shield” and deflected anything floating out and around it into open water. Prior to 2010, getting into Mawson’s Commonwealth Bay was fairly easy to do in the summer without encountering a lot of ice at all.

    But for THREE years, scientists, anyone who checks a satellite image once in a while, or reads an occasional article on the area, and ALL ship captains who take cruises there, has KNOWN that conditions near the Bay are unpredictable and different than they had been before. They KNEW that the “protection” of the Mertz tongue was GONE, and that any OLD ice in the area could easily at least damage their ships, if not seal them in during a storm.

    So why…why on earth would ANY knowledgeable ship’s captain, familiar with the conditions and fierce events of that region, anchor a ship at the edge of a sea ice sheet that is known to shift, ESPECIALLY in the summer when the natural temps cause the ice on the shelves to calve more and break free? A captain who KNOWS that the sea ice blows into the Bay area MORE when south east winds blow? A captain who knew he was STILL two miles from open water as a storm blew in?

    Was the captain stupid? Inexperienced? Pressured by the “media” presence on board? Or the AGW activist/scientists that couldn’t claim AGW was melting the Antarctic if they didn’t actually get to explore it where Mawson did?

    Just how much about the Commonwealth Bay area did Chris Turney KNOW before he left? Did he research the area for years and have a perfect knowledge of the “new” shore conditions in that area since 2010? Or did he just pick a popular meme (Mawson) and decide to ride it’s coattails to media fame (by bringing along his own reporters) and head out with a group of innocent citizens who thought it sounded like a fun and “noble” thing to do?

  29. tchannon says:

    From WUWT
    marchesarosa says:
    January 1, 2014 at 7:11 am

    It was even the same ship, the Shokalskiy, that was impeded by ice back in 2011 when trying to approach Commonwealth Bay. Here is a photo of it in 2011.

    If that’s true, same captain?

  30. tchannon says:

    Andrew Bolt blog
    01 2014 (1:52pm)

    Something’s cracking, and it’s not the ice around the warmists’ ship

  31. Roger Andrews says:

    TB: Regarding your question: “Just how much about the Commonwealth Bay area did Chris Turney KNOW before he left?” Apparently nothing. According to his expedition log the ice conditions came as a complete surprise to him.

    December 30, 2013: “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 …..”

    I used to get my knuckles rapped for not doing my homework.

  32. J Martin says:

    The saga of the adventures of some Christmas turkeys. If I were one of the the $8k tourists I would already be on the phone to my solicitor looking for a refund and damages. I wonder what contracts they signed and whether they would stand up to scrutiny.

  33. Scute says:

    Further to my comment of 1st January 2013 @ 3:39 am:

    Steve Goddard at Real Science has now confirmed for us that at the time when the Shokalskiy sat marooned in 20 miles of ice and possibly on the very day Chris Turney blamed it on Global Warming, the global sea ice extent broke the all-time record for that date:

  34. johnbuk says:

    Scute, Steve, can’t be right! The wind is blowing so hard that the small amount of ice that’s whizzing around the Pole looks like one large record-breaking ice sheet. It’s an easy mistake that all us deniers can make 😉

  35. Scute says:


    Wot, you mean like this:


  36. johnbuk says:

    No, that looks like the late 50’s early 60’s – no global warming then! Or perhaps it’s been “adjusted”.

    One of my school photos around 1960 (UK) had a lad attempting the same trick – unfortunately for him all the back row were standing on a bench and when he tried jumping off to race to the other end he managed to fall and twist his ankle. The kerfuffle managed to attract the attention of the rest of the row who all craned their necks to see what had happened just as the motorised camera moved round!

    Nothing new in the universe.