Saving the Antarctic scientists, er media, er, activists, er tourists trapped by sea ice

UPDATE2: get a load of the hilarious announcement from the expedition, where they claim sea ice is disappearing, see update 2 below.

UPDATE3: A film (now a video) has been found from 1912 showing Mawson landing in ice free Commonwealth Bay in 1912. see update 3 below.

UPDATE4: Bad weather has forced the Aurora Australis to back off from its rescue attempt. See below.

UPDATE5: See my opinion piece on why this is a fiasco

There’s quite an ongoing worldwide fascination over the So much sea ice in Antarctica that a research vessel gets stuck, in summer! episode with the ship Akademik Shokalskiy we first reported on WUWT.

I think it was best summed up by this Tweet:

Now, after the first rescue ship The “Snow Dragon” failed:

Which we see in the distance here…


…all eyes are now on the Aurora Australis, which was trapped in ice for 3 weeks last month.

But, even that ship seems to have trouble picking through the sea ice. here is the webcam from the bow of the Aurora Australis:


Link to webcam:

Supposedly, the ice around the Akademik Shokalskiy 3-4 meters thick.

Then there’s the comedy of a scientific research expedition disguised as a junket for activists and reporters, such as this guy, tweeting up a storm from on-board:


The other fellow, Chris Turney, has some science credentials, but also has a propensity for wackadoodle alarmism as we see in this WUWT post: Now it’s 2°C climate change target ‘not safe’

Mostly, it’s a media sponsored event, presumably so they can tell us how terrible things are in Anarctica with melting and such:

WUWT reader “pat” writes at  2013/12/26 at 1:59 pm

seems this expedition was more a BBC/Guardian/ABC CAGW exercise!

18 Dec: Guardian: The Guardian lays claim to Antarctica – in pictures Journalists Alok Jha and Laurence Topham have landed in Antarctica with the 2013 Australasian Antarctic Expedition Documentary filmmaker Laurence Topham lines up a shot from the bows. Photograph: Alok Jha/Guardian…

Guardian: Laurence Topham, documentary filmmaker

In 2007 he worked for Current TV, where he edited over 50 short-form documentaries for terrestrial broadcast…


26 Dec: BBC: Andrew Luck-Baker: Science continues for trapped Australasian Antarctic expedition Science reporter Andrew Luck-Baker is on board the Russian research vessel Shokalskiy, covering the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013 for the BBC World Service programme Discovery…

Tantalisingly, a low band of grey sky to the Northeast suggests clear water lies not so many kilometres away. The grey colour is light reflected from open water. The early Antarctic explorers named this colour phenomenon “water sky” and used it to navigate their route through the treacherous pack ice…

In addition to the Russian crew of 22, the expedition team consists of 18 professional scientists from Australia and New Zealand, and 22 volunteer science assistants. They are members of the public, ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s. They paid to join the scientific adventure…

25 Nov: ABC Lateline: $1.5 million Australian expedition to Antarctica Professor Chris Turney from the University of NSW is mounting the largest Australian science expeditions to the Antarctic with an 85-person team to try to answer questions about how climate change in the frozen continent might be already shifting weather patterns in Australia.

ABC’s MARGOT O’NEILL: The research stakes are high. Antarctica is one of the great engines driving the world’s oceans, winds and weather, especially in Australia. But there’s ominous signs of climate change.

CHRIS TURNEY: The Southern Hemisphere westerly winds encircle Antarctica, and over the last 20 or 30 years or so, they’ve been pushing further south. Now – so actually in a way it’s almost like Antarctica’s withdrawing itself from the rest of the world…

EMMA ALBERICI: And tomorrow night, in the second part of this special report, could the British Antarctic explorer Robert Scott have lived? We look at how Professor Turney discovered that choosing the right team can be a matter of life and death.

Meanwhile, in the “Spirit of Mawson” Spirit of “never let a good crisis go to waste”, the folks on-board have realized the world is watching, and decided to make a pitch for money at their website, presumably to fund next year’s research media junket:


Mother nature doesn’t seem to care about the comedy either way, as Antarctic sea ice is still over 2 standard deviations above normal.

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – Click the pic to view at source


UPDATE1: Thanks to Roger Tattersall “Tallbloke” who writes:

I’m amused to see Global Warmist Professor Chris Turney’s expedition to Antarctica to retrace polar explorer Douglas Mawson’s route and replicate measurements has run into a spot of bother.


Here’s an old news report on Mawson’s expedition


It looks like that part of the Antarctic was warmer in Mawson’s day than now. In fact the antarctic is currently colder than it has been for a long time. The high latitudes of the Southern Ocean have been cooling since the 1980′s according to SST data.

UPDATE2: You can’t make this stuff up. This is from a story covering the incident and the announcement made by the expedition:


Um, no, sea ice isn’t disappearing right now, it is growing in the Arctic and within two standard deviations:

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – click to view at source

Two standard deviations above normal in the Antarctic:

National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) – Click the pic to view at source

And above normal globally:

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – Click the pic to view at source


A video has been found from 1912 showing Mawson landing in ice free Commonwealth Bay in 1912.


UPDATE4: The Times of India reports:

SYDNEY: Bad weather on Monday forced back an Australian icebreaker struggling to reach a scientific expedition ship stranded off Antarctica, while snow and winds have prevented a helicopter rescue, authorities said.

The Aurora Australis made it to within 10 nautical miles of the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is stuck in an ice field, before retreating in the face of freezing winds and snow showers.

“Adverse weather conditions have resulted in the Australian Antarctic Division vessel Aurora Australis moving back into open water this afternoon,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.



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k scott denison

Warmists meet Mother Nature and… MN wins, as always.


If the ice is there, then send some polar bears down there too. Problem solved!


You can’t make this stuff up – the AGW dude stuck in ice along with the Australian Green Party senator and their ilk. Priceless!

Tamino and friends might compute now the chances that the one sciency boat down there is trapped exactly in the presumably one place where Antarctic sea ice is accumulating beyond icebreaking capability.
Remember the mantra, Antarctic sea ice doesn’t matter because it melts almost completely in the summer.

Mary Wilbur

They are putting up a good front. I wonder how the sanitary conditions are.


Enter “Aurora Australis” for close to real time ship position information. It currently looks like the ship is within the ice line presented by NSIDC.

Jeff Alberts

If they really felt that lack of sea ice was a problem, they wouldn’t be waiting on icebreakers to rescue them.
Hopefully they purchased sufficient carbon credits to save the rest of us from them.

Bob Diaz

Where’s Global Warming when you REALLY need it? ;-))

James Allison

Troubled times ahead when they run out of coffee.

I wonder who picks up the tab. That’s got to cost a small fortune to send three icebreakers thousands of miles.

Lord Galleywood

I’ve just had a look at the webcam for Aurora and clicked on the stern cam – Someone has wrote “Green” with some other writing in the snow on the burning deck – Answers on a postcard please.


@Mary Wilbur likely to match their sanity condition very soon.


Anyone taking bets that this will be reported in an honest manner by our ever-so-unbiased media?

Jeff Alberts

I;m sure they’ve got an eco-deal with Starbucks to airlift in some lattes, all carbon-neutral, of course.

Well, it is now Monday in their neck of the woods and not a peep of a successful rescue.


@albertalad – send food, diesel, and biodegradable bog paper, shut off their internet, leave them there.

Poetic justice! They have been telling the world that we need to pay high taxes on fossil fuels to stop AGW; they get stuck in the substance they say is disappearing (clearly it isn’t), needing icebreakers burning fossil fuels to attempt to rescue them.


It would be wise for the local penguins to keep their distance, even a starving greenie could turn into a veracious carnivore!

R. de Haan

According to Reuters it’s cracking up (and disappearing LOL):

David Ball

I hope they will be ok. They have underestimated the ice, so I hope they do not underestimate the very real danger they are in.


What are the scientific objectives of this cruise?

Mac the Knife

At last – true Environmental Justice in action! In the most direct and immediately tangible terms, the expanding ice pack surrounds them with blunt and massive evidence that their beliefs are wrong. Yet, they continue to preach the AGW dogma, even as the antarctic climate tries to kill them. If that isn’t a hallmark of religious environmentalism, I don’t know what would be!
ABC’s MARGOT O’NEILL: The research stakes are high. ….But there’s ominous signs of climate change. Indeed, Margot. Ominously, the incredibly thick and extensive pack ice is trying to crush your ship!
Adding insult to their hypocritical injuries to the environment, consider of all of the energy, money, human effort, and resulting emissions/’pollution’ being needlessly expended to ‘rescue’ these enviro-miscreants from their own ice folly. Ahhhh – the massive, ice cold irony!


Looks like the Golgafrincham (Ark)(Antarc?) ship B has landed in Antarctica….and instead
of the captain spending time in a bubble bath, he’s worrying about his next cup of coffee….
Hope they bill the Grauniad back for this misadventure….even if AGW manniacs fiddle
the numbers, managing editors shouldn’t (then again, turning this episode into a disaster
is probably doing wonders for their circulation)…
Oh, how I love the smell of yellow journalism in the morning….not…


“In 1998, the Aurora Australis became stranded in ice and was towed into clear water by the Japanese icebreaker Shirase.”
Well, that doesn’t bode well for a successful mission. Neither does this bit of information:
“Aurora Australis can break level ice up to 1.23 metres (4 ft 0 in) thick at 2.5 knots.”
So how are they going to break through 3-4 meters of ice if 1.23 meters is their maximum?


But the models said there would be no ice!
The ice MUST be wrong.

Mac the Knife

It is fair to note that, while antarctic sea ice pack is at + 2 sigma levels, the arctic sea ice pack is nearing – 2 sigma levels again.

Aurora Australis is a ship of fools!
God bless their souls for they are up against a great irony.

Steve B

Headlines you won’t see.
Green Activists Rescued by Fossil Fuels
Anti Fossil Fuel Advocates Rescued by Fossil Fuel

Stephen Richards

C’mon guys and girls, this is special ice. It is intelligent ice. It knew they were coming and, supported by skeptics, it has ambushed their ship. But, not to worry, because they are not on a junket, oh no, this is real science. They are going to find that the water under the ice is 10°C warmer than the ice and this heat is causing the ice to float just above the water so it can move around more freely.


If I remember right, Mawson came back across the ice alone, his face so disfigured that the first man to reach him cried out “My God, which one are you?”
Perhaps not the best person after whom to name ones expedition.

Lil Fella from OZ

This is a classic. It beats writing article after article to denounce their lies. And who pays for the rescue of these idiots? What if the third attempt fails? Helicopters have to be sent in to pick them up. The Australian taxpayer pays.

lemiere jacques

deniers! thermal expansion of ice…that s where the missing heat is.
more ice in volume more heat.


Our local Gannett rag (The Staunton Newsleader, Staunton, VA) published an AP report in our Sunday paper stating that Chris Turney is heroically leading the rescue party for the poor, trapped cruise ship. I kid you not. Hilarious pretzel twisting mis-reporting to Cover their Bi-asses.


@GlynnMhor – Our modern fossil-fuel-powered industrial state will probably prevent the current bunch of warmist tweetmongers from being slapped by reality hard enough to force them to reevaluate their position.

Rob Ricket

Look what is written in the ice on the aft deck of the rescue ship:

Swiss Bob

Lord Galleywood,
At the end of the word ‘Green’ the ‘other writing’ is clearly a snow-angel made by someone lying down on the deck.
No idea what it’s supposed to mean though.

A. Scott

Seems like the Al Gore effect in play …

Chuck Nolan

I didn’t catch his name but, is Al Gore aboard?
Sure sounds like his M.O.
Summertime….cold weather…lots of ice…yep, that sounds like Al.

What is the symbol following green? It looks kind of like a toilet in profile.
Surely, since they’re devoted faithful, summer will save this ship of fools; in a day or three or more, much more.
Now who in Australia and perhaps New Zealand and Great Britain can FOI these rascals for their funding?
Also, does Australia have penalty fees for using the ice breaker for rescuing silly humans devoid of common sense? I sure hope so!

“Then there’s the comedy of a scientific research expedition disguised as a junket”
“Then there’s the comedy of a junket disguised as a scientific research expedition” ?


The Arctic canoe fiasco, involving a bunch of even more naive true believers, also ended with too much ice. They, too, blamed the winds. Yes, the winds – must be because of climate change. Sigh….


Mac the Knife says:
December 29, 2013 at 12:04 pm
“It is fair to note that, while antarctic sea ice pack is at + 2 sigma levels, the arctic sea ice pack is nearing – 2 sigma levels again.”
Should that not read “….the arctic sea ice pack is FINALLY nearing – 2 sigma levels again.” /sarc

JJM Gommers

In the video I see them walking on very “thin” ice.

North of 43 and south of 44

David Ball says:
December 29, 2013 at 11:47 am
I hope they will be ok. They have underestimated the ice, so I hope they do not underestimate the very real danger they are in.
They already have.

Iain Logan

Thought you might enjoy this little pearler from the scientists on board, via NatGeo
Prince Harry supposedly reached the South Pole earlier this month, but debate later broke out about the multiple—three, to be exact—South Poles in the area.
Why is this the case? Let’s remember, the South Pole is essentially on a huge chunk of ice, which means the continent of Antarctica is constantly shifting around and moving.
Throw in global warming and ocean currents and you’ve got the recipe for a South Pole that moves about 33 feet (10 meters) per year.
Then there’s the idea of a magnetic South Pole, which also isn’t exactly steady, as it’s been shown to move northward toward Australia about six to nine miles (10 to 15 kilometers) per year.
From here

Alan Robertson

Andres Valencia says:
December 29, 2013 at 12:07 pm
Aurora Australis is a ship of fools!
God bless their souls for they are up against a great irony.
Pardon, but you have your ships mixed up.


The Guardian reports that air evacuation may be required (oh the horror of all CO2 from the helicopters). Fails to mention global warming in any way, fails to mention that Guardian reporters are on board. Does mention (quite bizarrely) that problems may arise “…if an iceberg began moving towards the ship.” I have to wonder how an iceberg can plow through the pack ice when icebreakers can’t?

Peter Miller

I am really very concerned about the carbon footprint of this rescue attempt and also that the reputations of these worthy individuals may suffer, which would be bad for the Cause.
If only the great Gorebot was there, it would be fun to hear his spin on this very obvious example of man made global warming.