The gift that just keeps on giving.
Bishop Hill writes:
I did wonder if applying the “Ship of Fools” tag to Chris Turney and his shipmates wasn’t just a bit rude, but take a look at this video (below), recorded before his departure, in which he talks about the trip. You have to say that Turney does not come over well. And to spend most of the interview discussing the life and death nature of the expedition and the hardships they will face, before revealing that he is taking his wife and family along, is almost too much.
You can see how the trip might end in a shambles.
There is a transcript also. Click image for video and transcript.
Who Is Behind The Ship Of Fools? The Spectator, 4 January 2014
Ross Clark, The Spectator
As Chris Turney and his colleagues make their way home from their failed adventure, the next question is: who is going to be paying for their folly? It certainly isn’t the general public. The efforts by Turney and his co-leader Chris Fogwill to crowd-fund money have been an embarrassing failure. They were seeking to raise $49,000 in this way – a small fraction of the $1.5 million overall costs – but they managed to raise a mere $1,000 from 22 people.
Not even the promise of a signed copy of Turney’s book, 1912: the year the World Discovered Antarctica was enough to tempt donors into action: not a single one chose to receive the book.
British taxpayers, needless to say, have dipped in their toes. One of the sponsors is the University of Exeter, Professor Turney’s previous employer. The university is fast on its way to taking over from the University of East Anglia as the global warming lobby’s chief mouthpiece. Universities claim to have fallen on hard times but there seems to be no lack of money when it comes to broadcasting the global warming lobby’s case: Exeter has just launched a ‘massive open online course’ on climate change which the public are all invited to sign up – all for free. I don’t think I would be pleased about that if I was paying £9,000-a-year tuition fees for one of Exeter’s other course.
Another question that needs to be asked about Turney’s expedition is how come the only journalists aboard are from the Guardian, which has sent two reporters, the BBC and Radio New Zealand – all eager mouthpieces of the global warming lobby. I would be fascinated to know if anyone else was invited.
The timing of the publication of a paper by Turney’s current employer, the University of New South Wales, is also fascinating. That appeared in Nature on 1 January, claiming that current climate models under-estimate the level of warming, which could reach 4C by 2100.
As I noted here on Thursday, as the world fails to warm, the greater faith seems to be put into faulty climate models which so far have proved wrong in many respects – among them predicting ever hotter and drier summers for the UK, the exact opposite of the trend of the past decade. As a sign of just how far the climate debate has veered away from genuine science into ideological nonsense, have a look at this quote:
‘In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.’
Any ideas where it comes from? The IPCC report of 2001, when that body still recognised that predictions of the sort made by Turney’s colleagues are fantasy.
WUWT Reader LeAnn (Quin Tessential) writes to us suggesting that things aren’t as they seem to be:
According to all I’ve read, researched, recorded, and documented… I’m beginning to think that there is NO WAY that the Akademik Shokalskiy got anywhere near the open polyna at Mertz glacier. That (could) mean that Chris Turney reported that the ship was somewhere that it never really arrived at.
DATA ON CAPE DE LA MOTT:
Country USA Latitude 67° 00′ 00.0″ S -67.000 Longitude 144° 25′ 00.0″ E 144.417
A prominent cape separating Watt and Buchanan Bays. Just southward the continental ice surface rises 520 m at Mount Hunt. Charted by the AAE (1911-14) under Douglas Mawson, who named it for C.P. de la Motte, third officer on the expedition ship this cape is “Point Case,” which the USEE (1838-42) under Lt. Charles Wilkes saw from what was called “Disappointment Bay” on Jan. 23, 1840.
A prominent cape west of the Mertz Glacier on the coast of George V Land. Discovered by AAE (1911-14) under Sir Douglas Mawson, who named it after C P de la Motte, a member of the expedition.
Also from the Sargasso.blogspot.com website-
“The 620 dwt research vessel Akademik Shokalskiy became trapped in ice off the coast of Antarctica near Stillwell Island. The Akademik Shokalskiy had been at anchor 40 miles off Mawson’s Hut on Cape Denison, Antarctica with 74 people when it departed for the Mertz glacier. The vessel became stuck in heavy ice floes as it approached Cape de la Motte.”
Based on the maps of the Antarctic coastline provided by the Sargasso website AND the interactive google maps on both the guardian.com on Alok Jha’s posts about the expedition AND the one on www.spiritofmawson.com-the expedition NEVER went further down the coastline than Cape de la Motte.
So when Chris Turney says that they made it into “the open water polynya” on the Mertz glacier, he’s either completely mistaken about where his group actually made shore, or he’s lying.
According to the blog entries on the www.spiritofmawson.com, AND a livefeed interview with Chris Turney himself on December 22-there was a blizzard coming in and the ice was closing around them.
See Chris Turney himself-
The above YouTube video titled “Farewell to Mawson’s Base (Cape Denison) which was streamed live on Dec 22,2013. It’s an interview with Chris Turney standing on board the ship in howling wind, sub degree weather, yelling into his mic, and you actually SEE the zodiac zip past behind him on the open ice behind him.
At 1:58 in the video he says:
“We knew this bad weather was coming in”. He goes on “We’re basically here at the base of Mertz Glacier, and we’re basically being hammered by a blizzard.”
You can also see the zodiac running back and forth behind him and people walking on the ice near the ship.
According to the blog entry made by Peter and Judy Stevenson, on December 22, 2013- We know this:
“The journey today is to move east around the large B9B iceberg. This will take all day and into tomorrow, hopefully placing us at the shore edge of the Mertz glacier and Stillwell Island area, and providing the opportunity to step onto the Antarctic continent.”
Now. …IF the ship had to travel EAST, “around” the B09B iceberg towards the Mertz Glacier, then that means that it previously been anchored somewhere to the WEST of the iceberg that blocks the entrance to Commonwealth Bay. And that trip was supposed to take “all day and into tomorrow” which would make their arrival at the Mertz glacier on December 23rd.
In the video,Chris said they were at the base of the Mertz glacier on the 22nd. The passengers say ON the 22nd that they are more than a day away from it.
Chris’s twitter feed shows this entry on the 21st-
Off to Mertz Glacier.-2degC, -11degC wind ch
Hours later on his twitter feed, he shows a video from Alok Jha showing them passing ICEBERGS between the shoreline and the ship-since the ice and land are on the ships starboard side, it indicates the ship was headed in the direction of the Mertz glacier, away from Commonwealth Bay.
On the 22nd-twitter feed-
Blizzard. -4degC, -15degC wind chill.
There are NO twitter entries for December 23, and only ONE on the 24th. Why would a scientist on a historical expedition who had done nothing but tweet and blog and record videos suddenly STOP communicating at ALL for two days?
And we know from both maps that the ship didn’t make it past Cape de la Motte-which it would have to to reach the “open water polyna” on Mertz Glacier.
Yet Chris Turney said this on Dec 26th in a blog post on www.spiritofmawson.com-
“Following our successful visit to Cape Denison, sea ice remained clear, allowing our science expedition to proceed to the Mertz Glacier and open water polynya on the other side of Commonwealth Bay. Good conditions allowed the team to reach the Hodgeman Islets to continue our science programme and make comparisons to our findings around Mawson’s Hut. We managed to collect a range of samples for three of the science teams on these rarely visited islands; a fantastic result. The distance from the land to the sea ice edge is only 5 kilometres, providing an excellent test of the impact of the large sea ice extent around Cape Denison.
Supported by volunteers on board, our teams investigated marine mammals, ornithology, glaciology while oceanographic work continued on board. Kerry-Jayne Wilson of the Blue Penguin Trust found the penguin colony on the Hodgeman Islets is thriving, demonstrating the distance the Mawson Hut Adelie penguins have to travel is a major factor in the fall of numbers. Tracey Rogers of UNSW also obtained the largest number of seal blubber samples on the expedition while Eleanor Rainsley collected geological samples that will provide an invaluable insight into the history of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet. Returning to the Shokalskiy, conditions started to close in and we quickly loaded the vehicles on to the vessel.”
And then in the Guardian article where he tries to justify the trip, he said this:
“Unfortunately, events unfolded which no amount of preparation can mitigate. To provide a comparison with the samples we collected in the Mawson Hut area, we relocated the vessel to the Mertz Glacier area in the east, a major driver of ocean circulation and importantly an area where the continent is closer to the sea ice edge. Late on 23 December, we returned to the Shokalskiy. We had completed our work programme on the continent and were heading north into open water to continue the oceanographic work on the return home.
Unluckily for us, there appears to have been a mass breakout of thick, multiyear sea ice on the other side of the Mertz Glacier; years after the loss of the Mertz Glacier tongue. There was nothing to suggest this event was imminent”
More damning evidence? In the numbered Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 videos on youtube, you will see Parts 13 and 14 showing the trip to Mawson’s huts, and Part 15 shows the first mayday call from the ship. Where is the day or TWO days that is supposed to be between the Mawson trips and being stuck in the ice? Where’s video footage showing the groups on shore collecting samples? Or any photographs from them? Or even ONE of the Mertz Glacier they are supposedly so close to? Was Turney actually in Watts Bay (oh the irony) or Buchannan Bay when he thought he was near the glacier?
Something’s wrong here.
For the record, the lack of any publicly available and accurate log (the Live EXPEDITION Tracker on spiritofmawson.com is woefully incomplete) makes interpreting the expedition times and dates a murky proposition at best, and leaves interested parties to interpret other available evidence, such as blog posts, Twitter entries, and other anecdotal records. In that process, along with time zones, and the way certain web pages might log times differently, confusion is likely to set in. In the above third piece by LeAnn, there are some claims that can’t be substantiated either way and speculation abounds. That said, there are some things in LeAnn’s post that are probably a result of that sort of confusion due to lack of a good timeline. From my view Turney’s expedition most likely made it to Mertz glacier, but they did a poor job of documenting it. Social media really shouldn’t be the way to log a scientific expedition.
While LeAnn’s entry raises some questions that are worth seeking answers to, I would caution readers not to speculate until such time those things can be nailed down, and wait until an official expedition log is posted, so that anecdotal information can be reconciled with the official expedition log. Given the intense interest of this expedition, and the fact that it was publicly funded, I think it is incumbent on the spiritofmawson.com website to post a valid trip log so these questions about who/what/when/where can be reconciled. I look forward to this happening.
Never attribute malice to what can be explained by simple incompetence.
UPDATE2: Other editorial cartoons are following Josh’s lead: