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On Global Warming, Denial, Ice, and The MV Akademik Shokalskiy

People who find it politically inconvenient to believe that global warming is real are taking glee at the suffering on board the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, a boat filled with climatologists that’s stuck in frozen waters near Antarctica. They’re writing articles suggesting that the existence of thick ice near Antarctica somehow suggests that global warming is a hoax.

Ice deniers on Antarctic mission find themselves in an unexpected jam is the headline in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

The Australian published an article entitled, Stuck on a ship of (cold) fools.

Readers of the Daily Telegraph see the In the icy grip of fear that global warming is claptrap.

The Salem News writes under the heading Global warming expedition stuck in ice … hmmmm.

Get the idea? These articles intimate, without producing scientific evidence, that global warming can’t possibly be a genuine climatological trend as long as some places on earth get cold sometimes. It’s the sort of logic that might lead a person to deny the existence of floods, after seeing a television news reporter talking about floods while standing on dry land.

A cold, hard fact that none of these articles bothered to mention is that the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows that the extent of arctic sea ice is now at a record low level for this date – about two standard deviations below the average arctic sea ice extent for this date over the last three decades.

arctic sea ice new years eve 2013

7 comments to On Global Warming, Denial, Ice, and The MV Akademik Shokalskiy

  • chas

    I think you need to read that report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center again. It says that the ice in the Arctic is WITHIN two standard deviations of the normal level, not two standard deviations below, and it also says that the level of Antarctic ice (the subject in discussion) is unusually high. Sorry about the inconvenient truth, but the ship now stuck in the Antarctic was trying to prove that it could sail in the newly warmed sea. The idiots who are sailing it did not set out to show they would get stuck in the ice, did they, but stuck in the ice they are.

    • Green Man

      Okay, chas, it’s “within” two standard deviations in the same way that 99.8 is not 100 but below it. if you want to quibble about the tiny difference, you win, but… the subject of discussion is not Antarctic ice. It’s global warming and climate change. The writers of these idiotic articles are trying to suggest that because ice is thick in one area of the earth, global warming can’t possibly be happening.

      • chas

        According to the BBC, “One of the aims [of the ship’s voyage] was to track how quickly the Antarctic’s sea ice was disappearing. These goofs were setting out to “prove” global warming by sailing in the Antarctic ocean and not getting stuck. They got stuck. A similar thing happened a year or so ago in the Arctic. The problem is that world temperatures have not risen since 1998. But it’s always highly amusing when the global warming community provide their pseudo-scientific explanation for the unexplainable. In this case it is that the warmer oceans cause more ice to form. In the UK extraordinarily cold weather has been “explained” to result from global warming. Consider this: if I told you that we were going into the next ice age (as scientists thought, and told us, in the 1970s) and you rather doubted it, how convinced would you be that episodes of warm weather and melting ice were proof of the impending permafrost? No, I thought not. Please examine the evidence and think the conclusions through for yourself, rather than following the ballyhoo from the global warming industry, which has staked everything on its new secular religion, and will tell any lie and encourage every distortion it can get away with in order to keep its increasingly ridiculous show on the road.

  • Tom

    Oh, right chas – this one incident clearly shows that global warming hasn’t been happening since scientists decided to look at the actual temperatures all over the planet and noticed the trend has been toward increased warming for decades we can all just laugh it off as a silly joke.

    Fukushima isn’t doing any harm to anyone either I suppose.

  • Tom

    Here’s a little more information for you.

    http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/the-rescue-of-akademik-shakalskiy.html

    Climate Citizen,

    31 December, 2013

    I came across an article lambasting the Australian Antarctic Expedition scientists on board the MV Akademik Shokalskiy trapped by fast ice since Christmas Eve in the Commonwealth Bay region of Antarctica. Climate scientists and tourists are on board the vessel on the Spirit of Mawson voyage, retracing Sir Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic expedition.

    The ship found itself locked in thick ice after experiencing blizzard conditions which moved and piled up ice flows.

    Ships can get trapped by pack ice in polar waters very quickly during blizzards. Pack ice moves around with wind conditions, and it is not uncommon for ships to become temporarily locked in the ice even during peak summer conditions in Antarctica.

    But Daniel Greenfield seems to think a ship trapped in Antarctic summer sea ice is a negation of global warming and the science involved in climate change. He is not alone…

    His view probably had it’s origins in the climate sceptical website Watts Up with That where Anthony Watts wrote: So much sea ice in Antarctica that a research vessel gets stuck, in summer!.

    But Mr Greenfield, or Anthony Watts for that matter, made little attempt to explain the complex science involved with understanding Antarctic sea ice.

    [please read the explanation]

    In November 2012 I reported on the puzzle of Record Antarctic Sea Ice Growth in an article where I explained that (Holland et al 2012) argued that atmospheric variability in the form of local winds was pushing the ice northwards creating space for new sea ice to form.

    In my blog from April 2013 on the Antarctic Paradox: ocean warming melting ice shelves causing sea ice expansion I explain the paper by (Bintanja et al 2013) in which they argue that the freshly melted cool and fresh water from the Antarctic land mass forms a surface layer protecting sea ice and helping it’s expansion insulating it from the deeper warm salty currents.

    Peter Sinclair from the Yale Climate Forum produced this video in November 2012 which also explains Antarctic Sea ice growth: [see 7 min. video]

    A paper this year (Zhang 2013) by Jinlun Zhang, from the University of Washington, argues that about 80 percent of the growth can be explained by changes in the prevailing winds around the frozen continent – the westerlies; the remaining 20 percent, he suspects, might be the result of changes in ocean circulation.

    “The overwhelming evidence is that the Southern Ocean is warming,” said author Jinlun Zhang, an oceanographer at the UW Applied Physics Laboratory. “Why would sea ice be increasing? Although the rate of increase is small, it is a puzzle to scientists.”

    The sea ice growth trend in Antarctica is small compared with the amount being lost in the Arctic, so that there is an overall significant decrease in sea ice worldwide.

    Zhang anticipates that warmer temperatures will eventually resolve the apparent contradiction.

    “If the warming continues, at some point the trend will reverse,” Zhang said.


  • chris aucote

    The vast majority of evidence from around the world shows that climate change never stops. Global warming also does seem to be happening. What is not so clear from evidence I’ve come across so far (which is not exhaustive and I’m not an expert by any stretch of the imagination) is that it is carbon dioxide levels from humans that is causing it. However, it would be folly to ignore the possibility and not research it. And it would be even greater folly not to research global warming and its effects right now, whether we’re behind it or not. Just because we might not be the main cause of it, doesn’t mean we don’t have to deal with it. Remember that there’s a huge portion of humanity that live on coastlines which are all under threat. We may find that it is more to do with the incredible amount of sulphur dioxide that we’re polluting the atmosphere with too (which is far more reflective than co2).
    Or we may possibly stumble across other important information that at least might show us how best to deal with it. It’s research worth doing, either way. Gloating about scientists stuck in ice doesn’t shed any light on the argument either way.

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