Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vessel trapped off Antarctica - it's a conspiracy, sez anti-science campaigner Anthony Watts

Sou | 6:53 PM Go to the first of 58 comments. Add a comment

Anthony Watts, conspiracy theorist promoter at WUWT, is now heralding another conspiracy theory.  That there was an international plot to create a blizzard off Antarctica right at the very spot and time when MV Akademik Shokalskiy was most likely to get caught in the pack ice. I gather he believes the plot was hatched by the scientists on the ship, and the captain and his crew were only too willing to participate along with, presumably the Australian and Russian governments, the media and all the passengers.  Anthony reckons it's all a "publicity stunt"!

For more Anthony Watts' conspiracy theories at WUWT, see here and here and here.

Anthony Watts has a habit of capitalising on the misfortune of others

Anthony Watts has a reputation for mocking the misfortune of others to get blog hits and make believe he's "clever".  He downplayed the tragic deaths of thousands of people (latest toll is at least 6,111 people dead and 1,779 still missing) in the deadliest disaster in the Philippines. He tried to downplay the severity of the record-breaking typhoon - in several articles, which in itself shows that the storm was regarded by the rest of the world as a major catastrophe.

The troubles of the ice-bound Australasian Antarctic Expedition are nothing compared to the disaster wrought by Haiyan, but the reaction of Anthony Watts and some of his followers can be put in the same category.

Anthony delights in the misfortune using terms like "circus", "hilarity" in his malicious taunting of the plight of MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the 74 people on board.  Some of his followers have wished the scientists and passengers dead - literally.

Here is the latest from Australia's ABC news.  Here is the live blog from the Guardian.  And for background, here is an interview with Professor Chris Turney on Lateline - from last November; and a link to the expedition website.

This short clip shows, in fast-motion, research on board the Aurora Australis, to give some idea of what scientists do in the oceans around Antarctica:

The video was filmed by Antarctic researcher Dr Frederique Olivier onboard the recent voyage of the Australian Antarctic Division's icebreaker the Research Supply Vessel Aurora Australis.  It encapsulates some of the incredible amount of work undertaken by researchers working in shifts continuously throughout the voyage to learn more about the Antarctic Ocean and its relationship to the rest of Earth's environment.

It's a Russian/Australian conspiracy, sez Anthony Watts

Back to the plight of MV Akademik Shokalskiy.  Now Anthony has moved to "it's a conspiracy".  Not satisfied with mocking the expedition, cracking jokes, telling fibs and trying to make mileage out of their situation, now he speculates that being trapped in ice was a "publicity stunt" (archived here, latest update here):
Now, with such a fantastic failure in full world view, questions are going to start being asked. For example, with advanced tools at their disposal (that Mawson never had) such as near real-time satellite imaging of Antarctic sea ice, GPS navigation, on-board Internet, radar, and satellite communications, one wonders how these folks managed to get themselves stuck at all. Was it simple incompetence of ignoring the signs and data at their disposal combined with “full steam ahead” fever? Even the captain of the Aurora Australis had the good sense to turn back knowing he’d reached the limits of the ship on his rescue attempt.  Or, was it some sort of publicity stunt to draw attention? If it was the latter, it has backfired mightily.

I'm not quite sure why he thinks that all that equipment can accurately predict the future and even  if it did give an indication they were about to be hemmed in by sea ice, how the captain and navigator could have avoided it.  Nor how Anthony is so convinced that no sea-going vessels ever gets into strife, given all that equipment.

As you can see, Anthony also doubles down on his disinformation, calling the scientific expedition a "nothing more than a party":
And when the trip is nothing more than a party for your friends and media, disguised as a “scientific expedition”, one wonders if there shouldn’t be some moratorium on such trips.

That means that he regards the scientists here and here and here are mere party-goers. Not only that but Anthony Watts regards any reporting of science and nature as frivolous frippery.  Anthony cannot abide science or nature.

How ships get stuck in thick ice

Sea ice moves.  It is blown by the wind.  I'm not an expert on the Antarctic or sea ice, but here is some information I've gathered from various places:

First, a short description of what happened to Shackleton's Endurance, in 1915, from Wikipedia:
On January 18 the gale began to moderate and Endurance set the topsail with the engine at slow. The pack had blown away. Progress was made slowly until hours later Endurance encountered the pack once more. It was decided to move forward and work through the pack, and at 5pm Endurance entered it. However it was noticed that this ice was different from what had been encountered before. The ship was soon amongst thick but soft brash ice. The ship became beset. The gale now increased its intensity and kept blowing for another six days from a northerly direction towards land. By January 24, the wind had completely compressed the ice in the whole Weddell Sea against the land. Endurance was icebound. All that could be done was to wait for a southerly gale that would start pushing, decompressing and opening the ice in the other direction. Instead the days passed and the pack remained unchanged.
Endurance drifted for months beset in the ice in the Weddell Sea. The changing conditions of the Antarctic spring brought such pressure that Endurance was crushed over the period from October 27, 1915. On the morning of November 21, 1915, the Endurance's bow began to sink under the ice and it was abandoned. [2]

Here is a video taken from a ship going through pack ice in the Arctic. The sea ice moves on the ocean and different bits crash into each other, piling up.  This video is just normal ice motion, it's not pack ice being blown in one direction, packed tightly by the strong winds off East Antarctica and thickening around a ship:

The Arctic is mostly ocean surrounded by land.  In the Antarctic it's the opposite.  It's a large continent surrounded by ocean.  This raises the matter of fast ice.

As Alok Jha, science correspondent at the Guardian who is on the ship, wrote a couple of days ago:
We arrived at Commonwealth Bay more than a week ago, dropping anchor at the edge of a glistening sheet of fast ice – so called because it is stuck fast to the edge of the land mass of Antarctica. In front of us was an alien landscape of pure, flat white. The expedition's scientists began their work. 

After Commonwealth Bay, the ship continued to follow the path of the Mawson expedition and set off for the Mertz Glacier. It got as far as Cape de la Motte.  As Alok Jha wrote in the same article:
We are at Cape de la Motte in East Antarctica, on our way to the Mertz glacier, in a sea covered in ice floes up to four metres thick and several years old, making them dense and tough. Winds have pushed these floes towards the Antarctic mainland and pinned us in. The Xue Long arrived on Friday evening and spent 12 hours pushing its way through the dense ice before its captain decided enough was enough. We were only two nautical miles from the ocean before Christmas, but that distance has now swelled to around 20 nautical miles as the blizzards and winds have continued. If the joint efforts of the Aurora Australis and Xue Long don't work, the only other option will be to evacuate the ship by air, though this would be the absolute worst case scenario.

This is a map showing where the ship is now:

Fast ice is stuck to the land, the ice pack isn't.  Winds have pushed the pack ice towards the coast, trapping the ship.  And it's got worse.  Not only has the ice covered more of the ocean, blocking any route in or out, it's being compressed and is getting thicker as the wind keeps pushing the pack ice against itself.  It has nowhere to go so it banks up. The latest is that the ice around the ship is three to four metres thick.  Too thick for any ice-breaker and the pressure could be too thick for the ship to survive intact, though I don't know about the latter.  The ship is designed for the Arctic and Antarctic.

Anthony Watts' conspiracy theory

Anthony Watts prefers a conspiracy theory.  He speculated: Or, was it some sort of publicity stunt to draw attention?

That would have required some or all of the following:

  • An international conspiracy involving Russia and Australia with or without the connivance of governments of nations whose citizens are part of the expedition
  • Foreknowledge of the change in wind and how it would blow the pack ice forcing it to bank up around the ship and the coast
  • The ship's captain being central to the conspiracy - willingly, by coercion or by enticement such as bribery
  • The ships crew being complicit and following the Captain's orders
  • The scientists being willing to put their own lives and that of their colleagues, passengers, and the ship's crew at risk
  • The scientists having at their disposal the means by which to coerce (by brute force, bribery or other means) the ship's captain to deliberately put himself, his crew, all his passengers and his ship in harm's way
  • The scientists being so all-powerful that they could control the winds of the Antarctic and the sea ice.

WUWT-ers are willing to believe that Adelaide scientist Tom Wigley rules the world, with or without Kevin Trenberth, who they believe is arguably the most politically powerful climate scientist on earth. So it should come as no surprise that Anthony Watts' followers would swallow his yarn that one or two scientists can force the captain of a Russian ship and command the winds of the Antarctic to trap their ship behind 20  nautical miles of ice.

As others have pointed out, Anthony knows almost nothing about science and less about Antarctica.  Do you recall when he wrote about UHI disease in remote Antarctica, claiming that rising temperatures in Antarctica were caused by a couple of researchers freezing their butt off in a remote temporary camp, thousands of kilometres from the weather station?

Why didn't Anthony do any research on the subject of sea ice in Antarctica?  That should be obvious.  If he had he wouldn't have been able to spin his malicious yarns.

And does he really think that the captain of the Russian-flagged ship would deliberately get stuck in ice that is now 3 to 4 meters thick and risk it being destroyed on purpose?  Does he really think that scientists can command the winds around the Antarctic coastline? Perhaps he thinks that the scientists or passengers forced the Captain just so that he, Anthony Watts, could mock the fact that the ship got stuck in ice in a world that is warming.  Probably not.  He doesn't care about such matters.  All he cares about is trashing science and scientists and thereby getting the lowest of the low readers to his blog.

Other ships that have been trapped or sunk by Antarctic ice

Many ships have been trapped by ice in the Antarctic.  This vessel is by no means unique.  Here are just a few examples:

In January 1986, the british Antarctic expedition ship, Southern Quest, "sank in the Ross Sea Saturday night, trapped and crushed by pack ice while on its way to pick up three men who spent a year walking and skiing to the South Pole".  This was a private expedition and the aftermath is described here by John Elder.

In November 2009, a tourist ship, the Russian ice-breaker Kapitan Khlebnikov, was trapped by ice in the Antarctic for several days.  It included a BBC team who were filming for the well-known documentary "Frozen Planet".

Several fishing vessels have been sunk in Antarctic waters.  Did they, too, do it "as a publicity stunt"?

And of course there are the pioneering expeditions that battled the perils of the Antarctic waters.

How this ship got trapped

Early reports suggest the ship became trapped because the wind pushed the pack ice toward the fast ice and when it could move no further it piled up.  There will be a report of the events prepared by AMSA and maybe others after the dust has settled.  I'll leave it to the experts to apportion blame to the captain, crew, passengers, scientists, the media, global warming, WUWT's coming ice age, Tom Wigley, Kevin Trenberth, Al Gore, the IPCC, the UN, Agenda 21 or the fickleness of Antarctic weather - in whatever proportion they see fit.

All I can say is that I expect the scientific team, the captain and crew and the passengers to come out looking a whole lot better than the despicable reaction of Anthony Watts and his anti-science fans.  It's not just good people who look like saints compared to Anthony Watts.  A lot of villains in the world would appear to smell of roses if put next to the people who worship anti-science.

Worth a "Sticky"

Anthony has made his mocking article a "sticky" to make sure his readers can see just how clever and insightful he is.  How you can't fool Anthony Watts.  This is probably what he and his nasty followers think:

Credit: Gabby's Playhouse

Addendum: I'd say this little section had a prophetic component.  Anthony has put up a detailed analysis of his blog stats for the year.  Do they "prove" he is "right"?  ha ha ha. (His article is archived here.  I can't be bothered archiving his actual report.  If readers are interested please make a request in the comment section and I'll make a copy and post a link.)

Meanwhile, in other news

From India:
Survivors of the flash floods in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand in north India are still recovering from the calamity, six months on.
The floods, which has also been called the Himalayan Tsunami, left over 1,000 dead and more than 6,500 missing.

In Indonesia:
Around 18,000 people in western Indonesia have had to leave their homes after two rivers burst their banks and flooded thousands of houses, an official said.

In the Pilbara, Western Australia:
Authorities are assessing the damage after Tropical Cyclone Christine brought torrential rain and destructive winds to Western Australia's Pilbara, with residents of one town saying it was the worst in memory.

In the UK
A record number of women have appeared in the Queen's New Year's honours list...Some 1,195 people have received an award this year, and for the first time since the list was founded in 1917 there were more women (51 per cent) named than men.
(Oops - that's not terribly relevant, is it.)

From the WUWT comments

Anthony Watts really does bring out the nastier of the nasties. The worst of the comments are on his previous articles (eg as archived here, but the site seems to be slow at the moment) and are not suitable for printing on HotWhopper.  For readers who have a strong stomach comments on this latest WUWT diatribe are archived here at webcitation.org and updated here at archive.is, latest here.

Michael Ronayne says:
December 30, 2013 at 10:47 am
Question: What do you call a ship load of trapped Global Cooling Deniers who are in danger of freezing to death?
Answer: A good start!

Man Bearpig says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:14 am
This must have been the best entertainment that Penguins and Seals have seen in a long time.

Dobes says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:28 am
Why is it such a surprise the people who routinely ignore real world observation are stuck in a real world observation. I’m sure their models said the ice wasn’t there

David Becker is "not sure" about Adelie penguins being near people in Antarctica says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:28 am
The penguins in the first photo appear to be photoshopped in. I am not sure there would be a bunch of penguins right at the location at which the ship is stuck, unless they were just having a good laugh. (I will look at later pictures for a sad polar bear, just in case the biologists aboard are as competent as the “climate scientists.”)
I wonder how all these photos were taken if not by people.

Leo G gets into the spirit of Anthony's festivities and says:
December 30, 2013 at 8:14 pm
Have I got this right? A pair of Australian professors whose names sound like Christmas Turkey and Fogwilly use research funds to organise a tourist trip PR stunt in Antarctica by chartering a ship with a name that sounds like MV Academic Shocks-are-likely. A bipolar expedition?

En Passant notices the wealth of material at WUWT for psychologists and, contributing to it, says:
December 30, 2013 at 8:12 pm
At any moment Professor Lewandowsky (formerly of the University of WA and now of Bristol University) will issue a peer/pal reviewed paper entitled “Cognitive dissonance of Deniers mocking heroic CAGW pseudo-scientists trapped in global warming ice”
I cannot wait.
One interesting point of dissonance is that before they set off Professor Turkey blogged that Commonwealth Bay has been blocked for the past three years by a giant (75-mile long) iceberg that has lodged there. If he already knew that, how did this Band of Boonies intend to land? A Moses act of parting the ice and waters perhaps. Yet another mystery to be solved. I mean, Google maps would have told them it was a bad idea before they set off with my taxes in their pockets.
Let’s hope the UNSW picks up the costs as this will mean they have to close some unnecessary departments (probably medicine, engineering and physics) as this disaster shows just how important the Department of Climate Mythology really is.

Frank Kotler apparently thinks that Douglas Mawson is okay but people adding to his legacy of scientific observations are not okay, and says:
December 30, 2013 at 11:29 am
Rather arrogant for these folks to compare themselves to Douglas Mawson, IMO. Mawson was apparently a rugged guy, but he lost two crew members and nearly died himself. I guess if no one dies in this fiasco, it proves “global warming”. “Global Warming is real and dangerous.” Okay, scratch “dangerous”. “Global Warming is real and a lifesaver!” How’s thar?

Talk about deluded deniers. Gail Combs is vying for the dual awards of "biggest loonie" and "nastiest web denizen" and talks of "spin".  At the same time she is blaming the scientists on the vessel for "food riots in over 60 countries", the "real deaths of thousands in the UK" and potentially causing early deaths of millions". She says of the scientists and passengers (excerpt - with my bold italics):
December 30, 2013 at 5:55 pm
I have every sympathy for the crews and I hope like heck the Russian skipper and his 17 volunteers makes it out alive. The others, given their attitude, I have no sympathy for what’s so ever.
These are not a bunch of innocent befuddled tourists but a bunch of campaigning activists who combined with their brethren have cause food riots in over 60 countries (2008 biofuel -food crisis) the real deaths of thousands in the UK (fuel poverty), not to mention undermining the economies of several nations and potentially causing the suffering and early deaths of not thousands but millions.
If Mother Nature wants to deliver a hard object lesson to activists so be it.
The unfortunate problem is they will just find a way to spin it.

DirkH and Mervyn are busy building up their reputations as a Conspiracy Theorists First Class:
December 30, 2013 at 6:55 pm
Mervyn says: December 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm
“The media are doing an atrocious job reporting the truth about this ‘expedition’ ”
You are doing them injustice. The media are doing a splendig job lying about this expedition.
You have to know the job description.

Not all of Anthony's science deniers are getting completely caught up in Anthony Watts' hysteria.  Laurie says:
December 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm
I don’t see these people as enemies… just wrong thinking. The ice? Well, it was there and someone made a mistake. I don’t really care how they want to spin this when it’s over. I would just like to see them all safe. Ignorant and safe is …okay. Truth will win out in the end.

I wonder if this latest episode at WUWT will make anyone reassess their rejection of science and reconsider their opinion of Anthony Watts?


  1. You refer to the ship as a "Russian ship" and a "Russian-flagged ship" but make no mention of it being chartered to an Australian Cruise line company.

    You also cleverly put in a clip showing the activities undertaken by the Aurora Australis, "to give some idea of what scientists do in the oceans around Antarctica", expecting your loyal readers to assume the same happens on board the party ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy... A ship which has two passenger decks, with dining rooms, a bar, a library, and a sauna, and accommodates 54 passengers. Maybe that's why one of the passengers, Janet Rice (the Green party senator-elect for Victoria) is reported to have 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."

    1. Anonymous

      Would you be happier to hear that the people aboard are running around in a blind panic? Have a read of some of the accounts of Londoners during the Blitz and see how some people react to their plight.

      I agree with Sou's comment about the readership here having a level of intelligence somewhat higher than elsewhere. I guess you got your intelligence on the ship from Wikipedia - did you read the bit about 22 scientists and 26 tourists on board. I did. I suspect one of the ways the scientists could afford to do their science was to let some paying passengers come along for the ride. Is there anything wrong with that?

    2. By the way, you'll probably be quite shocked to learn that the Aurora Australis has a gym, library and recreation areas. I don't know if it has a sauna or a bar.

    3. Oh dear, they have dining rooms? What luxury! I think that the scientists should sit in their cabins and eat food directly out of cans.

    4. Judging from this Youtube video I found the MV Akademik Shokalskiy is obviously a luxurious party ship. Just look at those comfy cabins, the no-costs-spared dining room with its' beautiful dining chairs and tables, those wide hallways, all tastefully designed in that typical 1960's Russian style us Westerners are so fond of.


      And here's another video of this luxurious party ship. Note the elegantly designed bar (where up to 3 'scientists' can comfortably sit and drink a piña colada while watching the top-of-the-range wide screen TV):



    5. Oh, they've got swivel chairs in the dining room. Blue ones! What a party!

    6. You didn't notice the disco balls?

    7. Swivel chairs! At the taxpayer's expense no doubt!

  2. Your point is?

    Do you subscribe to Anthony Watts conspiracy theory? Do you object to morale being maintained despite their being trapped in thick ice?

    Perhaps you are of the view that everyone should be panicking. Or that there is something "wrong" with having a library, a bar and a sauna on a dual-purpose scientific exploration / passenger vessel. Or maybe you are suggesting that Janet Rice shouldn't be travelling to Antarctica?

    Or are you wanting to make some other point?

    You'll have to be more explicit.

    BTW HotWhopper readers are a lot more intelligent than you seem to think. Well, present company excepted - maybe.

  3. Anonymous,

    Are you saying, or implying, that this is a cruise ship or on a conventional cruise? Apparently you believe it is a "party ship". Perhaps it is. I do know someone who went on a cruise to the Antarctic, so such things happen. (Though he is not a scientist I don't believe my friend actually thought of it as a "party").

    Could you not just say what you mean (because I am not at all sure what it is)? Life is difficult enough without having to wonder what you are trying to say. Has someone done something wrong here? Or behaved improperly? Or what?

    BTW, I would have thought that "cleverly put[ting] in a clip" to show something relevant would lead most sensible people to conclude ... nothing. There was no suggestion that it came from the ship (in fact, as you acknowledge, it is perfectly clear that it did not). Could you explain why it was "clever"?

    If you have a "theory" why don't you just say it straight out? It would be particularly helpful if your clarification came with supporting evidence rather than innuendo.

    I do hope you will feel free to express yourself clearly in your reply. It helps us understand.


  4. I guess part of the denial is about how powerful nature is. It is touching how quickly the call propaganda, when someone uses a few images illustrating the importance of weather and climate for humans: droughts, floodings, storms, icing, heat waves. I guess they feel invincible, but deep down they know they are just as weak as the rest of us and they hate being reminded.

    Those wordpress statistics of WUWT shows that the pageviews are going down. Not much, but encouraging. The previous announcement that the ranking of WUWT was going through the roof was clearly false. (A constant readership means a decreased ranking in a growing internet.)

    1. Victor.

      What, a 'hiatus'...?

      Bernard J.

    2. No, much more than that. If you are willing to ignore statistical significance, it would be a sign of an ice age coming soon.

    3. Could we hope that this is a sign of the impending closure of WUWT?!

    4. I expect to see a guest post soon about how ship science isn't real science. If it's done on a ship, it ain't science.

    5. Richard Tol doesn't agree that they are doing science...


    6. "Why the vessel got trapped in the first place may be because Turney never bothered to look at sea ice charts, which showed near record high levels of sea ice surrounding Antarctica. "

      The sea ice charts would not show that.

      It appears that the climate cranks from the northern hemisphere are unaware that it is summer in the southern hemisphere.

      Antarctic sea ice is seasonal. It reaches maximum extent in September and minimum extent in February.

      It the Antarctic sea ice is not currently melting, perhaps the cranks can explain the mechanism by which it reaches minimum extent.


  5. At least they are in good spirits this New Year giving a shout out to the Guardian & BBC...


    1. "...the Guardian & the BBC are pumping out news on you and me..." - Janet Rice singing while stuck in the ice on New Years. Yep, not a propaganda ploy or publicity stunt. I do say that they will receive much more news coverage by getting stuck in the ice versus if they were able to sail up to Cape Dennison to visit Mawson's huts because of melting of the Antarctic.

    2. It seems this tourist science expedition was not the best homage to Mawson's expedition. Mawson spent two antarctic winters there enduring some real hardship. Hopefully all tourists and scientists can be evacuated by helicopter soon. Read the book on the original expedition this tourist trip is based on, it is unbelievable.


    3. I'm not sure what you mean by that comment. It's a bit soon to judge the value of the science on this trip. And I don't imagine you are arguing that Mawson's trip went more smoothly than the Turney expedition.

      I agree, though, that accounts of the Mawson and other polar expeditions make fascinating reading and these adventurer/scientist/explorers are to be admired. We owe them a lot.

    4. No we don't owe them a lot. They disrupted a real science exploration ship from doing their work to try to rescue them. These "adventurer/scientist/explorers" thought they would go on a cruise to demonstrate the melting antarctic. Their cruise seems to me to be more of a antarctic gilligan's island show after seeing their own video.


    5. I was referring to people like Mawson and Scott and Shackleton when I wrote about "adventurer/scientist/exporers" saying "we owe them a lot". I thought that would have been quite clear from it being in the same sentence as "fascinating reading".

      We don''t (yet) owe this expedition anything. Time will tell how much value their observations will yield.

      You are mistaken if you think the cruise was simply to "demonstrate the melting Antarctic". The purpose of the expedition is spelt out quite clearly on the website.


      I don't know if you are a scientist upset that your research or the research of other people has been interrupted. That would be understandable.

      Or maybe you don't care so much about the research being interrupted and just don't like new knowledge or scientists being entrepreneurial or traveling to dangerous places. Who knows.

    6. Sou, my apologies for misreading your "we owe them a lot comment". From your writing style it is not always clear, however I've just been reading your blog for a few days.

      I'm not a scientist that worries about funding based on CO2 policies. I'm actually a water resource engineer with MWD and we do our own research to guide our capital improvement projects to make sure we have water and we read all the published papers. As an applied science engineer that relies on pure science papers to make decisions, I'm appalled on the current peer reviewed papers I've read when comparing it to the 100 year empirical data we've generated in house. Our data just doesn't match the projections and taking a 4C sensitivity as fact means huge capital dollars expenditure for mitigation.I do believe that man can definitely change climate, I'm just not sure that CO2 is the main forcing but it is a component. I'm not going to be dedicating huge sums of capital based on the CO2 main thermostat theory when I can dedicate the money to more worthy projects based on engineering and not climate models.

    7. Sou, also to your last question on who knows regarding danger and gaining knowledge. Well, before my more current position I was a US Marine working in the humint field. It was a little dangerous but we endeavored to gain knowledge to mitigate impending disaster. I like knew knowledge, but sometimes it's BS. Making major policy procedures on BS "models" is not going to work economically. To change public opinion you need to get a real buy in from the populace, economics drives this and not government policy. Just my real life empirical data collection. My interpretation of the data might be different than yours.

    8. Apology accepted, but there was no need for it. It's easy for people to be misunderstood in the fast moving blogosphere.

    9. Sou, I agree in that we live in a too fast paced lifestyle when commenting.


  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Sou, here is a far more balanced article on the nuffie icecapades, it also sheds some light on on the amateur/unprofessional organization of the botched scientific ice party.

    archived notrickzone article


    1. Karen, HW doesn't make a habit of linking to denier sites directly. I probably should make that clear in the comment policy. Anyway, I've reposted your comment as is, except for changing the link to an archived version.

      I'll read it before responding, to see if it is, as you've suggested, more balanced than the articles at WUWT. It's not much of a benchmark to beat, even by Pierre Gosselin, who predicts that the global surface temperatures will be minus 2.5 degrees instead of +0.8 degrees or more by 2020, and who judges scientific consensus by denier blogs.

    2. I didn't have to go far to find, unsurprisingly, that Pierre was talking through his hat:

      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.

      Scientists who specialise in polar research would be at least as aware of conditions in the Antarctic as a climate science disinformer like Pierre Gosselin.

      Then I see he mistakes the expedition leader for the ship's captain, writing:

      Why the vessel got trapped in the first place may be because Turney never bothered to look at sea ice charts, which showed near record high levels of sea ice surrounding Antarctica.

      Pierre quotes Fox News making fun of Chris Turney saying that sea ice is getting less. But Chris Turney is correct. Globally sea ice is melting. The loss of Arctic sea ice far outweighs any increase in sea ice in Antarctica.

      The article is nothing but an example of shock jock speculation and insinuation. Compare it to the interviews on lateline, here and here.

      My guess is that Pierre has never been to Antarctica. It's clear that he doesn't know the difference between weather and climate.

      Is Karen correct, though? Is Pierre's a "more balance article" than Anthony Watts' articles? No. I think they are much of a muchness. Pierre doesn't try for humour. He just speculates and insinuates. Anthony goes for mockery instead. I'll speculate that both of them are trying to use the situation to pretend that global warming isn't happening - and, more importantly, to boost their hit count and try to appear "cleverer" than those scientists who they reckon "don't know nuffin'".

    3. "Is Karen correct, though? Is Pierre's a "more balance article" than Anthony Watts' articles? No."

      Actually...... Sou, I was inferring that Pierre's article was far more balanced than this blog post of your own, you also seem to be omitting the fact that Chris Turney is the supposed expert here, he is the experienced ‘Home of the Blizzard’ scientist and he and his comrades were supposed to be "doing science" on the changing ocean temperatures and sea ice, ...........der


    4. Umm? The pedant in me insists I write that you probably mean your were "implying" rather than "inferring". Except you didn't "imply". You made a bald statement.

      Anyway, that's a no-brainer. HotWhopper's articles are light years ahead of the rubbish you read on climate disinformation sites. I'm horrified you'd try to compare them. They are poles apart (pun intended).

      I don't know the relevance of your comment that "Chris Turney is the supposed expert". There's no supposition about it. He does have a lot more expertise than you, me, Pierre Gosselin, Anthony Watts and Fox News.

      You seem to be mixing up areas of expertise, just as Pierre did. Chris Turney's expertise is science. It's the ship's captain and, presumably, the ship's crew, who have expertise in navigating the icy seas of the Arctic and Antarctic.

    5. The first few paragraphs raise worthwhile questions about "adventure tourism" as Revkin does too in his piece today.

      However then the author drifts off into blaming, hints and innuendos, suggesting that the whole episode somehow undermines the conclusions of climate science.

      All in all not a reliable presentation

    6. Adventure tourism and science, is it reasonable that they go hand in hand in explorations like this to gain empirical data? I think not.

    7. There were not identical but not dissimilar strongly polarised views of expeditions in the early twentieth century.


      Plus ça change...

    8. Yes, the British looked down on Amundsen's trip because he "wasn't doing science", just a dash to the pole. Scott's expedition gathered a lot of data, some useful (location of the south magnetic pole), some not (the trip to the Emperor Penguin nesting grounds).

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. "Anyway, that's a no-brainer. HotWhopper's articles are light years ahead of the rubbish you read on climate disinformation sites."

    ummm............ lol.............Sou you are a silly donkey :)

    Your scribblings are posted after stalking WUWT, ie after they have written something that you then twist and mangle and distort into your own mutilated

    Sou ? ........"light years ahead" lol

    ....actually your posts are parasitic because nothing you write is original, you feed off others.


    1. I'm shocked you'd say such a thing, Karen. Shocked I say.

      Seriously though - how many original posts has Anthony written? Okay - I guess his airport UHI disease could be considered "original". However, WUWT is mostly cut and pastes of science press releases (usually mocked) interspersed with random misinterpretations of the work of others and inventions of square wheels by people like Wondering Willis and Perennially Puzzled Bob; crank conspiracy theories (not very original ones either) by various fake sceptics, and the occasional cartoon.

      At least I write my own articles. And you've got to admit that WUWT is a full of nonsense just waiting to be exploited.

      I see Wondering Willis has just reinvented Lindzen's failed iris hypothesis, for example. He even thinks he invented it because "scientists don't know nuffin'" or, more accurately, because he doesn't read science. A bit too dunning kruger perhaps.

    2. Karen, your comment is not decipherable to my language. I speak many languages and understand more on a conversationalist level.


  10. "...actually your posts are parasitic because nothing you write is original, you feed off others."

    How ironic, coming from the cross-dressing poster who has never put forward an original thought in his life - it's always a verbatim reposting of some selected anti-science garbage, or a holus-bolus reposting of a scientific piece that doesn't actually say what KarenMackSunspot imagines it says.

    The farce is strong in this one.

    Bernard J.

  11. Sou, I see the ice party stuck alarmists and the US coast guard are reaching out to the sceptics for weather info now....



    1. Gawd - that's what I call "spin" - out of almost nothing at all. A weatherman to the rescue claiming credit for goodness knows what. I bet Anthony's wishing he'd thought up that one. He could have sent them Pierre Gosselin's prediction for 2020 or any one of the idiot comments from his followers.

      How do people in the USA stomach that sort of tripe day in day out? I guess they can flick the switch and probably do.

    2. I should have guessed. Karen did get this from WUWT. (What was that about copying from WUWT - at least I cite my sources!)

      Now it's Anthony Watts riding to the rescue of the stricken ship on his glistening white steed. He's being accused by his followers of demonstrating "Civilized professionalism at its finest, and a PR coup too." and being "magnificent" and blessed by God. He must be next in line for sainthood after rescuing the ship.

      And all of a sudden there is a complete about face at WUWT (almost). Anthony's followers have suddenly decided to stop wishing the scientists and other passengers dead. They are now wishing them all well and safe. I suppose Anthony wouldn't look too good if harm befell anyone now after his claimed big rescue.

      Wasn't someone just talking about hypocrites the other day?

    3. Excuse me while I throw up. Are the crowd at WUWT really the same species as you and I, dear reader?

      Here's the self-congratulatory article by Anthony: http://archive.is/n45ZR

      It's right underneath the mocking "sticky" - http://archive.is/9The2

      And not too far above his disinformation article with a comment as bad as this "Can we all start jumping for joy after they die ?? then" - http://archive.is/zMSPV

    4. The irony of that is too funny to laugh at when peoples' lives are at risk.

  12. "I should have guessed. Karen did get this from WUWT. (What was that about copying from WUWT - at least I cite my sources!)"

    Make up your mind Sou, previously you said ........

    "Karen, HW doesn't make a habit of linking to denier sites directly. I probably should make that clear in the comment policy."

    1. I realise you're just wanting to maintain your reputation, Karen. However, it you didn't want to appear a complete hypocrite you could have just said where you got the story without any link.

      If you'd wanted to link to the article you could have followed my example in the comment that I reposted for you. Surely that wouldn't have been too hard, even for you.

      If you knew how to follow a link it would have taken you to the archive website. I also put instructions in the comment policy page a little while ago.

    2. Wow Karen, that is a profoundly stupid comment. Do you understand anything you read?

  13. Over at AndThenTheresPhysics, Tom Curtis made an informative comment.

    January 1, 2014 at 10:13 am

    non – Skeptical clearly doesn’t care much about the facts of the case. In fact the expedition went south to:

    “1) gain new insights into the circulation of the Southern Ocean and its impact on the global carbon cycle

    2) explore changes in ocean circulation caused by the growth of extensive fast ice and its impact on life in Commonwealth Bay

    3) use the subantarctic islands as thermometers of climatic change by using trees, peats and lakes to explore the past

    4) investigate the impact of changing climate on the ecology of the subantarctic islands

    5) discover the environmental influence on seabird populations across the Southern Ocean and in Commonwealth Bay

    6) understand changes in seal populations and their feeding patterns in the Southern Ocean and Commonwealth Bay

    7) produce the first underwater surveys of life in the subantarctic islands and Commonwealth Bay

    8) determine the extent to which human activity and pollution has directly impacted on this remote region of Antarctica

    9) provide baseline data to improve the next generation of atmospheric, oceanic and ice sheet models to improve predictions for the future”

    (My emphasis)

    The reason the ship got stuck, again, is that:

    ” 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.”

    (Again, my emphasis)

    So, having gone to investigate the impacts of “the growth of extensive fast ice” they got caught by some fast ice when it was shifted by strong winds. ...

    1. It is a pity so many people have nothing better to do on New Years Day as spreading the nonsense of WUWT and Co.

      Even if they would have been there to measure decreases in sea ice, which Tom Curtis convincingly argues they were not, a decrease in sea ice does not mean that the sea ice is immediately gone. Quite a logical error, no clear thinking human would make. Sounds a lot like political spin.

      To measure sea ice, you have to go near it. Why are the libertarians this time not praising the entrepreneurial spirit and risk taking as a major force that brings the world progress?

    2. Victor, it's typical form for 'Karen'.

      He can be pointed to the facts multiple times but anything that jars with his ideology is blithely incorporated into the cognitive scotoma that sanitises his world-view.

      The mechanism for the presence of the fast ice in the area was mentioned on Hotwhopper yesterday, and for good measure I also raised it at Deltoid where 'Karen' frequently lurks, and where similar denialist trolls were making out that the presence of fast ice negates the physics of global warming.

      And will 'Karen' back away from his mistaken notion that the stranding of the Akademik Shokalskiy refutes the fact of global warming? Not on your Nelly - he'll continue to point at squirrels, use a few socks, and persist in demonstrating his >1SD below-mean IQ for all to see without the slightest hint of shame or personal dignity.

      It's just the sort of troll that he is.

      Bernard J.

    3. Have I misunderstood something here? I watched the video from the TV station which said that they had a request for information from the US ship the Polar Star. They asked Antony watts and others to help. This information was going to be used by the American authorities if the Australian authorities asked for help. Antony Watts seems to be implying that the request for help came directly from someone on the stranded ship.

    4. See my latest article. I've based the info on the television segment. I don't know if Anthony got the story wrong from John Coleman or if he's just doing his usual spin thing. If he got told it wrong that's one thing. If not - that's a whole different kettle of fish.

      Click here for the story as I understand it.

    5. Yes have seen the new post. Maybe he did get it wrong. It is interesting that no one on WUWT has queried it !

    6. It's possible given his hearing problems I suppose.

      However it was Anthony himself who posted the link to the television segment, so he has no excuse for his wrong information. I would expect he has the means to listen to the segment.

      Is it publicity seeking spin? Or is it rank incompetence? Which would Anthony rather be known for, I wonder.

  14. In this comment they include two images of the ice in the area where the ship is stranded.


    The images may come from this website:




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