Dec 30, 2013

Ironic Ice Traps Scientists

Deep deep into the to the southern reaches of the planet's polar cap - where, it is currently summer, a group of climate scientists have become trapped. In ice. Really bad, thick ice. If by some chance you have missed the Alanis Morissette song, you're not the only one. 

Notice how the Associated Press story does too:
The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 7 miles (11 kilometers) of the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, but had to retreat after the ice became too thick, said expedition spokesman Alvin Stone.
The Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been on a research expedition to Antarctica, got stuck Tuesday after a blizzard's whipping winds pushed the sea ice around the ship, freezing it in place. The ship wasn't in danger of sinking, and there are weeks' worth of supplies for the 74 scientists, tourists and crew on board, but the vessel cannot move.
So is the exact mission of these scientists? AP is rather vague about this reporting only:
The scientific team on board the research ship — which left New Zealand on Nov. 28 — had been recreating Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's century-old voyage to Antarctica when it became trapped. They plan to continue their expedition after they are freed, expedition leader Chris Turney said.
Okay, maybe they're on a pleasure cruise or counting penguins. Usually if you're putting 74 scientists on a boat there might be more to it than just repeating a century-old voyage. If AP is vague about the mission's purpose, Reuters provides even less information.
Still searching for the real purpose of all those scientists traveling to Antarctica, I turn to Whats Up With That.
The expedition is being led by Chris Turney, “climate scientist”, who has “set up a carbon refining company called Carbonscape which has developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.” The purpose of the expedition is “to discover and communicate the environmental changes taking place in the south.”
It seems they found out what the “environmental changes taking place in the south.” are.
Then, National Geographic states the mission purpose:
...The current crop of explorers are hoping to document some of the same data and compare them to Mawson's numbers, "using the twist of modern technology," Turney told National Geographic earlier this month.
As may be expected, global warming might play a role in this, he suggests, particularly with respect to melted ice in the East Antarctic.
Okay, now it's becoming as clear as black ice - the ironic headline should actually read "Global Warming Scientists Trapped in Antarctic Ice." That's, perhaps, an inconvenient truth.


killre said...

I agree with you that what is probably a global warming study getting stuck in the ice within hours of the summer solstice is, well, as ironic as Hell freezing over...

...and I'm not looking to start an argument, but some impish impulse is prodding me to point out a minor irony in your post:

You seem as if your suspicions were aroused by the thought of "74 scientists" doing something shady in the sunlight of the planet's backside. The portion of the AP article you openly quote, however, states there are "74 scientists, tourists and crew". I read that as 74 total people, SOME of whom are scientists, some of whom run the boat, and some of whom are listed as "tourists," which is an admittedly odd word to see in this context. No doubt it translates as "people who helped finance the voyage by buying tickets to go along just for snicks." Don't get me wrong... there are probably plenty of scientists in the contingent, but nowhere near 74.

As for the difficulty in nailing down substantive info on the expedition, experience has me leaning more toward "shoddy reporting by AP and Reuters" than "some egghead keeping secrets," but I've been known to be naïve.

Cthulhu said...

Yes yes yes. It is summer.
At the SOUTH POLE, the most isolated section of land in the southen hemisphere.

So it is cold there all the time. Climate is not "weather."

Now perhaps many of the global warming kids are huckters or chicken little.

But that in no way excuses mankind from being the jerks who crap in the bunch bowl at the world pary with our actions.