Risking lives to promote climate change hype

Yet another global warming expedition gets trapped in icebound ideology

Guest opinion by Paul Driessen

Will global warming alarmists ever set aside their hypotheses, hyperbole, models and ideologies long enough to acknowledge what is actually happening in the real world outside their windows? Will they at least do so before setting off on another misguided adventure? Before persuading like-minded or naïve people to join them? Before forcing others to risk life and limb to transport – and rescue – them? If history is any guide, the answer is: Not likely.

The absurd misadventures of University of New South Wales climate professor Chris Turney is but the latest example. He and 51 co-believers set out on the (diesel-powered) Russian charter ship Akademik Shokalskiy to prove manmade global warming is destroying the East Antarctic ice sheet. Perhaps they’d been reading Dr. Turney’s website, which claims “an increasing body of evidence” shows “melting and collapse” across the area. (It is, after all, summer in Antarctica, albeit a rather cold, icy one thus far.)

Instead of finding open water, they wound up trapped in record volumes of unforgiving ice, from Christmas Eve until January 2 – ensnared by Mother Nature’s sense of humor and their own hubris. The 52 climate tourists were finally rescued by a helicopter sent from Chinese icebreaker Xue Long, which itself became locked in the ice. The misadventurers were transferred to Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, but the Shokalskiy remains entombed, awaiting the arrival of US Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star. (Meanwhile, Tourney hopes to get more grants to study manmade global warming, to help him make more money from his Carbonscape company, which makes “green” products from CO2 recovered from the atmosphere.)

As to his expertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.

NASA reports that Antarctic sea ice is now the largest expanse since scientists began measuring its extent in 1979: 19.5 million square kilometers (4,806,000,000 acres) – 2.1 times the size of the entire United States. Another report says ocean melting of western Antarctica’s huge Pine Island Glacier ice shelf is at the lowest level ever recorded, and less than half of what it was in 2010. Reminding us of Monty Python’s pet store clerk, Turney nonetheless insists that the sea ice is actually melting, and his communications director says the record sea ice is due to … global warming! (As they say, fiction has to make sense.)

Equally amazing, the Shokalskiy was apparently not equipped with adequate wind and weather monitoring and forecasting capabilities. The expedition had to contact climate realists John Coleman, Anthony Watts and Joe D’Aleo for information that would allow them to plan their helicopter rescue.

All of this raises serious questions that most media have ignored. How could Turney put so many lives and vessels at risk – people he persuaded to join this expedition, the ship and crew they hired, the ships and helicopter and crews that came to their rescue? How did he talk the Russian captain into sailing into these dangerous waters? Who will pay for the rescue ships and their fuel and crews? What if one of the ships sinks – or someone dies? What is Tourney’s personal liability?

This may be the most glaring example of climate foolishness. But it is hardly the first.

In 2007, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen set off across the Arctic in the dead of winter, “to raise awareness about global warming,” by showcasing the wide expanses of open water they were certain they would encounter. Instead, temperatures inside their tent plummeted to -58 F (-50 C), while outside the nighttime air plunged to -103 F (-75 C). Facing frostbite, amputated fingers and toes or even death, the two were airlifted out a bare 18 miles into their 530-mile expedition.

The next winter it was British swimmer and ecologist Lewis Gordon Pugh, who planned to breast-stroke across open Arctic seas. Same story. Then fellow Brit Pen Hadow tried, and failed. In 2010 Aussie Tom Smitheringale set off to demonstrate “the effect that global warming is having on the polar ice caps.” He was rescued and flown out, after coming “very close to the grave,” he confessed.

Hopefully, all these rescue helicopters were solar-powered. Hardcore climate disaster adventurers should not be relegated to choppers fueled by evil fossil fuels. They may be guilty of believing their own alarmist press releases – but losing digits or ideological purity is a high price to pay.

All these intrepid explorers tried to put the best spin on their failures. “One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability,” Bancroft-Arnesen expedition coordinator Anne Atwood insisted. “But global warming is real, and with it can come extreme unpredictable changes in temperature,” added Arnesen. “Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That’s what we’re talking about,” Greenpeace activist Stephen Guilbeault chimed in.

It’s been said insanity is hitting your thumb repeatedly with a hammer, expecting it won’t hurt the next time. It’s also believing hype, models and delusions, instead of real world observations. Or thinking taxpayers are happy to pay for all the junk science behind claims that the world faces dangerous manmade global warming. Or that they are delighted that the EPA and IPCC are increasingly regulating our lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans, in the name of preventing climate change.

The fact is, Antarctic ice shelves have broken up many times over the millennia. Arctic ice has rebounded since its latest low ebb around September 2007. Despite steadily rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, average global temperatures have been stable or declining since 1997. Seas are rising at barely seven inches per century. And periods of warmer or colder global and polar climates are nothing new.

Vikings built homes, grew crops and raised cattle in Greenland between 950 and 1300, before they were frozen out by the Little Ice Age and encroaching pack ice and glaciers. Many warm periods followed, marked by open seas and minimal southward extent of Arctic sea ice, as noted in ships’ logs and discussed in scientific papers by Torgny Vinje and other experts. But warm periods of 1690-1710, 1750-1780 and 1918-1940, for instance, were often preceded and followed by colder temperatures, severe ice conditions and maximum southward ice packs, as during 1630-1660 and 1790-1830.

“Not only in the summer, but in the winter the ocean [in the Bering Sea region] was free of ice, sometimes with a wide strip of water up to at least 200 miles away from the shore,” Swedish explorer Oscar Nordkvist reported in 1822, in a document rediscovered by astrophysicist Willie Soon.

“We were astonished by the total absence of ice in the Barrow Strait,” Francis McClintock, captain of the Fox, wrote in 1860. “I was here at this time in 1854 – still frozen up – and doubts were entertained as to the possibility of escape.”

In 1903, during the first year of his three-year crossing of the Northwest Passage, Roald Amundsen noted that his party “had made headway with ease,” because ice conditions had been “unusually favorable.”

The 1918-1940 warming also resulted in Atlantic cod increasing in population and expanding their range some 800 miles, to the Upernavik area of Greenland, fisheries biologist Ken Drinkwater has reported.

Climate change is certainly real. It’s been real throughout Earth and human history – including the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, Little Ice Age and Dust Bowl, and through countless other cycles of warming and cooling, flood and drought, storm and calm, open polar seas and impassable ice.

Humans clearly influence weather and climate on a local scale – through heat and emissions from cities and cars, our clearing of forests and grasslands, our diversion of rivers. But that is not the issue. Nor is it enough to say – as President Obama has – that the climate is changing and mankind is contributing to it.

The fundamental issue is this: Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented, global climate change disasters? And can we prevent those alleged disasters, by drastically curtailing hydrocarbon use, slashing living standards, and imposing government control over industries and people’s lives? If you look at actual evidence – instead of computer model forecasts and “scenarios” – the answer is clearly: No.

______________

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

Note: this post was updated on 1/10/14 7:30AM to fix a units error related to sea ice square kilometers as square MILES.

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88 thoughts on “Risking lives to promote climate change hype

  1. “One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability,” Bancroft-Arnesen expedition coordinator Anne Atwood insisted. “But global warming is real, and with it can come extreme unpredictable changes in temperature,” added Arnesen. “Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That’s what we’re talking about,” Greenpeace activist Stephen Guilbeault chimed in.
    —-l
    They sound insane.

  2. “As to his expertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.”

    Best point ever.

  3. Paul Driessen wrote “They may be guilty of believing their own alarmist press releases – but losing digits or ideological purity is a high price to pay.”

    Did you intend “…losing digits FOR ideological purity”??

  4. Paul,
    Excellent post. Thanks for contributing!

    As you assert The fundamental issue is this: Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented, global climate change disasters? And can we prevent those alleged disasters….? If you look at actual evidence – instead of computer model forecasts and “scenarios” – the answer is clearly: No.

    Most of the folks that frequent WUWT will heartily agree. The question is How do we effectively convey that message convincingly to the policy makers, at all levels of government? Are there lessons learned at CFACT that we might benefit from?
    MtK

  5. As to his expertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.
    ==========================================================================

    That’s not his job. It was the responsibilty of the Captain of the AS to determine if it was safe to proceed into any area.

  6. Be careful Paul -the current expanse of Antarctic sea ice is down considerably from September, because this is summertime in the South. Thus your statement “Antarctic sea ice is now the largest expanse since scientists began measuring its extent…” is technically not true. But I knew what you meant.

  7. What amuses me is that Turney’s expedition was to follow in the footsteps of that great man Sir Douglas Mawson who was down there for three years, and produced huge volumes of measurements, which Turney was going to replicate in…. get this…in 3 days.

    Not only that Mawson and his Captain, Davis had to navigate by sextant and mechanical time pieces ( necessary to get longitude), and of course had no access to GPS, satellite imagery and radar, and these knuckle heads sailed straight into the ice flows.

    Mawson/Davis btw sailed into Commonwealth Bay and had no difficulties other than running aground on the beach.

    This was a frolic organised by the alarmanistas timed to coincide with Senate debates over carbon taxes being repealed etc and the BOM releasing its highly suspect annual report on how hot it has been down here, and how unprecedented it has been blah blah…. and other mad ravings from the Climate Commission honchoes like Flannery, Karoly and Steffen ..as though the weather in Australia is a proxy for the whole world

    ….. and that we are all going to die for our sins down here in OZ if we don’t save the world by abandoning our profligate ways by continuing to use coal for cheap energy ..our main competitive advantage….but at the same time increasing our export of the same energy source to China, Japan, India and Korea etc…. and thereby losing pretty well all our manufacturing….

    Not very bright are we ..so when dopes like Turney has a frolic that comes to grief, no one is really surprised. Something about piss ups in breweries comes to mind.

  8. Before I forward this article to friends, would someone please fix the “Turney” “Tourney” alternative spelling issue?
    >Turney: “The absurd misadventures of University of New South Wales climate professor Chris Turney is but the latest example.”
    >Tourney: “(Meanwhile, Tourney hopes to get more grants to study manmade global warming, to help him make more money from his Carbonscape company, which makes “green” products from CO2 recovered from the atmosphere.)”
    Thanks.

  9. This is a winter with Balls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J5iPbihuzPc
    Let the climate activists push their scam while hell is freezing over.

    There is no more effective anti dote against the global warming scam than a bunch idiots in the focus of the world press getting choppered out of the ice pack because their ship got stuck in the ice they said was melting at record speeds..

    And it is because that stupidity they will keep on trying.

    A Greenpeace activist just returned from the Russian slammer was asked if she would go back to Russia for further protests. She wisely said no but… she wouldn’t hesitate to go to the Arctic.

    North or South, the Poles obviously have a magic attraction on the Global Warming activists.
    In this regard they must have something in common with the Lemming.
    Well, an activist has to do what an activist has to do, I won’t stop them.

  10. Many thanks for your article Mr Driessen (and thanks to Anthony Watts for publishing it) as it puts together many of the “heroic failures” of those who get taken in by believing the fairy stories produced by climate modellers – the underlying emotion seems to be so strong that even the modellers themselves believe them.

  11. Are humans causing imminent, unprecedented, global climate change disasters?

    Only if you’re on a “climate (cough, cough) expedition” with “Dr.” Turney.

    Then I’d call it a disaster.

  12. J. Philip Peterson says:
    January 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Ann Bancroft ??
    Oh my God! Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. Oh no.
    ____
    Nope- this is Ann Bancroft, instead of the actress, Anne Bancroft, who hasn’t been with us since 2005.

  13. J. Philip Peterson says:
    January 9, 2014 at 10:24 pm
    Ann Bancroft ??
    Oh my God! Oh no, Mrs. Robinson. Oh no.

    A comedy on ice – I wonder how Anne Bancroft’s husband Mel Brooks would have directed it?

  14. Has anyone reported the very beginnings of the Chris Turney “expedition” – once the thought crossed his (or someone’s) mind. Such things involve a lot of planning and execution before the bon voyage part. This was a 100th anniversary trip. Many reasons that once a tourist ship is leased, money spent, people committed and so on – to not cancel just because there is ice on the sea. The other misadventures (mostly in the Arctic) seem to have been organized more like a joy-ride by teens taking the neighbor’s auto just because. In this latest “Ship of Fools” case there were adults involved. Okay, maybe not!

  15. Dr. Turney’s … Carbonscape company, which makes “green” products from CO2 recovered from the atmosphere.
    =====================================================
    We used to call those ‘plant nurseries.’

  16. Meanwhile – Aurora Australis is still delayed 20 miles off Casey 66° South due to wind preventing safe cargo operations, ~36hrs delay now.

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=2627

    See my comments for 12MB MP3 you can download and hear ABC Radio interview with Dr Tony Fleming of the Australian Antarctic Division AAD. Hear him explain his views on The Australasian Antarctic Expedition AAE. Hear Dr Fleming explain how Prof Turney has misrepresented the AAD position.

  17. We should at least be grateful to Turney that he revived for us the old metaphor of the Ship of Fools (German: Narrenschiff). This was a popular theme in the Middle Ages, notably the fifteenth century, occurring in texts, woodcuts, and paintings. The usual interpretation is that the Ship symbolized the Church-State whereas the Fools were ecclesiastical authorities in a clownish outfit. A bit of text analysis may shed light on the making of the modern Ship of Fools.

    In a recent interview with Nature Turney said ‘ This was no pleasure cruise. The science case took two years to develop, and was approved by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service and the Australian Antarctic Division’.

    This could mean that these three organisations funded the science case. A few days later however, Turney said almost the same in another interview but did not use the word ‘approved’ but ‘permitted’ in stead. We would not expect a scientist to say in Nature that he got permission from the Police to enter a certain area. In the latter interview he said. ´Inspired by Mawson’s efforts, we decided to use a funding model that brought the public and science together […]. We offered berths on the expedition vessel, the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, for science volunteers’.

    http://www.nature.com/news/this-was-no-antarctic-pleasure-cruise-1.14466

    http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/faq-australasian-antarctic-expedition-2013-2014

  18. I sent Turneys uni a polite email asking how Turney will be disciplined as an employee of the university for conduct unbecoming as a climate scientist and not surprising, they haven’t replied!

  19. Mawson made two other trips to the Antarctic through the British Australian New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition (BANZARE). The first one 1929 – 30 sailed from South Africa and on to the coast of Antarctic, and claimed for King George: Enderby Land, Kemp Land, MacRobertson Land, and off-lying islands from longitudes between 73° E to 47° E and 65° latitude. He was prevented from reaching shore because of pack ice, but they had an airplane to fly over the territory.

    The next summer they left Hobart and found “ice and weather conditions en route much worse than 1911.” That year he claimed the coast line between 42nd and the 160th degree of east longitude to the pole. He returned to his hut, but had to use the airplane for reconnaissance to find a way through the pack ice.

    Source: Mawson of the Antarctic by Paquita Mawson. A life story of Douglas Mawson told by his wife after his death.

    If professor Turney had studied Mawson, like he said, he should have known that some years there is more ice than others.

  20. Paul;
    Here’s an interesting hypothesis to test: The more CO2 we emit, the more average the weather gets.

  21. A lovely summary of some of the misguided expeditions to ” prove” global warming but I believe you missed out the two canoeists who were going to paddle to the North Pole and predictably got stuck in the ice a short way into their journey and ironically had to be rescued by a wicked oil tanker.

  22. SM says: @ January 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    …That’s not his job. It was the responsibilty of the Captain of the AS to determine if it was safe to proceed into
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    It was Prof Chris(tmas) Turkey’s JOB to see that his flock was herded off the ice and back to the ship on the deadline demanded by the Captain which he did not.

    WORSE he allowed his son onto the ice knowing there was a blizzard forecast for the immediate future.

    I wouldn’t invite this guy on a caving expedition to a commercial cave. He would probably wander off into the off limits areas and get lost.

  23. R de Haan @ 10 57 , Thanks for the lemming video, I could only hope that some of the GAGW lemmings follow suit (OK maybe not, we’ll stop them from doing that before the final leap). Was that not a great “photo shopped” piece of art? or was it called “cutting edge editing” in those days?, “Under great personal peril our courageous” on the spot “live camera men and scientists”.etc etc.
    But then again dropping a few in a swimming pool like they did in the vid might wake a few of them up !

  24. R the Haan @ )9-01-14 around 10.27 re your video
    Thanks. The credentials at around 2.40 t0 2.50 show the word “knowledge”,
    What I noticed was that the letter O had a nice slash through it . Kind of cryptic if you (painfully) sat through the whole video. Was it a “Studio” and now called “Photoshopped” ?? history”?? (I am not knocking you at all btw to me it was another example of the “Gore” syndrome). I am just trying to hear the NYT tomorrow “the lemmings are coming the LEMMINGS are coming! (dr Mann and dr. Holgren included).

  25. You forgot to mention this :

    The Catlin Arctic Fiasco of March 2009

    The idea was that the expedition should take regular radar fixes on the Arctic ice thickness, to be fed into a computer model in California run by Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, whose team, according to the BBC, “is well known for producing results that show much faster ice-loss than other modelling teams.” The professor predicted that summer ice could be completely gone by 2010. But there is little point in measuring ice thickness unless you do it several years running, and Arctic ice is being constantly monitored by US Army buoys. The latest reading given by a typical sensor shows that since March 2008 the ice had thickened by “at least half a metre.”

    The only problem with a project to prove that Arctic ice was fast disappearing was the fact that it was actually getting thicker.

    The expedition to the North Pole was led by the explorer Pen Hadow. With two companions, he was measuring the thickness of the ice to show how fast it was “declining.” His expedition was one of a series of events designed to “raise awareness of the dangers of climate change” before the December 2008 conference in Copenhagen, where the carbon dioxide Taliban hoped to get a new treaty imposing much more drastic cuts on carbon dioxide emissions.

    Hadow’s Catlin Arctic Project has top-level backing from the likes of the BBC, the WWF (it could “make a lasting difference to policy-relevant science”) and Prince Charles, the royal would-be tampon, (“for the sake of our children and grandchildren, I pray that we will heed the results of the Catlin Arctic Survey and I can only commend this remarkably important project”).

    With perfect timing, the setting out from Britain of the “Global Warming Three” was hampered by “an unusually heavy snowfall.” (Sound familiar, anyone?). When they were airlifted to the start of their trek by a twin-engine Otter – one hopes a whole forest has been planted to offset its so-called “carbon footprint” – they were startled to find how cold it was. The BBC dutifully reported how, in temperatures of -40ºC, they were “battered by wind, bitten by frost and bruised by falls on the ice”.

    Thanks to the ice constantly shifting, it was “disheartening,” reported Hadow, to find that “when you’ve slogged for a day,” you can wake up next morning to find you have “drifted back to where you started.” In their last week, down to their last scraps of food, they were 48 hours from being officially classed as starving, and were only saved in the nick of time by the faithful Otter. They were also disconcerted to see one of those polar bears, threatened with extinction by “global warming,” wandering around nearby, doubtless eyeing them for its next meal.

    After two months of frozen misery, much of it un-publicised by the BBC, they had to be rescued because the Arctic weather was too extreme and cold, having acquired scientific data of little, if any, value. But at least these pointless publicity stunts keep the climate hysterics in the media happy – until, that is, they go wrong, after which they mysteriously vanish or transform themselves into something else.

    When the Catlin expedition returned, the BBC treated them as some sort of conquering heroes. From their coverage anyone would have thought they had discovered a cure for cancer, or something. No mention was made of the original intentions of the expedition or their near-death experiences or the drama of their escape.

    But at least one of the intrepid trio was able to send a birthday message to his mum, via the BBC, and they were able to talk by telephone to “some of the world’s most influential climate change leaders,” including the (then) Development Secretary Douglas Alexander in front of 300 people at a conference on world poverty.

    Channel 4 News also reported on the Catlin Arctic Survey. Their report attempted to make our flesh creep by filming the group of scientists camped out on the Arctic ice to measure the degree to which “global warming” and rising CO2 levels were threatening to acidify the oceans as the Arctic ice vanishes.

    Channel 4 failed to mention that this study was sponsored by an insurance company which hoped to make millions selling insurance against the risks affected by global warming; that, with a pH between 7.9 and 8.2, the oceans are firmly alkaline and will remain so for millions of years; and that by February 2009 there was so much of that disappearing Arctic ice that its extent had returned to its 30-year average spring level.

  26. Let me guest. CO2 induce global warming cause the “Artic Vortex” which led to more than expected ice around Antarctic.

  27. Unfortunately, the alarmists will simply wait till the first moment the ice decreases for any reason at all. They will then compare it with its current inconvenient state and claim the contrast as proof of even more catastrophic warming – you wait and see…

    There is no winning with these people in scientific terms – they will always play fast and loose with both the facts and people’s lives in pursuit of what is just another totalitarian political agenda. Exposing that agenda, let alone alerting people to the harm it will do them, needs journalistic and (the best kind of) political skills. Maybe these various misguided adventurers you mention could serve as paradigmatic of that harm – maybe that’s a more pragmatic course than pillorying them, which just reinforces their heroic status in Green eyes. Victims of the Green Movement could be a global charity, who knows?

    Stuart B

  28. “NASA reports that Antarctic sea ice is now the largest expanse since scientists began measuring its extent in 1979:”

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    For the sake of accuracy that should be changed to:

    “NASA reports that a record was set on 22 September 2013. Antarctic sea ice was at the largest expanse since scientists began measuring its extent in 1979.”

    or something similar.

  29. This is one of clearest, most concise and easy to follow pieces I’ve read here in a long time. Mr Driessen’s writing wouldn’t look out of place in any of the UK’s national newspapers – except it would never be given any space in any of our national newspapers because it speaks with calm reasoning instead of trying to spin evidential facts to suit an agreed agenda.

    Many thanks for this piece. Now, if you could just write an entire book this easy to follow and devastatingly effective with the simple, clear facts you might be on to a winner here…

  30. Professor Turney just apologized on Twitter for his long silence. That’s something he hasn’t done before: apologized or be silent.

  31. Climate stunts dressed up as science. Its easy to see why some scientists in this field are finally speaking out a little. There are clowns in the lab and they are beginning to get noticed. Good trend for everyone.

  32. SM says:
    January 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    As to his expertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.
    ==========================================================================

    That’s not his job. It was the responsibilty of the Captain of the AS to determine if it was safe to proceed into any area.
    —l
    I think you are missing the point – on purpose perhaps? Anyone making statements about ice a 100 years into the future is expected to at least have a minimal understanding of the short-term ice conditions in the polar regions, if they are to have any credibility. So far, Professor Turney has not given much evidence of that kind of insight.

    I fear that the captain will be punished for not exercising stronger maritime discipline on a climatologist/tourist expedition. A lesson there for us all. An inquest might clarify matters, but I think all polar captains have taken this particular lesson to heart already.

  33. It’s actually a propaganda war on the pretext of climate change just to serve the interest of handful of corporate giants. Every body is telling others what climate change is but no one is ready to tell what climate change is not. That is why whatever natural abnormality we experience we just point finger at climate change just to hide our lack of vision about the original causes.

  34. The answer to the question is “no”. Climate kooks will not stop risking their lives on their quest for the Holy Grail of Global Warming. Quests are all about proving one’s faith on dangerous, ultimately pointless, treks.

  35. Hadn’t seen that lemming footage since I was a kid. It’s completely fake of course – wasn’t even shot in the Arctic:

    http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/lemmings.asp

    As for the ill-fated Turney expedition I just want to know what happened to that well-stocked bar. Did it remain onboard the ship for the delectation of the crew or did the self-absorbed Dr Turney have it flown off to the Aurora?

  36. I feel sorry for the Russian crew who no doubt expected to spend the Orthodox Christmas with their families. Excellent article, btw, very well written.

  37. I also was impressed by and very much enjoyed this piece!

    That said, I wonder if a source can be given for the following regarding the failed Arctic mission by the two women: “Instead, temperatures inside their tent plummeted to -58 F (-50 C), while outside the nighttime air plunged to -103 F (-75 C). Facing frostbite, amputated fingers and toes or even death, the two were airlifted out a bare 18 miles into their 530-mile expedition.”

    I don’t quibble with the entire narrative, which I recall well, it’s the temperature that stopped me.

    Just on the level of common sense, the readings seem too low. I don’t remember where the women departed from, but the coldest temp ever recorded in Canada is -63C, and as one moves out over the Arctic sea ice, the temperature warms, due to heat rising through the ice. The North Pole in winter, because of the this phenomenon, is not the warmest location in Northern Hemisphere winter. Likewise, anywhere over the ice has a governor on the cold temperature readings that can be attained. The coldest location in NH winter is an honor that belongs, nearly always, to a location within Siberia.

    Once again: beautiful writing, admirably researched. Just wonder about that single detail…

  38. I did like Flying Tiger’s comment to Prof Turney’s explanation piece in Nature-

    “I can totally understand the nonscientific financial motivation for changing from geography (unsexy) to climatechange (sexy) but what is the actual academic process that allows someone to start as a Professor of Geography and end as a Professor of Climate Change? What is the procedure for minting a new field of study like Climate Change? I ask in all seriousness because the leading lights of Climate Change in Australia all seem to be either arts graduates or economists, with a smattering of other people totally unconnected to either chemistry or physics. Baffling. As for Turney, too many red flags. “Science Communicators” is another phrase that is way too much like weasel words. And the plan in place by the BBC and Guardian to spring some sort of climate alarmist documentary made from footage of this trip has also been blown wide open. And finally there is the Carbonscape vested interest, promoted in the past by one of the journalists from the Guardian who was part of the tour”

    Indeed- ‘What is the procedure for minting a new field of study like Climate Change?’

    I certainly want to know so the mates and I can jump on the gravy train as the new doyens of Humanology, sitting above all you other narrowly focussed plebs.

  39. Come to think of it these jumped up Climatologists are treading on our patch with their ‘anthropogenic’ thingy. None of them are fair dinkum, pal-reviewed Humanologists so pay them no heed and they need to stick to the weather.

  40. Due to it being the Southern Hemisphere Summer the sea ice figs attached to this site as of yesterday were 5.525 million square km which is a huge plus on the 4.131 million square km which was the mean average 79-08 for this time of year. On a BBC Radio4 Science programme presented a few days ago a member of the Antarctica Survey Team claimed the high sea ice was due to a sudden spell of very cold weather. He claimed that the sea ice was only 1% above the expected average. However in the real world the sea ice anomally has been plus for around two and half years if my memory serves me correctly. And it should be noted that the current anomally based on the sea ice area is plus 33.74% …
    (by all means check my maths)…I have emailed the BBC and await an answer….ha.

  41. This foolishness is unlikely to end until some tragedy happens and the resulting lawsuits have a chilling effect. Hmm, … maybe global warming could lower temperatures after all.

  42. Looks like Liv and Anne are on to solving a new crisis…(climate change is so…2007 :)

    “In October-November 2014, renowned polar explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will lead a team of six women, from six continents, on an 2525 km (1,569 mile), 60-day long expedition following the River Ganges from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal. Each of the women will be representing the key water challenges on their continent. Their journey together will be the centerpiece of a global awareness and outreach program that will spur us all to join hands in solving our global water crisis.”

    http://www.yourexpedition.com/

  43. Didn’t a group do a failed booze run to the North Pole a couple of years ago.
    I believe the ice (which was completely melted…not) got them stuck, too.

  44. With the many Australians looking on this turkey person will be asked many questions, our new government is not about to waste money on a global warming junket. This useful idiot may soon find himself between a rock and a hard place. From what I hear the other departments at his university openly mock the climate change mob. Major funding comes from government, this episode may cause a few whispers from high places. Ain’t karma a bugger.

  45. Frank K:
    I looked at the link and sure enough, there it was: “pollution and climate change”.
    If they had stuck to “pollution” I would have tended to agree with the aims, but now …. .

  46. @negrum says: January 9, 2014 at 9:20 pm
    “One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability,” Bancroft-Arnesen expedition coordinator Anne Atwood insisted. “But global warming is real, and with it can come extreme unpredictable changes in temperature,” added Arnesen. “Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That’s what we’re talking about,” Greenpeace activist Stephen Guilbeault chimed in.
    —-l
    They sound insane.
    ==========================================================
    Global warming means anything they want it to mean. And they are insane. It’s mass hysteria. Odd it should have started to get really out of control around the Millennium…

  47. “In October-November 2014, renowned polar explorers and educators Liv Arnesen and Ann Bancroft will lead a team of six women, from six continents, on an 2525 km (1,569 mile), 60-day long expedition following the River Ganges from Gaumukh to the Bay of Bengal”

    Must have signed up for the long version. http://gaumukhtrek.com/

  48. Did this “scientific” expedition take a moment to read about Shackleton? Reading this alone would have helped them prepare more thoroughly.

  49. In 1903, during the first year of his three-year crossing of the Northwest Passage, Roald Amundsen noted that his party “had made headway with ease,” because ice conditions had been “unusually favorable.”

    Fast forward to summer of 2013 and what did we get with modern ships, yatchts and navigation? Sixty per cent more ice in the NWP on the previous year. Stuck boats unable to make it through the famed North West Passage, rescue operations launched. Ohhhh arrrrrrr.

    http://www.sail-world.com/USA/North-West-Passage-blocked-with-ice%E2%80%94yachts-caught/113788

    Jet skiers stuck too. Ohhhhh rrrrrr Jim lad.

    http://iceagenow.info/2013/09/jet-skiers-northwest-passage-cold-wet-stuck-ice/

  50. There may yet be a much greater threat to life and limb caused by climate extremists should the predictions by some solar scientists of a coming long-term cooling period become reality. The efforts of the alarmists to influence policy makers has had the effect of closing many coal-fired generating plants and delaying or stopping the development of fossil-fuel resources in favor of less reliable “green” sources. During the recent cold outbreak, it was reported that the energy grid was being taxed to the brink and rolling blackouts were instituted in some areas. God help us should the climate become increasingly like the last couple weeks. These alarmists and current government policy-makers may cause the deaths and suffering of millions in the near future through inadequate energy to keep people from freezing. I pray their legacy is one of simple foolishness and not one of causing massive death and suffering.

  51. SM says:
    January 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    As to hisexpertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.
    ==========================================================================

    That’s not his job. It was the responsibilty of the Captain of the AS to determine if it was safe to proceed into any area.

    It is the responsibility of the Captain to tell his passengers to get back onto the ship if he sees deteriorating conditions. :-) Always check your details sunshine.

    Monday 23 December. Day 16
    …..The third drama of the day is the one which is still unfolding. Because of the Argo mishap we got off late, and had one less vehicle to ferry people to and fro. I’m told the Captain was becoming rather definite late in the afternoon that we needed to get everyone back on board ASAP because of the coming weather and the ice closing in. As I write we are continuing to make extremely slow progress through what looks like a winter alpine snow field – it’s yet another surreal part of this journey that we are in a ship trying to barge our way through here! I’m sure the Captain would have been much happier if we had got away a few hours earlier. Maybe we would have made it through the worst before it consolidated as much as it has with the very cold south- easterly winds blowing the ice away from the coast, around and behind us as well as ahead….

    http://www.janetrice.com.au/?e=98

    Then they got stuck in ice! How did that happen???

    CSM
    Postings by Australian Greens senator-elect Janet Rice on her blog reveal that the ship’s captain was concerned about the passengers undertaking a shore expedition despite worsening conditions.

    “I’m told the Captain was becoming rather definite late in the afternoon that we needed to get everyone back on board ASAP because of the coming weather and the ice closing in,” Ms Rice wrote, adding: “I’m sure the Captain would have been much happier if we had got away a few hours earlier.”

    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2014/0107/Antarctica-expedition-Are-research-and-tourism-a-toxic-mix-video

  52. The Spirit of Mawson.

    In late 1911, the Australasian Antarctic Expedition headed south from the Tasmanian city of Hobart on board the steamship, the S.Y. Aurora. In spite of the unpredictable and often dangerous conditions, the teams were successfully set down on Macquarie Island and along the Antarctic coastline in three months.

    http://www.spiritofmawson.com/celebrating-mawson/

    In a wooden sailing boat without modern navigation equipment and satellites. They don’t make them like they used to.

    Would you trust a climate scientist to be objective if he has helped start a carbon capture company? Would you trust a climate scientist whose company finances depend on continued global warming? They even have an investor’s page.

    Here is Chris Turkey’s company which is motivate by something.

    CarbonScape
    Within this eclectic mix of innovation and natural beauty, the idea behind Carbonscape was conceived by a team motivated to address the burgeoning problem of carbon dioxide (CO2) release…..
    …………….
    Today, Carbonscape is pioneering the use of microwave technology in a series of patented processes that refine low cost biomass such as waste saw dust from timber processors into valuable finished products. These finished products are:
    • Activated Carbon
    • Charcoal and Biochar
    • Bio-oil and Fine chemicals
    • Syngas

    http://carbonscape.com/about/overview/

  53. I don’t know the legal aspects of this, but if the Captain allowed the expedition onto the ice, and didn’t specify a return time, he would seem to be culpable for either, a) allowing it in the first place, or b) not setting a time to return.

    However, if he did set a return time, and it was violated, then his options became: a) get underway while it was still possible, leaving the passengers behind, or b) wait for them and take his chances.

    If that were the case, I would view everything after the missed return time to be a rescue mission. That is, he was no longer captaining a voyage, he was diverting to from that voyage to rescue errant passengers. He would do the same, for example, if someone went overboard at sea, even though it might cause other problems in doing so, such as ending up in worse weather at sea eventually.

    In my view, assuming the passengers missed the return time, the captain got stuck in the ice for the same reason the icebreaker got stuck in the ice; he was trying to rescue someone regardless of the reason they needed rescuing in the first place. If the same thing had happened at a warm port, he likely would have just sailed instead, since no “rescue” would have been required.

  54. Any idea why so many people whine over typos? Get a life and live with it. Use your imagination so that you understand what was meant “in spite of the typo.” If you want it correct to send to your friends, copy and paste it to a doc file and fix it yourself, and send the file on. Most of us realize that we aren’t perfect and don’t expect it of everyone else, either.

  55. Just like to suggest a special division of the Darwin awards reserved for ‘Lemming-like behaviour in the face of Unexpected Ice’. Call it the ‘Darwin Warm Feeling Trophy’. Maybe each recipient (good starting list above) could be added to a ‘Great Global Frieze’ to hang in the UN HQ.

    Stuart B

  56. Well said, Tom O. If the designers of the modern typing keyboard would have taken the old piano keyboard as an example, it would not happen that I make in every word I type, at least one typo and have to repair my sentences word after word.

  57. A few years ago, there was a scientific trip down to Antarctica from Australia to also retrace some of Mawson’s steps and visit Mawson’s hut. I recall it being screened on ABC Television in Australia. One of the experiments conducted on the trip was to measure sea temperatures at various depths at a precise location where Mawson had measured them about a century earlier. The ABC Television report I recall seeing mentioned very briefly that the modern ocean depths were cooler than what Mawson had measured. At the time, this was passed off as an anomaly but the fact was very definitely never again mentioned on the ABC. Would any readers of this blog know where I can access the readings taken by the modern expedition and the comparative reading of the Mawson expedition? Just interested.

  58. bbc radio had luck-baker on an hour or so ago, laughing at sceptics laughing at shokalskiy getting stuck in ice. am sure he used the words “pseudo science” – now to try to find the item! meanwhile…

    10 Jan: BBC: Antarctic rescue ship’s stop-off thwarted
    By Andrew Luck-Baker BBC science producer, on board Aurora Australis
    The Australian mercy mission icebreaker is being thwarted yet again in its attempt to unload cargo and fuel at Australia’s Antarctic base, Casey.
    The only compensation for the crew and passengers is that the Aurora Australis is cruising up and down what looks like a graveyard of gigantic icebergs, in a holding pattern for when the weather allows…
    The calving rate of icebergs from glaciers is predicted to increase as climate change proceeds in Antarctica.
    Sights such as these may be more common in the frozen South in coming years and decades…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-25681076

    Luck-Baker three days ago:

    7 Jan: BBC: Rescued Antarctic expedition arrives at Casey base
    By Andrew Luck-Baker BBC science producer, on board Aurora Australis
    The AAE is only making a short stop at Casey before heading for Hobart.
    And the 52 scientists and tourists from the expedition will not even be going ashore…
    Greg Mortimer: “[We had] an enormous area of very old ice (frozen sea ice of 10-15 years of age), which was to the east of where we were, and to the east of the famous Mertz Glacier.
    “All of a sudden, the mass of ice was just spat out to the west, like a cough-ball if you like.
    “It was a massive area of ice hundreds of square kilometres in size, and we just happened to be there at the time.”…
    “Every time, I’ve been there, I don’t know what to expect of Antarctica. It doesn’t treat fools kindly. Whether or not we go into the basket of fools, history will tell. But [Antarctica] tends to jump on the back of your neck if you make a mistake.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25647689

  59. SM says: January 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm
    As to his expertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.
    ==================================

    That’s not his job. It was the responsibilty of the Captain of the AS to determine if it was safe to proceed into any area.
    _________________________________

    That is not how shipping or aviation works.

    If Dr Tourney hired the ship, then the shipping company will tell the captain where he needs to go to earn that contracted price. The customer choses the tune the piper will play. Can a captain refuse? – sure, but it will be the last time they sail. You occasionally see these principled captains, who think safety is their responsibility, cleaning the streets or washing up in restaurants.

    Same goes for aviation too. You don’t think that these new Low Standards airlines care a jot about safety do you? Don’t be so naive.

  60. Prof Turney is quite fond of extravagant claims. Here is another one:

    Never before has a science expedition reached out live to so many people from such a remote location.

    Bigger Than The Moon

  61. Mac the Knife says:
    January 9, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Most of the folks that frequent WUWT will heartily agree. The question is How do we effectively convey that message convincingly to the policy makers, at all levels of government? Are there lessons learned at CFACT that we might benefit from?

    Indeed Mac, this is the gist of the problem.
    A way must be found to sway Mainstream Media. to present at least some sceptical ideas
    But can it be done? They have progressive keepers who would like to rule a lefty world.
    WUWT is,to me, a bit of an echo chamber.
    The readership is increasing though, given the hit count.
    Maybe WUWT is becoming a Mainstream Media outlet.as well.
    Everyone spread the word.

  62. RobRoy –

    are CAGW sceptics too individualistic to organise like CCL?

    *** on ABC radio broadcast of the californian neo-hippie “New Dimensions” program recently, i heard CCL-connected Sam Daley-Harris claim that in the first 8 months of 2013, CCL has had 745 letters to the editor published on carbon tax plus 141 op-eds published, plus 602 meetings with members of Congress or their staff. CCL like to give the impression american conservatives are just as much in favour of a carbon tax as liberals:

    May 2013: NYT Opinionator Blog: David Bornstein: Lobbying for the Greater Good
    If you pose that question to the leading climate scientist James E. Hansen, he’ll tell you to connect with the Citizens Climate Lobby (C.C.L.). “They have the potential to be extremely effective,” he said. “That’s why I recommend them in my speeches. They’re doubling in size each year. And they’re pursuing the right policy.”
    The C.C.L. is a relatively unknown organization that punches above its weight. Founded in 2007, the organization prepares citizens to be effective lobbyists, helping them build relationships with members of Congress and editorial page editors, showing them how to make persuasive arguments about policies to win bipartisan support. Currently, the group’s main focus is to build political will for a revenue-neutral carbon tax…
    ***With a staff of 9 and about 700 active volunteers, the C.C.L. reports that last year it conducted 534 meetings with members of Congress or the Canadian Parliament or their staffs; met with 24 newspaper editorial boards; published 537 letters to the editor; and directly prompted or placed 174 editorials, op-eds or articles, all focusing on this policy. This year, the group is on track to double or triple its outreach…

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/lobbying-for-the-greater-good/?_r=0

    8 Jan: PennLive: Jon Clark: Here’s why a carbon tax is key to fighting global warming By Patriot-News Op-Ed The Patriot-News
    (Jon Clark is Mid-Atlantic regional coordinator for Citizens Climate Lobby.)
    The answer is there are many good reasons to pass a revenue-neutral carbon tax, one of the best being that by doing so we can put pressure on developing countries like China to clean up their act as well…
    Here is the best part about a carbon tax. To protect American businesses from being undercut by foreign corporations (much like what happened to American solar manufacturer Solyndra when China dumped a large amount of heavily-subsidized solar panels on our market), we can tax imports from countries that do not a have a price on carbon emissions…

    http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/01/heres_why_a_carbon_tax_is_key_to_fighting_global_warming.html

    3 Jan: PennLive Letters to the Editor: Free dumping of carbon dioxide pollution may threaten civilization
    from MICHAEL MARK, Derry Twp
    Department of Energy figures show that we dump carbon dioxide into our atmosphere at nearly 40 times our rate of trash disposal — but we pay no charge to do so. We can’t see the gas and it is hard to picture the mess of problems to come from the accumulation of carbon dioxide…

    http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/01/climate_change_co2_carbon_dioxide_pollution_fossil_fuel_subsidies_jerry_shenk.html

    PennLive doesn’t indicate Michael Mark is CCL-connected (MSM usually doesn’t in such CCL cases), but this will do:

    Sept 2013: Facebook: Citizens Climate Lobby: Great letter to the editor (pennlive) from Michael Mark of Derry Township on how we’re burning down the house!

    pdf: CCL: (Yet another Michael Mark letter published by PennLive, The Patriot-News in January 2013 – titled: Replace energy subsidies with tax on carbon emissions)
    One idea for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, now suggested by both liberals and conservatives…

    http://citizensclimatelobby.org/files/images/2013%2001%2025%20Patriot%20News%20Mark%20LTE%20Replace%20energy%20subsidies%20with%20tax%20on%20carbon%20emissions.pdf

    Sept 2013: PennLIve Letters to the Editor: Relying on fossil fuels leaves the world worse for our children
    from MICHAEL MARK, Derry Twp
    There is a solution. Engineers at Stanford University and the University of California have shown that solar and wind can replace fossil fuels over time. Work done at the University of Massachusetts showed that green jobs can more than replace fossil fuel jobs.
    Many conservatives now advocate a revenue-neutral carbon tax, with the proceeds completely returned to American households, so that solar and wind can compete with fossil fuels, without subsidies, on a level playing field.

    http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2013/09/fossil_fuels_dirty_switch_to_clean_alternatives.html

    9 Jan: St. Cloud Times. Minnesota: Local group plans carbon tax presentation
    Area residents can listen to a presentation by carbon tax proponent Adele Morris, policy director for the Climate and Energy Economics Project of the Brookings Institution, on Saturday at the Good Earth Food Co-op.
    Morris is the featured speaker on the Citizens Climate Lobby conference call which begins at 11:45 a.m…

    http://www.sctimes.com/article/20140109/NEWS01/301090069/Local-group-plans-carbon-tax-presentation?gcheck=1&nclick_check=1

  63. The naivety of Chris Turney concerns me. Why would a man take his wife Annette and children Cora and Robert on a trip by boat to the Antarctic coast? Mawson received a knighthood for what he bravely achieved for science. This turkey deserves a derisionhood!
    This must be extremely embarrassing for his university. I just hope they are sent a very big bill for the rescue of him, his family and all the hangers on of this ill conceived escapade.

  64. ralfellis says:
    January 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    SM says: January 9, 2014 at 9:53 pm
    As to his expertise, Dr. Tourney couldn’t even gauge the ice conditions the 74 crewmen and passengers were about to sail into. And yet we are supposed to believe his alarmist forecasts about Earth’s climate.
    ==================================

    That’s not his job. It was the responsibilty of the Captain of the AS to determine if it was safe to proceed into any area.
    _________________________________

    That is not how shipping or aviation work.
    =========================================================================

    Ralf,

    have a look at this : http://expeditionsonline.com/tour-44/spirit-of-mawson-akademik-shokalskiy

    It contains the schedule for the voyage, also note the comment at the very bottom of the page.

    If you’re ever on a flight somewhere, don’t ask the captain to divert to your desired destination: that’s called hijacking.

  65. Brent Walker says:
    January 10, 2014 at 5:10 pm
    The naivety of Chris Turney concerns me. Why would a man take his wife Annette and children Cora and Robert on a trip by boat to the Antarctic coast? Mawson received a knighthood for what he bravely achieved for science. This turkey deserves a derisionhood!

    =========================================================================

    Brent,

    you’d better have a serious word to the parents of Jordan Romero, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jordan_Romero

    and Jessica Watson, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Watson

    I’m sure they’d appreciate your input.

    Cheers

  66. I doubt that the captain of the AS can be blamed for their icy sojourn as there are inevitably some risks involved with putting people ashore, it seems likely that the people on shore went too far from the ship and did not take sufficient account of their reduced capacity to get people back to the ship after one of the Argo’s became non-operational. In addition, as it seems that the two children were also off the ship the captain had even less choice but to wait for them. The people were visiting an island and between the island and the ship was pack ice / fast ice, perhaps if it had been a large solid ice floe then things may have been different.

    After they effectively lost an Argo, they should have reduced the numbers on shore and kept better control of the logistics involved in getting people back on board in a timely manner. I don’t know if the captain would have had the authority to require that of the expedition. It seems strange that they had no spare Argo’s, or indeed that an Argo was so readily put out of commission by a bit of water. The wrong equipment for the conditions ?

  67. Perhaps there are people reading this blog who have Naval / Nautical charter experience and could comment on the difficulties and conflicts involved between putting people ashore and the captains need to get them back again as soon as he chooses. Where does responsibility and authority lie. What law if any governs this.

  68. @ Pat January 10, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    The calving rate of icebergs from glaciers is predicted to increase as climate change proceeds in Antarctica.

    Sights such as these may be more common in the frozen South in coming years and decades…

    Correct me if I’m wrong and call me stupid, but wouldn’t ‘calving of glaciers’ mean that the glaciers are reaching the sea and breaking off. A ‘retreating’ glacier would NOT be ‘calving’.

    Confused (stupid) realist.

  69. Gail Combs says:
    January 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

    RockyRoad says: @ January 11, 2014 at 9:03 am
    —-l
    The perfect ending would be Professor Turney trying to sue Mark Steyn :)

  70. The responsibilities of the captain vs. the expedition are usually specified in the charter party, a private contract between the shipowner and the charterer. A vessel can be chartered for a certain voyage, or for a certain time frame. The shipowner supplies the ship and crew and is responsible for the operation and safety of the ship. The charterer sets the destination, cargo and schedule.

    I don’t know the terms for chartering the Akademik Shokalskyi. To get a general idea I did find another time charter contract for an Antarctic supply and research vessel. This was a procurement never fulfilled, from the USAP website. I’ll quote Paragraph II from the Time Charter. Apologies for the lengthy copy-paste, but this is where the beef is:

    ” The operations are to be carried out in locations selected by Charterers,
    subject to the Master’s approval, said approval not to be unreasonably
    withheld. Charterers shall act with prudence in their orders to the Vessel as
    if the Vessel were its own property, having regard to her capabilities and
    the nature of her employment. However, Charterers do not warrant the
    safety of any port, berth, or place of operation, and the safety of the Vessel
    shall always be the responsibility of the Master. The Master shall at all
    times be the sole judge of the safety or propriety of navigation, or of
    weather, or of other conditions for the performance of any directive given
    by Charterers. The Master shall be under the absolute duty at all times to
    exercise and to act upon his/her own direction as to the safe operation and
    navigation of the Vessel and no direction given by Charterers shall be
    deemed to mitigate or to lessen or to relieve the Master of this
    responsibility or to modify this Charter. The Master’s acceptance of, or
    action upon, any direction of Charterers shall, as between Owners and
    Charterers, be deemed conclusive proof of the propriety of the particular
    directive. “

    Again, this contract was drawn up for another vessel altogether. Still, if the AS was chartered on similar terms, legal responsibility for the debacle clearly would lie with the captain and the shipowner. Much as one may wish otherwise!

  71. Ah the difficult distinction between passengers ON the vessel and OFF the vessel (and the vessel itself) and how the duty of care is split between them. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    Usually down to a court to decide in the end (if it gets there).

  72. DanJ:

    re your post at January 11, 2014 at 12:47 pm.

    I note all your caveats and I am not a lawyer. Proper judgement needs to be made of the actual contract by a lawyer.

    However, it does not seem to me that you reach the only possible conclusion when you write

    Again, this contract was drawn up for another vessel altogether. Still, if the AS was chartered on similar terms, legal responsibility for the debacle clearly would lie with the captain and the shipowner. Much as one may wish otherwise!

    Assuming the actual contract is similar to that which you quote, then your conclusion is not certain because your quotation includes this.

    The Master shall at all times be the sole judge of the safety or propriety of navigation, or of weather, or of other conditions for the performance of any directive given by Charterers. The Master shall be under the absolute duty at all times to exercise and to act upon his/her own direction as to the safe operation and navigation of the Vessel and no direction given by Charterers shall be deemed to mitigate or to lessen or to relieve the Master of this responsibility or to modify this Charter.

    This provides both the Master and the “Charterers” with obligations.

    If the weather changed and the Master decided this required a shore party of the Charterers to immediately return to the ship then the shore party are obligated to obey this decision of the Master. This must be so because “The Master shall at all times be the sole judge of the safety or propriety of navigation, or of weather, or of other conditions for the performance of any directive given by Charterers.” Clearly, the decision of the Master is superior to any decision of any of the Charterers (e.g. a shore party).

    So, if the Master called for a shore party to immediately return to the ship then the shore party were required to immediately return. And the shore party (i.e. some of the Charters) did not immediately return then they are responsible for any resulting delay to departure because they have breached the contract by not accepting that “The Master shall at all times be the sole judge … of any directive given by Charterers.”

    Of course, the Master could have left and abandoned the shore party to their fate. But that would have been a criminal act and not merely a conflict about a contract. So, it seems to me that the Master had no legal right to abandon the shore party.

    Hence, if it can be shown that the Master made an order to immediately return to the ship and the Charterers chose to disobey that order then at least partial responsibility lies with the Charterers (i.e. Turney).

    But I am not a lawyer so my opinion is worth nothing. The lawyers will make a fortune because their various opinions are worth a lot.

    Richard

  73. @RichardLH, richardscourtney,

    Thanks for your replies. Normally charter parties assume that the vessel will be directed only to safe harbours. If vessels are chartered to remote locations like Antarctica, going ashore is inherently risky. The added risk is mostly borne by the captain. The charterer is supposed to be extra cautious too, but if he’s not, then ultimately the captain has to put his foot down.

    This is indeed tricky because of the shore excursion and I too suppose the court will have to decide.

    Some open questions, for me at least:

    a) Who was in charge of the Zodiacs ferrying people ashore? Who drove the Argos? Were they crew members or members of the expedition?

    b) Was one of the Argos swamped on the way out or on the way back? As poster J Martin pointed out above, that should have led to a change in plans. If they knew they were going to be slowed down they should have cut the trip short or abandoned altogether. Why wasn’t the swamped Argo not ditched if they were in a hurry, or towed back while the shore party was away?

    c) When did the captain become “rather definite” and how did he communicate it to the people ashore? Was it unambiguous? Did the shore party not care, or did they make for the ship without delay but were just too darn slow?

    Past midnight here. Thanks all,
    Daniel

  74. ““One of the things we see with global warming is unpredictability,” Bancroft-Arnesen expedition coordinator Anne Atwood insisted. “But global warming is real, and with it can come extreme unpredictable changes in temperature,” added Arnesen. “Global warming can mean colder. It can mean wetter. It can mean drier. That’s what we’re talking about,” Greenpeace activist Stephen Guilbeault chimed in.”

    When I was a kid we called this “weather”, as in being non-linear and chaotic.

    But it illustrates what I jokingly said a few years ago. No matter what the weather will be, they will blame it all on “global warming”, proving that they are indeed mentally insane.

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