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December 28th 2013 print

Roger Franklin

Cold Comfort For Antarctic Warmists

They set out to compare Douglas Mawson's century-old observations with their own modern readings, but a stranded band of true-believing, Australian-led warmists has discovered there is still plenty of ice in Antarctica. Also, that embarrassment can be almost as painful as frostbite

iceberg dragonSomewhere in a parallel universe a prominent climate scientist much given to doom-laden predictions leads an Antarctic expedition of likeminded warmists intent on chronicling the damage mankind’s CO2 emissions are doing to our fragile planet. His party finds the polar sea largely free of ice and he concludes that whales and penguins are in all sorts of trouble as waters warm and food sources vanish.

After re-tracing the route of Douglas Mawson’s expedition and comparing his measurements and findings with contemporary readings, everyone voyages back home, the  ABC sends a camera crew to the dock and that night’s news  is  another warmist sermon dressed up as that fabled stuff  “quality journalism”. This report is further amplified by 7.30, Four Corners, Q&A, Lateline and Radio National staffers working overtime to expand upon a point the expedition leader has been making for some time:

“Antarctica continues to experience change, seemingly not all of it natural, with some parts of the continent warming five times faster than the world average.”

Alas for University of New South Wales ardent warmist and climatologist Professor Chris Turney cold reality has turney interviews tweetmelted his plans while failing to remove a scintilla of ice from the pack in which his ship has been hopelessly jammed since before Christmas. This was not  what he expected, as the ABC explained in the bally-hooed lead-up to the departure of the Australian Research Council-supported “scientist, explorer and writer” and five dozen of his fellow warmists:

Expedition leader Professor Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales says Mawson and his team collected hundreds of thousands of measurements on the frozen continent that have become critical to charting signs of global warming.

“They’d have been blown away to know their science has become more important than ever,” he said.

Professor Turney and his UNSW colleague Professor Chris Fogwill are leading a team of 60 scientists, including meteorologists, marine ecologists, oceanographers, ice-core and tree-ring specialists.

The research stakes are high because the Antarctic is one of the great engines of the world’s oceans, winds and weather, especially in Australia.

Already scientists believe there is evidence of climate change.

“The southern hemisphere westerly winds encircle Antarctica and over the last 20 or 30 years or so they’ve been pushing further south,” Professor Turney said.

“It’s almost like Antarctica is withdrawing itself from the rest of the world.”

Withdrawing itself from the world, eh? Well Antarctica has certainly withdrawn Turney, whose vessel has just been reached by a Chinese icebreaker. Reports this morning (Dec. 28) on the radio were guardedly optimistic, but they did mention that a helicopter could shuttle the 74 aboard to safety if the icebound explorers are obliged to abandon ship.

UPDATE : At last report the rescue ship was itself stuck in those not-quite-melting ice floes.

And here is something else that has been withdrawn: Any mention in press coverage that Turney and colleagues headed south to assess the ongoing impact of global warming. The closest any report comes to describing the expedition’s original purpose is the rather inadequate explanation that it is an attempt at “recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson’s century-old voyage to Antarctica.” When Turney is quoted he is mentioned only as a common or garden-variety “professor”, not as UNSW’s official Professor of Climate Change.

Anthropogenic global warming may or may not be altering the planet, but the lack of it can certainly mess up even the best planned scientific expedition/PR offensive.

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online