Buy

Books
Click images for more details

Support

 

Twitter
Recent comments
Recent posts
Currently discussing
Links

A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

Powered by Squarespace
« New Year's Eve Warmists' Party - Josh 254 | Main | Slingong »
Tuesday
Dec312013

Winter jolly

The saga of the stricken Antarctic expedition continues to fascinate and intrigue. The news overnight is that all the passengers are to be evacuated by helicopter, leaving only the crew on board.

Meanwhile, Richard Tol has been noting the backgrounds of some of the researchers on board:

Ben Fisk

Ben is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Rural Emergency Medicine, Deakin University, researching rural and urban differences in traumatic brain injury outcomes.

James MacDiarmid

James trained as a Primary school teacher, with a Masters degree in Educational Leadership. He is currently completing his doctorate in educational sciences with a primary focus on the early years of both pre-school and primary students.

And so on. To be fair, there are some genuine climate scientists on board too, but with many of their fellow travellers clearly occupying the "free holiday" category the impression you get is of a carbon guzzling boondoggle rather than a research trip.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (251)

We are all keeping busy, with twice daily briefings outlining all the information we have to hand, alongside classes through the day (knot tying, languages, yoga, photography and many others) while the science programme has continued as best we can."

See the accumulated video diaries here on their youtube channel

The poles are *serious* places and I can't help thinking they're taking it all rather erm... lightly. Their expedition leaders put them in this situation and now they're IMHO rather cavalier in expecting everybody to drop everything to extricate them from their self inflicted predicament - while they witter endlessly about Climate Change being responsible for everything.

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:35 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Never mind the PhD students, the really easy meat is the Events and Branding Marketing Manager for Google Australia and New Zealand among the science leaders!

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

In the link Your Grace gave, nearly all the PhD students on the ship were either studying the climate or studying some aspect of ecology which could also throw light on the subject of climate change. It is certainly amusing that an expedition to retrace Mawson's steps and investigate climate change should run into difficulties caused by much more ice than Mawson encountered, when most of the people on board would be expecting to find evidence of warming. However, I don't think we should criticise the aims of the expedition. On the contrary we should encourage such investigations, provided that the data gathering is done in a competent manner and the data are made freely available afterwards.

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Looks more like a children's outing than an adult research exercise.

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

Roy

It is customary that marine research projects these days are set up months and in some cases years before the vessel actually sails. This regularly entails a web site detailing the research subject, it's aims and methods. I've had a cursory trip around the personnel crew list and cannot identify much research of any substance (Well, actually - not one project web site that resembles the "standard" offshore research fare)

This would appear to be a self indulgent rubber necking / PR trip contrived by a crowd of folk (using public subsidy) with clearly partisan objectives in the area of "climate policy".

I hope their (Aussie Gubmint subsidised?) booze runs out ASAP. The funding of this trip bears some investigation as the ghastly Tim Flannery is apparently involved in one on the companies behind it - and it was obviously put together before the change of government downunder - back when the Aussie Labour Party and their green clingons believed they could walk on water....

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:48 AM | Registered Commentertomo

A reminder that the original Mawson expedition was no jolly:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/125-mawson-trek/roberts-text

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

I've had enough of pictures of cake eating guardian journos.

Those helicopter pilots will risk their lives (THE PILOTS') several times. And it's all because of 6 miles. Can't they walk? I presume they don't even have the equipment to do that, let alone the wills and skills.

Won't be surprised to learn they expected no ice at all, maybe some skin swimming instead.

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:52 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

As far as I can make out, there were places available for tourists who wanted to pay their way.

I agree with Roy that the expedition could be worthwhile, and reporting observations fairly and as accurately as possible, whether they tend to support a particular theory or not, can only add to the sum of knowledge.

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterkellydown

Over the next few weeks of rescue; I wonder who will be busiest on board - and who will master Quoits.
Ben looks like he is in a patient-rich environment already.
Matt's work on urban micro-climates should keep him busy later.

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

Actually it is the bastardization of climate science in schools which is the greatest danger. The majority of posters on this blog have some previous background knowledge from a distant less melodramatic era in climate science. This now contrary view gets little sway in the current teaching and examining of climatic or environmental geography where the CAGW rhetoric has been swallowed whole. Be careful at dismissing this as a jolly, these guys teach your kids and grand-kids, and also become heads and MPs!

Dec 31, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterTrefor Jones

I expect a lot of the studenty types aboard were hoping to go home and say they'd taken part in climate research in the Antarctic and therefore would be able to claim they were climate scientists and climate experts.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:00 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@Roy
Have a look at the list. There are people with an interest in Iceland, the North Island, the tropics, time series analysis ... Even the leopard seal dietician will not learn much because so little time was scheduled for scooping poo.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

There are 50 tourists on board, including some old ladies filmed playing scrabble. If they seriously wanted to do science they’d have been ready to improvise, change their plans, take risks. You don’t do that with a crowd of pensioners on board.
It’s going to take 5 helicopter round trips from one ice landing strip to another, plus three ship-to-ship barge trips to get the tourists to the relative safety of the Australian icebreaker, from which they’ll be taken to an Antarctic base. According to passengers quoted by a commenter at the Guardian, the ship’s escape from the fast forming ice was delayed by the faffing around of the scientists. If that included some eco-minded primary school teachers having a free ride at the expense of British and Australian taxpayers, then questions will be asked.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:08 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

I agree with Roy that the expedition could be worthwhile, and reporting observations fairly and as accurately as possible, whether they tend to support a particular theory or not, can only add to the sum of knowledge.

I would think it would be great if this were true, but as we have already seen the excuse for this extra thick ice has already been given,

'Cos it melted elsewhere and was blown towards them'.

They have closed minds and even the embarrassment of being iced in has not altered their thinking one second of a degree, like the 17 year levelling in temps its just its just brushed off with distorted musings presented as fact 'Its in the deep oceans'

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:13 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Richard Tol:

Never mind the list of PhDs, what about Leticia Lentini's spot in the actual Science Team?

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:17 AM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

What is apparently one of the primary promo videos is worth a look....

The numbers of scientists vs. adventurous pensioners keeps swerving around.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Registered Commentertomo

more from the science team on board:
“Leticia Lentini is the Events and Branding Marketing Manager for Google Australia and New Zealand. She’s been with Google since 2005, and has held a variety of roles in the marketing team as well as managing the day to day operations of the Australian office. In her current role she leads Google projects across Asia Pacific ranging from Doodle 4 Google to the YouTube Symphony Orchestra... her cooking channel has nearly 50,000 followers on Google+

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Registered Commentergeoffchambers

anonym,

Hands off Leticia. Do you want a Streetmap of Antarctica or not?

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

The BBC is reporting that the chinese icebreaker may be stuck. What a jolly caper this is turning into.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:25 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Roy et al - let's get real. This project was headed up by one of the co-authors of the infamous Gergis paper, which has now been removed from the official record because it was utterly discredited. It falsely claimed to be "privately funded" - right, if you include publicly funded bodies like universities, government departments and the ABC/BBC in your definition. It was sold as a mission to prove the awful effects of human caused climate change.

Suddenly, the narrative has changed, and it was just a tourist trip that went wrong.

Give me strength.

And add to Richard Tol's list, the Marxist historian who planned to launch his book on or near landfall called Ben.

""Ben is an academic historian, currently employed at the University of Wollongong in Australia. His love of history began at high school in Sydney, and led to an MA in Social and Industrial history (1987), and a PhD in Australian history. His teaching profile includes polar history, with an emphasis on the contribution of working class people to Antarctic and Arctic history. An active researcher, he is published extensively in Australian and international historical journals. There will be a pre-publication launch of his forthcoming book Class and Colonialism in Antarctic exploration 1750-1920 (Pickering and Chatto, 2014) somewhere in the vicinity of Commonwealth Bay."
http://www.spiritofmawson.com/aae-science-leaders/"

Ben is employed at the University of Wollongong, which does some good science but also produces Marxist historians like widgets.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:27 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

This is a great story:-) On Energy Matters I have one of my occasional CC posts on when the next ice age may begin..

The Ice Man Cometh

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Registered CommenterEuan Mearns

They've certainly having the books thrown at them by Murphy and the gods, with every possible rescue attempt disappearing just as within grasp.

Still no indication anybody on board or among their cheering crowd has any understanding of how dangerous their situation truly is. It's as if the Italian Job's final-scene bus were populated by a still-celebrating crowd.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:35 AM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Richard Tol on twitter also points out a financial interest of expedition leader Turney.
He has set up a carbon capture company
http://www.spiritofmawson.com/aae-leaders/

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Yep, omnologos, it reminds me of the great Fellini film "And the Ship Sails On."

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

There is no truth to the rumour they were using the Piri Reis map of Antarctica showing no ice.

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterhandjive

kellydown on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:52 AM

"I agree with Roy that the expedition could be worthwhile, and reporting observations fairly and as accurately as possible, whether they tend to support a particular theory or not, can only add to the sum of knowledge."

Aren't you (and Roy) being a little too trusting?

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:45 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

johanna @10:27 I have to +1 that

From the BBC report Philip linked it looks like a cascading failure might be in the offing. Although exactly why the helicopter couldn't be used from Snow Dragon if she's stuck in ice is puzzling.

I'm waiting for the Polar Star to appear in the distance blaring Anchors Aweigh! from her anti-pirate PA system

Dec 31, 2013 at 10:46 AM | Registered Commentertomo

One of the three main aims of the trip is, "to complete the program in a safe and environmentally responsible manner."

If the vessel sinks or is damaged and an insurance claim is made, what will underwriters make of the fact that since 2010 it has not been possible to access Mawsons Huts by sea? -

"In mid February 2010 a massive iceberg collided with the floating tongue of the Mertz Glacier, just west of Mawson’s Huts. The collision precipitated the calving of another massive iceberg called C28, measuring 78km long and 35 km wide. C28 is now grounded at the entrance to Commonwealth Bay. It provides both an obstacle to accessing Commonwealth Bay and a great opportunity for scientific study.

"Since 2010 it has not been possible to access Mawsons Huts by sea so there is some chance that we will also be stopped from accessing the huts.

"However we do have remote controlled drones and over-ice vehicles onboard our vessel to improve our chances of access.

"It is important that you aware that this is not a regular tourist voyage to Mawsons Huts. The heavy ice around these massive stranded icebergs does create a significant obstacle to our access to the huts. There is a real chance that we will not be able to get to the huts.

"We will not know the outcome until we are in position in Commonwealth Bay.

"If you need to be sure you will get to the huts then this is probably not the voyage for you. In other words the outcome is highly uncertain………"

http://expeditionsonline.com/tour-44/spirit-of-mawson-akademik-shokalskiy

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered Commenter52

... his forthcoming book Class and Colonialism in Antarctic exploration 1750-1920
Please tell me I'm dreaming!

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:04 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Although exactly why the helicopter couldn't be used from Snow Dragon if she's stuck in ice is puzzling.

The SD helicopter weights 6 Tonnes, the ice may not take the weight and its also too large to land on the Aussie Ice Breaker so can only ferry to the SD.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:07 AM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

Roy,

"However, I don't think we should criticise the aims of the expedition."

There are two Guardian reporters on board. And a BBC reporter. I think that gives us a reasonably clear idea of the aims of the expedition. The "Science Team" includes a teacher who "will be coordinating the development of educational materials for schools." And a historian plugging his book "Class and Colonialism in Antarctic exploration 1750-1920". And lets not forget the marketing woman from Google. The whole things seems like a huge PR stunt to me. This isn't how science is normally done, is it?

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames Evans

The Australian team is funded for their research. The tab is $1.5 million. In addition, there are passengers who have volunteered to double up as research assistants. Then there are the PhD candidates.

The volunteer assistants, who can be classified as tourists, are paying out of their pockets. A trip on the Akademik Shokalskiy costs around $18,000.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Registered Commentershub

11:04 AM Mike Jackson

I earnestly hope that the Polar Star does its thing and Ben Madison is rescued to the strains of Charles Zimmerman's march = delicious - he'll wish he was dreaming :-)

£60 quids for that book btw...

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Registered Commentertomo

I'm steeling myself for the nauseating sequels - "how brave we were and how awful it was, what with only having Twitter, FB and the internet to rely on while we were warm and dry."

On the upside, it rates with the Greenpeace debacle as possibly the worst disaster of the year.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:19 AM | Registered Commenterjohanna

@Paul Matthews - Dec 31, 2013 at 10:37 AM

" ......expedition leader Turney ...has set up a carbon capture company"

Interestingly, JoNova commenter redress December 31, 2013 at 8:51 am · discovered Prof Turney decided to 'hide/disguise' his direct involvement by having family, rather than himself, as named shareholders:-

The Carbonscape Holdings share registry. There is a total of 29,553,564 shares on record for this company.

Catherine Ann TURNEY, Ian Stewart TURNEY, LATIMER TRUSTEES 2006 LIMITED 4,730,880 shares ~ 16.01%
Christian Stewart Macgregor TURNEY 382,400 shares ~ 1.29%
James TURNEY 290,581 shares ~ 0.98%

Tim FLANNERY 159,733 shares ~ 0.54%

Directors/ Officers

Nicholas Harold GERRITSEN, director, 10 Dec 2006-
Timothy John LANGLEY, director, 22 Jul 2007-
inactive Benjamin Pak-ping CHEN, director, 28 Nov 2011-
inactive Michael Robert ASHBURN, director, 10 May 2012-
inactive Raf MANJI, director, 28 Oct 2012-
Christian Stewart Macgregor TURNEY, director, 28 Oct 2012-

Company Type: NZ Limited Company
Jurisdiction: New Zealand

http://joannenova.com.au/2013/12/antarctic-ice-swallows-boat-media-spin/

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

tomo

£60 quids for that book btw...
I'll wait for the Readers Digest condensed version.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:32 AM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

@Joe
Chris Turney's full name is Christian Stewart MacGregor Turney.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Reading their blogs there doesn't seem to be a lot of science going on:-

Released buoys (probably Argo buoys but name conflicts with their ATVs)

Took water/plankton samples

A bit of bird watching followed by a bit of berg watching.

No shortage of penguins.

Turney family (4) all there

Seal biopsies to work out what they eat.

Ice coring - actually Erik seems to have been busy but I very much doubt his work justifies the entire jamboree and potentially all his ice cores could be lost/difficult to recover.

listening to seals + whales

Testing the salinity of sea water under up to 3m of ice.

Some under water filming

At one point they walk about on unsafe ice.

Count of nesting penguins. Lots of babies dying because there is too much ice.

Nostalgic trips to Mawson’s hut

Christmas + presents

How much did the BBC spend on what seems to be a handful of programmes on BBC World service? Andrew Luck-Baker is a senior producer at the BBC Radio Science Unit in London. So not the cheapest person they could have sent, assuming they couldn't have paid someone already going to report for them.

All in all it looks like a very well catered holiday with the slimest pretension to be a scientific mission. Except the release of buoys, much of the science may be completely wasted and depending what happens to the ship, their kit and possessions might also go astray.

They'll have to plant a lot more kauri trees to offset the wasted CO2.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

erratum:
If / when Polar Star turns up she could/should be blaring Semper Paratus and not Anchors Aweigh! which frankly is a bit of a disappointment.

This is a farce which has many of the ingredients of a tragedy.

USCG have had command problems with their ice breaker fleet - last year they had to hoick a retired captain from his golf in Florida or something similar because the idjits on the Healey couldn't drive in ice....

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:48 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Still no indication anybody on board or among their cheering crowd has any understanding of how dangerous their situation truly is.
Dec 31, 2013 at 10:35 AM omnologos

Yes, from where I am, it looks as if they are in very real danger.

Let's hope they will be rescued very soon - I can't believe anyone would want the foolishness of these misguided souls to result in their perishing.

If they were to perish, the Climate Change Religion would immediately gain a set of martyrs.

Dec 31, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Registered CommenterMartin A

No Martin, if anything happens to them it'll be the end of CAGW.

Oftentimes in the past we've been through situations that were desperate but not serious. This instead is serious, even if not yet desperate.

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:02 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

@ Richard Tol at 11:39 AM

Mea culpa regarding Christian Stewart MacGregor Turney.

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Johanna, where did you find the Ben Maddison is a Marxist?

"Ben is employed at the University of Wollongong, which does some good science but also produces Marxist historians like widgets." Do they enter the uni as non-Marxists and exit as Marxists, or does the uni attract those that fit the label? And do they self-identify as Marxists or is that your label? And what would be wrong with that anyway?

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterChandra

I mentioned on WUWT that the whole episode reminded me of "The Ascent of Rum Doodle".

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

@Dec 31, 2013 at 10:27 AM | johanna
It falsely claimed to be "privately funded" - right, if you include publicly funded bodies like universities, government departments and the ABC/BBC in your definition. It was sold as a mission to prove the awful effects of human caused climate change.
====================================================================================
Addendum - the continued existence of the Guardian as a printed newspaper relies on public funding in the form of public sector ads. Without them, no Guardian. To all intents and purposes, the Guardian is also publicly funded. Eric Pickles said he was going to put an end to this, as all the ads are online anyway - and has done nothing about it. I wrote to him to ask why he had broken this promise, and got no reply. And politicians don;t understand the contempt we hold them in.

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

Mike Jackson - the book's synopsis for you..."well-born posh baddies plotted to use the honest and hardworking poor and indigenous to grab a slice of frozen wasteland for nefarious world-conquering purposes".

Please send the £60 to the usual address.

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:18 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

Roy,

"However, I don't think we should criticise the aims of the expedition."

There are two Guardian reporters on board. And a BBC reporter. I think that gives us a reasonably clear idea of the aims of the expedition.
@Dec 31, 2013 at 11:08 AM | James Evans
=========================================================================
The aim of the expedition being to confirm the conclusions already reached.

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Poynton

I hope they're reduced to the culinary heights of diesel barbecued penguin and "engine room vodka" before they get out. ( no veggies left)

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:25 PM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo - please stop - this is not a joke. Let's refrain from being nasty about people that are in danger of dying right now (even if they aren't aware of it).

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:33 PM | Registered Commenteromnologos

While not wishing any harm on the crew or it's passengers, if a Guardian journalist gets chewed on by a Leopard seal I will be hard pressed not to titter.

Dec 31, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSwiss Bob

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>