Risking lives and property to promote climate change hype

Yet another global warming expedition gets trapped in icebound ideology

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 provide the latest example. He and 51 co-believers set outexpedition 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 [see photo — laughing and singing on New Year’s Eve at others’ expense!]. 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 U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Polar Star. (Meanwhile, Turney 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. Turney 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 Daleo 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 Turney’s personal liability?

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

LivIn 2007, Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen (photo) 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 (photo) chimed in.Guilbeault

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.”

amundsenIn 1903, during the first year of his 3-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.

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About the Author: Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen

Paul Driessen is senior policy advisor for CFACT and author of Cracking Big Green and Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death.

  • Arno_Arrak

    First, there is no such thing as anthropogenic
    global warming. Hansen was just plain wrong about that in 1988. Second, as a corollary, no warming since the start of the twentieth century qualifies as man-made warming. I will explain. The strongest argument against anthropogenic warming is the existence of that Hiatus or whatever they call cessation of warming. I have already made the point that this is due to the failure of the Arrhenius greenhouse warming theory that IPCC has been relentlessly pushing. It applies to only one greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. The correct theory of greenhouse gases was published by the Hungarian scientist Ferenc Miskolczi. It covers the general case where more than one greenhouse gas are simultaneously absorbing infrared radiation. In such a case there is a common optimum absorption window that they jointly maintain. For earth atmosphere the gases that matter are carbon dioxide and water vapor. Their joint optimum absorption window has an optical thickness of 1.87 in the infrared. If you now add more carbon dioxide to the air it will start to absorb IR, just as the Arrhenius theory tells us. But that will increase the optical thickness and as soon as this happens, water vapor will start to diminish, rain out, and the optimum optical thickness is restored. This is exactly what is happening now. But how come it started so suddenly, you might ask. It did not start suddenly because of falsified temperature data we have been getting from the IPCC. There was an 18 year long “hiatus” like today in the eighties and nineties that was covered up by a fake warming called the “late twentieth century warming.” I scoped it out when I wrote my book and even put a warning about it in the preface. Nothing happened for two years but then I discovered that GISTEMP, HadCRUT, and NCDC had decided not to show this warming any more. What they did as to line up their data for this period with satellites which never showed this fake warming. It was done secretly and no explanation was offered. Also, it required trans-Atlantic coordination to work right. If you now add this eighteen year no-warming period to current no-warming hiatus (or whatever) you get 35 no-warming years, a longer period than the time that IPCC has even existed. And while I think of it, the IPCC came into existence in part because of the success of Hansen’s presentation to the Senate in 1988. This basically started the entire global warming movement because everyone thought that Hansen had proved that the greenhouse effect is warming up the world. I went back to see what he actually said and Congressional Record did have a written record. He opened his talk by stating that “…global warming is now large enough that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect…” He elaborated on that with: “Causal association requires first that the warming be larger than natural climate variability and,
    second, that the magnitude and nature of the warming be consistent with the greenhouse mechanism.” Nothing about the laws of physics, just warming is enough to prove it’s the greenhouse effect. And nowhere does he tell us what that mechanism is that he is talking about. His figure 1 is a 100 year temperature curve that ends with the 5th month of 1988. The hearing was the following month, on June 23rd, because Senator Wirth, the committee chairman, knew that it was the warmest day of the year. This was a repeat of his 1987 presentation that did not draw any media. This time there were TV cameras “in double figures” present as Wirth put it. Combine the warmest day of the year with air conditioning disabled by Wirth and what you get is a “show and tell” warming lesson. Hansen’s first temperature graph showed the temperature going up in a ragged way and reaching a peak. Its high point was 1988 and Hansen said it was the warmest point within the last 100 years. He went on and asserted that the probability of such a warm peak happening by chance alone was only one percent. Hence, the existence of this warming proved that greenhouse warming had started. If we accept his temperature graph it did give the impression that there was a relentless buildup of temperature leading
    up to that fateful day in Wahington D.C.. He also had computer projections that went up to 2019 and showed dangerous warming ahead. So far, so good, and if you are not suspicious you could be excused for accepting all this as truth. But here is the problem. Looking at an accurate temperature curve with monthly, not yearly, resolution this story simply does not make sense. Satellites show that there was an ENSO oscillation between 1979 and 1997. There are five El Nino peaks within that period. The year 1988 happens to be the peak year of the 1987/88 El Nino. Just exactly how did Hansen manage to mix up an El Nino that is part of a repeating oscillation with a global warming peak? It is not easy but there are clues. First of all, yearly temperature increments do not show details of an ENSO oscillation very well. Their raggedness prevents you from seeing the pattern of peaks and valleys, and peak shapes. As a result, temperature comparisons that should be straightforward simply get distorted, like this: “…1988 so far is so much warmer than 1987, that barring a remarkable and improbable cooling, 1988 will be the warmest year on record.” But it ain’t so. Look up 1987 and 1988 on a satellite curve and you will find that they are exactly the same, for the simple reason that they are the twin peaks of the 1987/88 El Nino. As to that improbable cooling, it did arrive by year’s end when a La Nina moved in but the meeting was already over. The only conclusion you can draw from his presentation is that he was clueless about temperature and simply did not understand that his warming peak was not caused by the greenhouse
    effect but simply part of a repeating pattern of ENSO oscillations. Had he used satellite temperatures that were already available for ten years at the time of his presentation, and also accurately plotted them, he just might have avoided this major gaffe. In short: Hansen falsely claimed the existence of the greenhouse effect in 1988 because he did not have a clue of how to analyze global temperature. If you now compare recorded temperature rise and recorded increase of carbon dioxide they do not match. Carbon dioxide curve is smooth except for a yearly wiggle caused by the loss and regrowth of leaves in the northern hemisphere. Global temperature goes up and down and has jerks in it. To start a greenhouse warming laws of physics demand that you must add carbon dioxide to air. There are no jerks in the carbon dioxide curve, hence no greenhouse warmings that start with a jerk. The biggest sustained warming of the twentieth century started in 1910 and stopped in 1940. Between these dates it raised global temperature by half a degree. There was no increase of carbon dioxide in 1910, hence under no circumstances can this warming be called greenhouse warming. The total warming for the twentieth century was 0.8 degrees, of which this 0.5 degrees has been shown to be non-anthropogenic. This leaves just 0.3 degrees that could still conceivably be called greenhouse warming. The next warming on record is a step warming that followed the 1998 super El Nino. In three years it raised global temperature by a third of a degree and then stopped. It was oceanic in nature and again there was no increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide when it started. Hence, it too was non-anthropogenic and thereby takes away the remaining 0.3 degrees that remains of twentieth century warming. This means that there was no anthropogenic warming whatsoever during the entire twentieth century. Just what you would expect from Hansen’s
    misidentification of an El Nino peak for global warming. As to our century, it
    has all been taken up by that “Hiatus” of no-warming years. With that, we can say that AGW simply does not exist. Hence, the innumerable and irrational laws and regulations passed to fight a non-existent warming are all
    for nothing. It has cost trillions. All this must be invalidated, defunded, and stopped. An investigation of how so much pseudo-science could be foisted upon the public is needed.

  • jameshrust

    I think the Antarctic “Ship of Fools” trip clearly illustrates the mindset of climate alarmists–they don’t think about the consequences of what they do on other people. Many disaster have resulted on trips to the Antarctic, Scott and Shackelton come immediately to mind, and lives are lost. Anyone visiting the area should make through investigations of what they planning. Continuous up-to-date records of ice extent in the Antarctic and Arctic are featured on the Internet by Cryosphere.
    The Industrial Revolution that uplifted much of the planet’s inhabitants to longer, more healthy, wealthy, and pleasant lifestyles was started and supported by abundant, inexpensive, and safe fossil fuels. Coal being the initial fuel. Parts of the world today still have no access to electricity and live lives of those centuries ago. To abolish use of fossil fuels because of the false premise carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is causing catastrophic global warming will consign those without electricity to perpetual poverty and propel the rest of us to their unfortunate lifestyles.
    This mindset displayed by climate alarmists shows no thought about welfare of others. For that matter, it also shows a total lack of knowledge about detailed history of this planet.
    James H. Rust, Professor of nuclear engineering

  • Eckenhuijsen Smit

    Your article and both “comments” are to be read by everybody who really wants to know what idiocy has come out of alarmist’s minds and pens.
    I´m completely with you for more than 30 years already!