The Top Ten Reasons why I think Catlin Arctic Ice Survey data can't be trusted

First, I loathe having to write another story about Pen Hadow and his Catlin Arctic Ice expedition, which I consider the scientific joke of 2009. But these opportunistic explorers are once again getting some press over the “science” data, and of course it is being used to make the usual alarmist pronouncements such as this badly written story in the BBC:

Click for a larger image

Click for a larger image

WUWT followed the entire activist affair disguised as a science expedition from the start. You can see all of the coverage here. It’s not pretty. When I say this expedition was the “scientific joke of 2009”, I mean it.

On to the Top Ten List.

Top Ten Reasons why the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey data can’t be trusted


High profile news and PR from the beginning, plus an unrealistic vision of self importance related to the mission. The entire venture was publicized well in advance of the actual expedition, and the mission was “too important to fail” according to the January 23rd interview with The Guardian Catlin team leader Pen Hadow said:

“During this mammoth expedition we will gather the essential data that scientists need to more accurately determine when the permanent floating sea ice will disappear altogether. We cannot afford to fail on this mission – there is too much at stake.”

With pronouncements like that, you also can’t afford not to bring home  a result consistent with the theme of the expedition.


Reality Show Science as reported here, “The trio will be sending in regular diary entries, videos and photographs to BBC News throughout their expedition.” When you tie science too closely to the media from the beginning, it predetermines some outcomes. That pressure is always there to produce the story rather than focus on the task. This is why most proper science is done well away from the media and the results are reported afterwards.


Hadow, by his own admission, has an unrealistic and biased warmer view of the Arctic that doesn’t match the current data. In his Curriculum Vitae posted here, he writes:

“Twenty years ago, you could walk to the North Pole – now you have to swim part of the way there.”

Only problem is, the satellite data showed a completely different picture of solid ice, and Hadow’s expedition encountered temperatures of -44F (-42C) along the way, and the vast majority of the trip was below 32F (0C). He didn’t encounter vast leads of water along the way, and in fact encountered ice conditions far worse than he expected. This shows his bias for a warmer trip from the start.


The Catlin team’s scientific advisor at the beginning of the trip seemed to already have a predetermined outcome for the Arctic. In this BBC article and  interview they write of Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, a science advisor to the survey:

“Ultimately, Professor Maslowski hopes to finesse his forecast for when the first ice-free summer might arrive.

Currently, he has it down for 2013 – but with an uncertainty range between 2010 and 2016.”

So if they already had this figured out from the beginning, why make the trip at all? Is it so the BBC could recycle the headline again today saying Arctic to be ‘ice-free in summer’? Why do “science” at great personal risk when you already are sure of the end game? There’s also another nugget of predisposition wisdom by Catlin’s science advisor Professor Maslowski. Read on.


They failed to advise of major equipment failure in a timely manner, inviting suspicion. The ice radar sounding equipment that was designed to do the thickness survey failed miserably, almost from day one, yet even though they were “sending in regular diary entries, videos and photographs to BBC News throughout their expedition,” the world didn’t learn of that failure until day 44 of the 73 day expedition. When Apollo 13 had a problem, the world knew about it almost immediately. When Catlin had a problem, it was covered up for well over a month, yet that didn’t stop the BBC from paraphrasing Apollo 13’s famous words for a headline ‘London, we have a problem’ as if there was some parallel in integrity and timeliness here.


Hadow and his scientific advisor erroneously believed that their expedition was the only way ice thickness measurements could be done, and they seemed oblivious to other efforts and systems.

From this BBC article and  interview:

“No other information on ice thickness like this is expected to be made available to the scientific community in 2009,” explained Arctic ice modeller Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, a science advisor to the survey.

While this was obviously a selling point to sponsors and an ego boost for the team, it was flat wrong. For example, there’s a bouy network that provides ice thickness data,. Then there’s ICEsat which provides mass and balance measurements, as well as ice thickness maps, shown below:

This sequence shows Arctic sea ice thickness derived from fall campaigns from the ICESat satellite. While the sea ice extent might look similar from year to year this thickness data shows dramatic thinning especially near the North Pole (shown in dark blue). This image was generated with data acquired between Oct 4 - Oct 19, 2008.

ICESat data for Fall 2008, source NASA Scientific Visualization Studio

As reported on WUWT, another data source of Arctic Ice thickness in 2009 came in the form of an aerial survey with a towed radar array from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. They didn’t have to risk lives, create drama, or bleat constant headlines to the BBC while doing the science. They simply flew the plane over the ice a few times.

Here’s some excerpts of what was reported on WUWT in the story Inconvenient Eisdicken – “surprising results” from the Arctic

At the North Pole ice sheet is thicker than expected

Das Forschungsflugzeug "Polar 5" in Bremerhaven [Quelle: AWI]

The “Polar 5″ in Bremerhaven

The research aircraft Polar 5 “ended today in Canada’s recent Arctic expedition.  During the flight, researchers have measured the current Eisstärke measured at the North Pole, and in areas that have never before been overflown. Result: The sea-ice in the surveyed areas is apparently thicker than the researchers had suspected.

Normally, ice is newly formed after two years, over two meters thick. “Here were Eisdicken up to four meters,” said a spokesman of Bremerhaven’s Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research. For scientists, this result is still in contradiction to the warming of the seawater.

Gosh. Where’s the polar death defying drama in that?


Due to the extreme cold conditions they were not fully prepared for, they completed less than half of the planned trip. Originally it was to be a 1000 kilometer trip to the North Pole which according to early interviews given by Hadow was easily done, yet they failed. The original start point was to be at 81N 130W but they actually started closer to the pole by about 100 kilometers.

Click here to explore the Catlin Arctic Survey in Google Earth (right click and save as)

According to the Google Earth KML file provided by Catlin, they started at  81.7N 129.7W and ended at 85.5N 125.6W for a total distance of approximately 435 kilometers over 73 days. Hardly a broad survey of the Arctic Ice when put into perspective on the Google Earth and ICEsat maps shown below:

Catlin Route Map from GPS data with planned and actual start/end points

Catlin Route Map from GPS data with planned and actual start/end points

Here’s the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey Route overlaid on the ICEsat map. You can see just how little of the ice was actually surveyed.

Catlin Arctic Survey Path over ICEsat map

Catlin Arctic Survey Path over ICEsat map - click for larger image

Note that the ICEsat image is from Fall 2008, while the Catlin trip was in the Spring of 2009. Since we all know sea ice moves, often connected to the Beaufort Gyre, it is likely that the path depicted does not represent the ice Catlin actually traveled over. The sea ice may have moved so that the Catlin path traversed some of the thinner ice to the west, though some thickening of the ice would also be expected during the winter of 2009. The point of this map was to put the route in perspective.


There’s very little actual data return for 73 days on the ice, only 39 datapoints. See the dataset they provide in the Excel file here:

Ice Report CAS Snow Ice Measurements – Final 2009

Final surveying results from the 2009 expedition.

The actual number of holes drilled and measured for ice thickness by Pen Hadow is said to be in the hundreds, and what we see in the Excel file is the average of those many holes at each drilling session. While I commend them for providing the raw hole data, problems with potential measurement bias don’t appear to be well addressed in the methodology paper they provide here (PDF) while it is mentioned in the preliminary June report:

“One further consideration, when interpreting the ice thickness measurements made by the Catlin Arctic Survey team, may be navigational bias. Typically, the surface of First Year Ice floes are flatterthan that of multi‐year ice floes and because the team systematically seeks out flatter ice which is easier to travel over and camp on, there is a risk that the ice surveyed will not be representative.”

Since they make no mention of the potential measurement bias in the final report, it appears that there wasn’t anything but lip service consideration given to it in the early report, possibly to appease critics.


One of the most prominent sea ice researchers in the world, Dr. Walt Meier of NSIDC said he would not use the Catlin data saying in a post here on WUWT:

“I don’t anticipate using the Catlin data.”

That begs the question then, beyond the use of the data for generating news stories like we’ve seen in the BBC and other media outlets, who will? Even the media outlets have ignored the actual data Catlin made available, preferring sound bites over data bytes.


The Catlin Arctic Ice Survey knowingly presented false data to the public and to the media in their web presentation.

As many WUWT readers recall, it was here that it was discovered that Catlin’s website had bogus telemetry data on it, giving the impression of “live data from the ice” when in fact the data repeated in an endless loop from a short period.

Here’s the story from WUWT

Catlin Arctic Survey website recycles biotelemetry data?

Something quite odd is going on at the Catlin Arctic Survey website at:

It appears that they are presenting recycled data from the biotelemetry sensors on the team. The “live from the ice” biotelemetry data for each team member is presented here:

Here is a screencap of what the biotelemetry section of that webpage looks like:

click for full sized imageclick for full sized image

A WUWT commenter posted this:

karl heuer (07:40:46) :

The “Live from the Ice” biotelemetry is definitely not live:

When the data loads,

Pen Hadow core temp starts at 33.25 C every time the page loads, then increments up to 33.57, 33.64, 33.7, 33.75

every time, I have refreshed, cleared temp files and rebooted — still the same

WUWT commenter “hotrod” did his own check:

I just tried it looking at Pen Haddow’s pulse rate — Hmmm what are the odds that 32 consecutive pulse rate measurements would be identical?

Yes looks like the bio metric data is just white was to make their site look nifty, and has absolutely no value at all — perhaps they already have all their ice measurements in the can too?

When called out on the bogus telemetry data issue, the Catlin support team, rather than addressing the issue head on and with transparency, simply changed the web page for “live” telemetry to read “demonstrational”, and it remains that way today.

This is what it originally showed:


Now it says:


Of course they could just end the farce and remove it. Because, well,  who needs demonstrational biotelemetry anyway?

They also posted this at the bottom of the main page:

An apology

We’d like to apologise to anybody who felt misled by our recent biometric data. The data was initially displayed in error in a way that gave the impression that it was live. The intended qualification and explanation that it was, in fact, delayed information, was at first missing. We have subsequently corrected this with specific information concerning the above data. We apologise for the errors and to anyone who may have found the data misleading.

The real question is: how long would they have let that “live” impression go on had WUWT not called them on it? Originally the URL for the “biotelemetry” was

Now that URL if typed in your browser is automatically redirected to:

So with the words “telemetry” and “live_from_the_ice.aspx” it is clear what the original intent was. The apology is about saving face, nothing else.

So the question to readers and media is: with these sorts of issues listed above, do you really want to trust the data from a group of people that perform and present “science” in this way? If you do, it would seem to me that you are putting form over substance. Even if we didn’t have these trust issues, are 39 datapoints over a short section of the Arctic really that useful given the other tools shown to be at the disposal of real science?

The Catlin Arctic Ice Survey is in my opinion, nothing more than a badly executed public relations stunt covered with the thinnest veneer of attempted science.

Update: On the morning of 10/15 I fixed about a half dozen typographical and grammatical errors in the essay. h/t to Harold Ambler and others for the tips on these. This included changing the description to “opportunistic explorers” in the first paragraph as in retrospect I felt my original description of was too harsh, since despite the shortcomings, omissions, and PR fluff, these people did a physical feat that few could do. My conclusion above remains unchanged by that fact though. – Anthony

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Nick de Cusa

Just when they opened a debate about the BBC’s bias in climate matters :
It would be good to take part.

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

Their “dangerous” expedition on “disappearing” Artic ice was such a joke that a marathon was taking place at the North Pole at the same time. Not one of the runners feared falling through ice over the 27 mile run.

Patrick Davis

I glad there is an article about Catlin survey. On SBS news tonight here in Australia, apparently the results prove there is “climate change” and dramatic action is required now and a robust agreement in Copenhagen is required to reduce emissions. The Arctice *will* ice free in 10 years (2019, 6 years on the Goracle).

Extremely well put.
Lets follow the ice-free Arctic bet. 2010-2015 is not that far.
Studied Arctic since 1960 and learned nothing.

Ed Zuiderwijk

Catlin is an Insurance company specialising in selling cover against risk from “climate change”. Well, let’s say: it’s not an oil company.
The expedition, by definition will come back with biased data: multi-year old ice is bumpy and considerably less negiotiable than fresh, one-year ice. So the “expedition”, completely naturally, will be forced to follow the young ice and then measures that it’s “thinner than expected” (expected by whom, the Prince of Wales perhaps?). It’s a no-brainer.
O, I almost forgot: nothing has been published in the peer reviewed journals, it’s all PR and self-promotion. With respect to the learned professors involved, I’d put it that it borders on scientific misconduct.

“Follow the money!”
Wise words, and just look at the primary sponsor of this expedition – an insurance company!
Colour me surprised.
Many years ago, when the AGW boondoggle was just getting started, and neighbouring waterfront property owners were fretting about Global Warming and sea-level rise, I flippiantly suggested starting an insurance company to insure properties against sea-level encroachment.
As only the seriously wealthy would be affected, the premiums would reflect the risk – a target-market insurer which would provide Global Warming peace of mind, for as little as $1,000 per annum, per property.
I have been kicking myself ever since, as you can imagine……

Rhys Jaggar

1. If the arctic will be ‘ice free’ in 6 years or so, why has it’s minimum extent INCREASED significantly for both the past two years?
2. What are these ‘drivers’ which will drive this further??
3. Are these scientists prepared to resign their positions if they are proved to be flat wrong??
4. Are they prepared to share in detail their modelling assumptions which ‘prove’ that this ice will not exist??
My take on this:
1. If you believe global warming, you have the Socialist escape route from the credit crunch.
2. If you don’t, you have a 1981-style crushing of state expenditure.
Nothing to do with science, is it??


I’m surprised these jokers have the fortitude to show their faces in public, let alone preaching, after the debacle, the expedition turned out to be.
But then again, I can only go by the way I would feel!

If you have to lie to justify your claims, then your claims are NOT just!
Climate alarmists have lied about Catalin, lied about the cause of low ice in 2007, the tree rings and ice cores basis for the “hockey stick”, the extent of sea-level increase, the numbers of Polar bears, and pretty much every thing else that they claim in order to frighten money out of the tax-payer.
I knew that the BBC had not had a conversion to sound climate science reporting. They are still blatantly reporting utter rubbish (as today’s ice scare shows), but it is not just rubbish, but deliberately fraudulent rubbish.
The BBC are failing in their duty to remain impartial. Reporting anything about the Catalin “adventure” without the caveats listed in the excellent article above, is a betrayal of science and scientific journalism.


What a wonderful parable of our time was the expedition to the North Pole led by the explorer Pen Hadow. With two companions, he aimed to measure the thickness of the ice to show how fast it is “declining”. His expedition was one of a series of events designed to “raise awareness of the dangers of climate change” before December’s conference in Copenhagen, where the carbon dioxide Taliban hope to get a new treaty imposing much more drastic cuts on CO2 emissions.
Hadow’s Catlin Arctic Project had top-level backing from the likes of the BBC, the WWF (it could “make a lasting difference to policy-relevant science”) and Prince Charles (“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”. 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 “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’’. Down to their last scraps of food, and two days from officially being described as starving, they were saved in the nick of time by an Otter plane. They were disconcerted to see one of those polar bears, threatened with extinction by global warming, wandering around, doubtless eyeing them up for its dinner.
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 Development Secretary Douglas Alexander in front of 300 people at “a conference on world poverty”.
The idea was that the expedition should take regular radar fixes on the 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 2009.

Ed Z:
Great minds think alike!

Phillip Bratby

I agree entirely. Comments should be posted at the BBC for providing this propaganda as a main news item.

M White

Slightly OT but checkout the Cryosphere Today comparison page
Every date I put in, even if the page is just refreshed I get a random image record thrown out. This has been going on for several days now. Has anyone else had this problem?????

Britannic no-see-um

A welcome precis of this farce.
Typo para 5 line 5 hot-texted ‘buoy’

UK John

Before we all leap to display our doubts and prejudices, is the scientific study/report that led Proffessor Wadhams to reach these conclusions available to us?
If it is available we should look at it then conclude, if it isn’t available then it is just [snip]

Old Goat

Ah, Mr. Hadow. Look, old boy, we need (for our own reasons) to prove that the arctic ice sheet is thinning, and as a result we’re all going to die. It’s not really negotiable, so It would be really useful if you could go to the arctic and make it so. OK? Jolly good, off you go, then – we’ll hold off publishing your, er, “results” until you get back, we don’t want any “misunderstandings, do we?


BBC says: “When the ridges of ice between floes are included, the expedition found an average thickness of 4.8m.”
To me that sounds quite thick average thickness. Were is the data for this average thickness? If it really is 4.8 meters, why all the noise?
Has the Catlin crew published the detailed drill hole data, not just the averages?

It’s now being reported that
“Wadhams, one of the world’s leading experts on sea ice cover in the North Pole region, compared ice thickness measurements taken by a Royal Navy submarine in 2007 with evidence gathered by the British explorer Pen Hadow earlier this year.
“Hadow and his team on the Catlin Arctic Survey drilled 1,500 holes to gather evidence during a 280 mile walk across the Arctic. They found the average thickness of ice-floes was 1.8 metres, a depth considered too thin to survive the summer’s ice melt.”,2933,566601,00.html
Could one of you much-smarter-than-I-am folks please explain to me how 39 data points miraculously expands into 1,500 holes?


I’ve just heard Dr Vicky Pope on BBC news say “that every year there has been year on year ice loss” when asked about the Catlin prediction.
Obviously the Met office doesn’t include the data for the last two summers.
The statement would have been true if said in 2007.
And the press go on about taxpayers money going to bankers, maybe they should look at some other areas where taxpayers money is wasted 🙁

Or how an average ice thickness of 4.8 meters somehow becomes 1.8 meters?


Just love the sponsor above Nokia in the pic.
The European Climate Exchange, exchanging fear for cash since 2005.


I’ve made a formal complaint to the BBC re the innacuracy of the article.
I’m not holding my breath for the result!

Robin Guenier

The BBC is now giving this story huge prominence (2 column picture with scary headline) at the top of its website:

Margos Maid
Patrick Davis

Bill Tuttle, these are trick questions right?

This press release was issued by WWF (the wildlife organisation campaigning for massive carbon dioxide reductions in the run-up to Copenhagen).
As a conservation biologist I find it very disturbing. I am greatly indebted to the quality of this site and the analysis. Here below is an example of how an organisation I previously had great respect for has lost itself in propaganda, hype and very poor science (I will post my response – having written to their co-ordinator, and his reply):
New data, released today by the Catlin Arctic Survey and WWF, provides further evidence that the Arctic Ocean sea ice is thinning, supporting the emerging thinking that the Ocean will be largely ice-free during summer within a decade.
The data (1), collected by manual drilling and observations on a 450-kilometre route across the northern part of the Beaufort Sea (2), suggests the survey area is comprised almost exclusively of first-year ice.
This is a significant finding because the region has traditionally contained older, thicker multi-year ice. The average thickness of the ice-floes measured 1.8 metres, a depth considered too thin to survive the next summer’s ice melt. (4)
These findings have been analysed by the Polar Ocean Physics Group (3) at the University of Cambridge, led by Professor Peter Wadhams, one of the world’s leading experts on sea ice cover in the North Pole region.
“With a larger part of the region now first year ice, it is clearly more vulnerable,” said Professor Wadhams. “The area is now more likely to become open water each summer, bringing forward the potential date when the summer sea ice will be completely gone.”
Wadhams continued: “The Catlin Arctic Survey data supports the new consensus view — based on seasonal variation of ice extent and thickness, changes in temperatures, winds and especially ice composition — that the Arctic will be ice-free in summer within about 20 years, and that much of the decrease will be happening within 10 years.”
“That means you’ll be able to treat the Arctic as if it were essentially an open sea in the summer and have transport across the Arctic Ocean.”
According to the scientists who have studied the data, the technique used by the explorers to take measurements on the surface of the ice has the potential to help ice modellers to refine predictions about the future survival or decline of the ice.
Catlin Arctic Survey expedition leader Pen Hadow commented: “This is the kind of scientific work we always wanted to support by getting to places in the Arctic which are otherwise nearly impossible to reach for research purposes. It’s what modern exploration should be doing. Our on-the-ice techniques are helping scientists to understand better what is going on in this fragile ecosystem.”
At the unveiling of the results in London, Dr. Martin Sommerkorn from WWF International Arctic Programme, which partnered with the Survey, said: “The Arctic sea ice holds a central position in our Earth’s climate system. Take it out of the equation and we are left with a dramatically warmer world.”
“Such a loss of Arctic sea ice cover has recently been assessed (5) to set in motion powerful climate feedbacks which will have an impact far beyond the Arctic itself – self perpetuating cycles, amplifying and accelerating the consequences of global warming. This could lead to flooding affecting one-quarter of the world’s population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions from massive carbon pools and extreme global weather changes” Dr. Sommerkorn said.
“Today’s findings provide yet another urgent call for action to world leaders ahead of the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December to rapidly and effectively curb global greenhouse gas emissions, with rich countries committing to reduce emissions by 40% by 2020.”

Following on the WWF saga, I wrote to Rod at who was handling the WWF story and copied to their press officer, Johannah Sargent
Dear Rod,
I don’t know if you will take much heed of this feedback – but to preface – I am a lifelong conservationist, professional ecologist, and experienced policy analyst on science and environment – and I find this whole survey casts WWF in a very, very poor light. Which is a shame.
Of course you have found 1 year old ice – because 2009 saw an increase from 2008 and 2007, when the same area was obviously ice-free.
How useful is one year’s set of measurements? It has little scientific value unless repeated – and over several decades. And even then – as every Arctic specialist knows – there are cycles! What were the data for ice-coverage in 1940, when the last cycle peaked?
The current warm period in the Arctic has just peaked. Even it it were extended a few more years, it is almost certain to go down and summer ice will come back up. This was predictable if you studied the dynamic.
The record ice loss in 2007 (and the trend over several decades) was due to a combination of factors – none of which can be laid directly at the door of GHGs or be taken as proof of ‘global warming’ projections. (And I can give you references to top NASA scientists and NOAA oceanographers who will agree with that – the warming of the late 20th century is primarily an oceanic phenomenon driven by thinning cloud and excess short-wave radiation to the ocean surface, where it is stored and redistributed to land (and to the Arctic), with time lags – it is still an open scientific question whether such thinning cloud could be a consequence of GHGs, or whether it is a natural cycle – the fact that the cycles are now dragging down global temperatures points to the latter, and the next ten years will tell.
Please read my chapter ‘Poles Apart’ in ‘Chill: a reassessment of global warming theory’ for an understanding of Arctic dynamics (it is fully referenced – and I predicted 2009 would be up on 2008) and 2010 will almost certainly continue that upward trend.
How can I think this? Because all the Arctic warming factors (warm-water incursion from Pacific and Atlantic; cloud cover; and wind ) are related to ocean oscillations in those marine basins, as well as the 70-year Arctic Oscillation. If you check out the temperature patterns (not long term trends from 1980) you will see that all three cycles peaked around 2005-2008, and the Pacific and Atlantic inflow waters are now cooling (both in sea surface temperatures and overall heat content at depth). The Arctic will thus be deprived of its warmwater and cloud inputs. With the latest el Nino likely to be followed by a stronger La Nina – the globe will cool significantly over the next decade.
It behoves an organisation like WWF to behave responsibly in relation to science and most particularly in relation to any energy policy based upon fears of global warming – the very least you can do is to properly review the science and not simply pick those experts who will agree with you – and there are plenty of polar commentators who do not understand the marine dynamics.
It is particularly important when the international community is likely to be bounced into targets for CO2, based upon IPCC models which they themselves acknowledge cannot incorporate cycles, and which will precipitate ill-conceived renewable energy strategies which will have far-reaching implications for the very biodiversity WWF seeks to protect. And WWF has hardly begun to investigate those impacts.
And just to add – I am not some right-wing, free-market nutcase – I sat for three years on a UK government advisory panel looking at how to integrate renewable energy into landscape/community/biodiversity policies – that was what caused me to spend three years analysing the global warming science. I strongly advise WWF to instigate its own review, and my book will give you some guidance on the literature and the acute lack of real consensus on the causes of the late 20th century warming.
Please bring this mail to the notice of your senior people – at least so that you know you have some informed critics.
with regards
Peter Taylor
This was the reply:
‘Thank you for your comments.
I would recommend you listen to the whole or Professor Peter Wadham’s comments when they are posted on YouTube .’
I shall reply recommending that they publish their material in a peer-reviewed journal, and in the interim, swallow their pride and read the whole of Anthony’s post together with Tony Berry’s analysis.
In the UK, right now, we have an alliance of WWF, RSPB (bird protection), Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam and even the Woodland Trust, all campaigning to reduce carbon emissions in order to protect wildlife, or in the case of Oxfam, impoverished and starving people who depend on a stable environment. Not one has instigated their own review of the science. All have signed up to ‘Stop Climate Chaos’ and lobbied for the 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 that is now ‘legally binding’ on the UK government (I guess it could either fine itself, or put itself in jail if it fails!). That’s 3% reduction per year (and the new Climate Committee in Parliament tells us we cannot use the recession to count toward that!). I won’t comment further on the absence of any realistic means of doing that – but even the attempt will massacre the countryside, wild places, tropical forests and indigenous peoples – all the things these organisations are supposed to care about. Are there any social psychologists working on this?

Ian Blanchard

Well, at least there’s one positive to come out of this – a (reasonably) clearly stated falsifiable prediction within a time frame that many will be able to remember.
A quick google of Professor Wadhams suggests that he is widely respected in his field, and has been looking at Arctic ice for a lot longer than the current warming crisis has been going on.
This raises a couple of questions:
1) Could he be correct and all of us ameteur and semi-professional scientist/bloggers be the ones mistaken about the scientific veracity of the Caitlin expedition?
2) Is the dash for research cash now so competetive that a Cambridge University professor with an international reputation and a few years from retirement will sell himself out just to keep the funding coming in for the last few years?

M White

BBC front page 15/10/09
The panic must have set in after these articles appeared all over the net

Chance Hooper

Let me jsut say that I am a scientist by training (Chemsitry) and that this expedition is/was a joke.
Given the difficulty of accurately predicting weather patterns (when was the last time you trusted a weather report? Most people just look out of the window and guess instead), the fact that a lot of data that is supposed to show how things comapre to 10,000 years ago is actually based on a bunch of extrapolations of some fairly vague data from the Georgian era (i.e there wasn’t a whole lot of rigourous scientific data collection when people were chasing Mammoths, being invaded by the Romans or living in wattle-and-daub huts), you can confidently say that the climate will do *something*. That could, however, be another ice age, a world-wide warm-up, or absolutely nothing. The data does not go back far enough to make accurate hypotheses as, at some point, we have to make a logical jump and that, unfortunately, is where the bias of the person doing the jumping comes into play.
The fact is that when Mt St. Helens blew up, the ash cloud did more damage to the environment in terms of climate-altering emissions than every car ever made if they’d all been running non-stop from the day cars were invented. I am curious, too, to ask what the eco-terror camp would have us do for fuel and transport – we aren’t supposed to use fossil fuels (CO2 emissions, resources being used), yet we can’t burn wood (deforestation) or even use wood-fired steam power (deforestation and presumably over-humidification of the environment through steam clouds – ah, and we are supposed to have a water shortage, too), we can’t use Nuclear Fission power (scaremongering around reactor leaks, problem of radioactive waste) and we haven’t yet mastered Nuclear Fusion…
So, until we come up with a way to power generators using the waves of smug pomposity given off by the AGW brigade, I think we are doomed to be starving, cold and living in darkness….
Meanwhile, the developing nations who don’t care about Kyoto or anything else, will not be reverting to cannibalism in an attempt to find food, as they are building power stations and damming rivers like it’s going out of fashion.


Goreacle Report:
“The green jungle drums are already at full volume”.
“Terence Corcoran: Trillion-dollar black holes
The costs of climate control dwarf the financial crisis”
The green jungle drums are already at full volume in preparation for the Copenhagen climate policy extravaganza, even though the two week negotiation marathon isn’t set to open until Dec. 7. From now till mid-December, our days and nights are going to be filled with dark nightmares of global warming and bright utopian visions of the greatest reordering of economic activity since the industrial revolution — except run in reverse. No citizen of the world will be able to escape the run-up to Copenhagen where, one way or another, catastrophe looms.
At Copenhagen, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will attempt to get about 140 nations to approve a new global plan to reduce carbon emissions and, at the same time, engineer a major redistribution of money from developed nations to developing nations. An early draft of the Copenhagen agreement, to replace the collapsing Kyoto Protocol, suggests the focus is as much on redistribution as on carbon reduction, with no guarantee that any of it will have the slightest impact on carbon emissions or the global climate.
In climate policy circles, trillion-dollar transfers and programs proliferate and, in total, easily overtake the paper losses suffered by financial markets through the 2008 crisis. ” (More)


It’s also over at theDaily Telegraph, written by the increasingly ridiculous and utterly credulous Louise Gray. I’m trying to add a comment, actually just a link over to here, but the DT website is such a mess at the moment it’s not taking anything.

My top ten reason number one.
The Catlin expedition damm near won a darwin award.

Peter Plail

It’s not just the BBC. UK Channel 4 news has just devoted several minutes showing amongst other things:
1. The route leading in a straight line to the pole.
2. An animation (from Rigor & Wallace, Washington University – I’ll follow that up later) showing multiyear ice disappearing by 2008. Admittedly they did say the it was the wind wot dun it.
3. The obligatory shot of the team swimming.
4. They concluded by saying that the ice wouldn’t survive the coming summer – excuse me – the summer has been and gone and the ice is still there.
It makes me incandescent!
I am now off to complain to all the media purveying this climate pornography.

Mick J

This story is also at the London Telegraph. Comments enabled. 🙂
I found this “real” research interesting.
Follows several other papers now attributing causes for recent ice melt to more factors than the warmists would like us to believe.

Allan M R MacRae

Bill Tuttle (02:57:28) :
Could one of you much-smarter-than-I-am folks please explain to me how 39 data points miraculously expands into 1,500 holes?
Bill – the explanation is simple: The remainng 1,461 were pissholes in the snow.

Peter Plail

I have tracked down the animation used on Ignatius Rigor’s web site at:
It appears to attribute ice changes to the Beaufort Gyre. A major reduction in older ice appears to have occurred in 1989 and by October 2007 there appears to be virtually no old ice left, according to their buoys!
This just doesn’t make sense to me – perhaps a scientist could explain.
And how this relates to the Catlin extravaganza eludes me as they went over a year later.


Bill Tuttle (02:57:28)
“Could one of you much-smarter-than-I-am folks please explain to me how 39 data points miraculously expands into 1,500 holes?”
Only a suggestion, but 39 squared=1521 which is close enough for foxnews

Ron de Haan

A most effective destruction of the Catlin Hoax.
I have send the Catlin Group Ltd an e-mail with a link to WUWT.
In the mean time all over the televised media in Europe now:
1. Polar region will be an ocean in 20 years time!
2. Climate Change is causing a dramatic increase in the number of natural disasters:
Tropical Storms, droughts, earthquakes, floods and sea level rise!
The alarmist media campaign of the loons will at least continue until the Copenhagen Climate Conference.


What rigorous double-blind protocols were employed in this “experiment”? His data might be correct, but it’s impossible to trust because of the inherent bias. We only have his word that he even bothered to drill, because the real kit never worked.
“I’ve been slogging away for hours through the ice. I’m beyond cold. Hmm, maybe I’ll just write down 1.83, 1.92, er, 1.69. Done.”

I have not seen a report from the Catlin expedition dated later than June 2009. I wonder why the sudden publicity. I suspect this is merely another in a long list of doom and gloom stories from the warmaholics in the lead up to Copenhagen. All sound and fury, signifying nothing (Shakespear).


Sadly journalists have no idea about science… not the slightest intuition it seems. So anything sensationalist immediately makes it way onto the web/broadsheet. It certainly makes it challenging for the lay person to see the wood for the trees these days, let alone the tree rings…

Frank K.

Chance Hooper (03:59:09) :
“Let me just say that I am a scientist by training (Chemsitry) and that this expedition is/was a joke.”
I agree that the “science” here was a joke, but the expedition certainly was NOT a joke, but rather a carefully executed marketing plan by a huge Bermuda-based insurance company. Of this I have no doubt. The fact that you are seeing these press releases in the news many months after the demise of the Catalin debacle is a testament to the marketing plan’s effectiveness.

Przemysław Pawełczyk

@Robin Guenier (03:22:10) :
The BBC is now giving this story huge prominence (2 column picture with scary headline) at the top of its website:
BBC World repeats the … throughout the world via Internet Radio (for sure, I’ve heard the … 5 min ago, after the news) and shortwave broadcasting (possible).
How can we/you fight with this world sci scam efficiently not having reliable and popular global media network? Global brainwashing… WUWT readers are only a freak tiny minority to them, the “media gods”.

Who would benefit from announced disaster stories? Insurance companies perhaps?


There was a nice summary of the Catlin nonsense here:
This is what Penn Hadow gets out of it:
Peter Wadhams has been pushing this theme for years and was part of the “40% ice loss shown by submarine data” along with Rothrock. This was challenged by Greg Holloway and reported by the BBC:
It was addressed here:
..rather than either melting or export, the apparent ice loss was only a shifting location of ice within the Arctic such that the sampling pattern of the submarines missed the shift.
Large-scale wind patterns are ever changing, and the Large-scale wind patterns are ever changing, and the Arctic ice pack is readily rearranged.
(Didn’t NASA discover this again recently?)
Hypothesise that the five early cruises each occurred one year earlier (Sept 1957, 59, 61, 69 and 75) and the three later cruises each one year later (Sept 1994, 97, 98), spreading out the baseline on which to detect change.
What would the result have been? The submarine surveys would have shown no change at all to average Arctic ice thickness. Thus the actual results from the actual submarine surveys appear to be a fluke of timing coupled with a natural mode of Arctic sea-ice variability.
Observations to date, together with model physics, imply only that the loss of sea ice volume is not inconsistent with the 3% per decade loss of ice area, a modest rate itself not inconsistent with multi-decadal natural variability.

George S.

What bunk! Look at how the warmists are frothing…here are three headlines from “objective and dispassionate” media sources:
Explorers: North Pole summers ice free in 10 years
By Maresa Patience, Associated Press Writer – Wed Oct 14, 8:59 pm ET
Arctic to be ice-free in summer in 20 years: scientist
By Peter Griffiths, Reuters – Thu Oct 15, 4:46 am ET
Arctic ice cap ‘to disappear in future summers’
By Elodie Mazein, AFP – Thu Oct 15, 4:35 am ET
I’m considering buying some northern Alaska shoreline property for the family to summer. We may adopt a few seal pups to keep in the backyard. No need to worry about polar bears…there are hardly any about.


It is regrettable that the authors of the study were not conversant with the records of the Cook expedition in 1908 or the Peary expedition in 1909.
Peary’s report is full of remarks about leads, the difficulties he occasioned in crossing them, and the incredibly dangerous return trip south. He was more worried about drowning than freezing.
The solid, impermeable ice cap is a myth.
Perhaps there once was one, 12,000 years ago.
But not within the past 10,000 years or so.

Bill Illis

The logic of an ice-free summer is based on extrapolating the assumption that the thinner ice will cause an ever-increasing melt each year.
But the thinnest ice was 2007 and we have had two years of significant recovery since then.
Obviously, thinner ice is more likely to melt so the assumption is not horribly wrong. It is just that there are far more factors that have to considered (and global warming types don’t like to look at other factors – its greenhouse and melting 24/7/365 and that is all they can think about).

Come on guys, I thought we put this boondoggle to rest months ago.
A little googling for Peter Wadhams came up with:
Each with a different Email address. I sent to both:
Subject: Be careful of an association with the Catlin Arctic Ice Survey
I followed their efforts this spring on Anthony Watt’s Watts Up With That
blog and the Survey’s web pages themselves. My conclusion was that it
was a ruse to garner funding for expedition on the ice cap. Their contribution
to science is virtually nil, and what there is tainted by personal beliefs,
poor planning and a quest for attention.
All this is well summarized in (gawd I hope this is the last) article
Why these folks get so much attention for following a route on young ice and
finding young ice is beyond me.
A much more interesting story is the recovery in Arctic ice since 2007.
-Ric Werme