The Spirit of Mawson

When Douglas Mawson led the Australasian Antarctic Expedition from 1911 to 1914 it was the first major scientific study of Antarctica, with a focus on geology and meteorology. Climate change was not part of Mawson’s expedition – he had no concern for topics that do not lend themselves to scientific inquiry.

In a re-creation of that expedition, The Spirit of Mawson (the Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 2013-14), however, the focus is almost exclusively on the climate change chimera.

So it is perhaps punishment for hubris that the expedition’s ship, M.S. Akademik Shokalskiy, is stranded in ice and several ice-breaking ships, including China’s Snow Dragon, have been unable to free her. The Chinese ship was only able to reach 6.5 nautical miles (12 km) from the stranded ship before being threatened herself.

A French icebreaker, L’Astrolabe, and Australia’s Aurora Australis, are en route, but if they are unable to break through there is a chance that the crew of Akademik Shokalskiy will be rescued by helicopter and the ship abandoned to her fate.

No doubt this folly is costing the poor taxpayers a small fortune, with a ton of free media from the leftie luvvies.

About J

J has an economics background and is a part-time consultant
This entry was posted in Global warming and climate change policy. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to The Spirit of Mawson

  1. C.L.

    The decline of the Commonwealth:

    Push for David Beckham to be knighted – just like Mawson.

  2. boy on a bike

    I read somewhere that the trip was essentially a BBC/ABC junket to get footage for climate change shows. I look forward to the joint production explaining why there is so much more sea ice around this year.

  3. Tel

    Does anyone know who paid for the AAE 2013 ?

  4. Tel

    They claim it is a privately funded expedition. I’m just wondering if there’s any further information…

    http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3846720.htm

  5. Megan

    God, the universe, or Gaia if that’s your thing, definitely has a sense of humour. Like the Polar Defence Project back in 2008 where the kayakers were trying to stop the world from warming up and had to be rescued from the ice when they were still more than 600 miles from the North Pole.

    What’s that saying about not learning from history?

  6. Megan

    And it’s just not the cost of the expedition, the rescue effort will probably cost significantly more than the original.

  7. Geriatric Mayfly

    Note how the narrative has shifted, especially at ABC/SBS Global Warming HQ. The junket is now reported solely in terms of retracing Mawson’s steps. I guess there are times when even the Left shies away from looking ridiculous. A ship frozen in ice, its happy warriors looking for clues which point to the warming catastrophe, is a contradiction too silly even for Gaia’s most trusted allies.
    However, I believe there are Guardian reporters on board. They are bound to twist the whole charade to their way of thinking and then pass their collective, warmed-up wisdom onto the ABC.

  8. Tel

    What’s that saying about not learning from history?

    There were rowers in the Arctic last Northern Summer as well. Plan was to row through the Northwest Passage once all the ice had melted.

    http://mainstreamlastfirst.com/

    I think there were other teams out there as well, don’t have any links. Oh yeah, the ice stopped the lot of them. Lots of ice. Just weather though, not climate.

  9. Tel

    A pair of French Canadians attempted to Kayak through the Northwest Passage as well.

    http://www.revedeglace.ca/

  10. Motelier

    Professor Green and the sister in-law have left for home in Adelaide.

    Before leaving the good professor casually mentioned that the BOM had introduced a new level for high temperatures (black).

    Pfffffttttttt. I was reading about the AAE13 cockup.

    That is the weather he says.

    :shock:

  11. Rabz

    the focus is almost exclusively on the climate change chimera.

    Morons – and the taxpayer gets screwed again.

  12. Mr Excitement

    leave them down there for a year … in the spirit of Mawson.

  13. .

    The luuvies BBC/ABC Newsradio were recently saying that missing heat was a “conundrum” and that expanding sea ice was because of…warming.

    Rather than looking at precipitation and temps…they wanted to figure out how it could be so since there was still warming. Apparently the Antarctic must not get warmer or global weather will crap out like in that bizzare fantasy movie.

    Depsite never happening with global temps being higher or lower than now and varying levels of CO2.

    PS

    The ice shelves are the fastest warming places on earther, despite record breaking low temps in Antarctica in 2010 and 2013.

    Fucking liars.

  14. wazsah

    The whole scheemozzle is more like an insult to the memory of Mawson.
    I have assumed that the taxpayer is involved in paying for The Australasian Antarctic Expedition. But I hope I am wrong. Certainly taxpayers are in the gun paying for the Aurora Australis to have unloading interrupted at Casey and be high-tailing many hundreds of miles out of their way. The AAD was already behind in their seasonal resupply work after the Aurora Australis was blocked by ice for three weeks last month.
    It will indeed be interesting to uncover the full cost of this publicity seeking exercise in the new year.
    The AAE people choose to embark on an Antarctic expedition – maybe they should do some unloading and proceed from where they are. Take a leaf out of the book of the pioneers of a century ago who did not enjoy the luxury of telephoning for help.
    It is a fact that since making a distress call early on the 25th the AAE has put out a constant stream of media along the lines, “…the hundreds of thousands of measurements made by Mawson have become critical to charting signs of global warming.”

  15. blogstrop

    I thought Mawson was principally a geologist.

  16. incoherent rambler

    Expanding sea ice (enough to trap a ship), I would have thought is unusual for the middle of an Antarctic summer.

    Why is this so?

  17. Ubique

    Antarctic sea ice extent is 1.48 million sq km greater than the average for this time of year. That’s more than two standard deviations above the mean. Yet it’s virtually unreported. While Arctic sea ice is 650,000 sq km below average for this time of year (probably due to soot emitted by Chinese power stations), on balance world sea ice is 830,000 sq km above average (it’s all there on Watts Up With That).

    The globe hasn’t warmed for 17 years. All the while, CO2 emissions have continued to grow above worst case projections – now reaching 400ppm. The AGW theory is busted. The charlatans promoting it need to be tarred and feathered.

  18. Mike of Marion

    All we need now is the Greenfilth’s ship trapped in the deep South while chasing Japanese Whalers!!!!

  19. Mrs Beardsley

    Ha ha. JM has a great article on this boondoggle, including a rhetorical question about how the AAE is compensating for their now massive ‘carbon’ footprint. Ha ha ha.

    According to David Suzuki the first thing to consider before buying carbon offsets is:

    “Know your carbon footprint and understand what your largest sources of emissions are. Ensure that you include all of your major emission sources, such as electricity consumption, fuel use, and travel.”

    Since setting off, the ship has got stuck in ice. Three ice breaker ships have set-off to rescue it.

    Should the fuel consumption of the three ice breakers also be included in Professor Turney’s carbon offset calculations?

  20. Mike of Marion

    No because the Russian and Chinese Icebreakers are probably nuclear powered!!!

  21. Tintarella di Luna

    Ha ha. JM has a great article on this boondoggle, including a rhetorical question about how the AAE is compensating for their now massive ‘carbon’ footprint. Ha ha ha.

    The comments are fantastic. I wonder if Christopher Monckton will do a little piece on this with some advice for the be-iced ones some little missive to make the heads explode and the bowels to quicken.

  22. C.L.

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that while the great polar explorers are admirable for their courage and perseverence, they achieved virtually nothing for humanity. These were ego endeavours. Basically amounted to “Mawso was ‘ere.”

  23. incoherent rambler

    c.l. Not only the limb broke, but the tree fell over.

    Shackleton, Amundsen (I do not know much about Mawson) were great contributors. Even Scott (with thanks to Shackleton) left us with knowledge of what happens to you when you have no Vitamin C (scar tissue opens up, shame about the war wounds).

  24. boy on a bike

    Privately funded?

    They appear to have an interesting definition of private funds. If you look at the supporters page, most are universities or government agencies.

    So if a university gets money from the government and then gives it to an organisation, it somehow becomes “private” money?

    I think not.

  25. Viva

    Gaia is laughing her head off methinks.

  26. Woolfe

    BOAB, That is the argument that “The Conversation” tried to use on me when i pointed out their web site was government funded.

    Our local soccer ground has advertising boarding’s surrounding the field, 40% are from government or their agencies? Why do our taxes need to pay for this, sigh.

  27. Rob

    Maybe they should all go to the side and breathe on the ice. That’s CO2, right? Should do the melt.

  28. .

    C.L.
    #1127001, posted on December 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that while the great polar explorers are admirable for their courage and perseverence, they achieved virtually nothing for humanity. These were ego endeavours. Basically amounted to “Mawso was ‘ere.”

    Not if we ignore the treaty and commence mining the desolate shithole.

  29. Techno

    “Climate change was not part of Mawson’s expedition – he had no concern for topics that do not lend themselves to scientific inquiry”

    I think you mean (or would, if you thought about it some more) that he had no concern for things that nobody knew about at the time. He wasn’t trying to detect neutrinos either, for example. The expedition DID start making meteorological (i.e. climate) records, which suggests that he probably would have thought climate change worth of study had he been aware of it … being an actual scientist.

    The leads on that expedition were geologists, that’s right. That’s why you can see artifacts from the expedition in the geology department at Adelaide University, including his shortened sled (or at least you could when I was there). It’s pretty awesome to see.

  30. .

    which suggests that he probably would have thought climate change worth of study had he been aware of it … being an actual scientist.

    He probably thought of the socialist women’s equity forum at the same time.

  31. Techno

    “He probably thought of the socialist women’s equity forum at the same time”

    Probably not in 1914, no.

  32. Jim Rose

    Ah, mawson and the age of gentlemen adventurers.

  33. .

    But he thought of climate change. FFS you are laying it on thick. Professing to know what a dead guy was thinking about progressive causes.

  34. Tel

    Professing to know what a dead guy was thinking about progressive causes.

    Mawson was a Geologist and generally that means a strong sense of long-term context in terms of the Earth’s history. Not many Geologists jump onto the AGW bandwagon.

  35. wazsah

    It is a fact that China is increasing the number of its stations down there – now four after just opening one near the Ross Sea.
    http://www.safpi.org/news/article/2013/china-build-new-antarctic-station-near-scott-base
    The cost is probably chickenfeed compared to their economy but they must have a purpose.
    I wonder what people think of the great power nuances in the Antarctic.

  36. .

    Fuck ‘em.

    Let’s take it for ourselves.

  37. It is a fact that China is increasing the number of its stations down there – now four after just opening one near the Ross Sea.

    Keeping in mind that the Chicoms have just declared a piece of Japanese territory to be a “Chinese military no-fly zone”, one can have a guess at what is coming next in Antarctica.

  38. Robert O.

    Certainly the Aurora Australis is not an icebreaker, only ice strengthened, and the L’Astrolabe is a small strengthened oil platform tender. The only icebreakers around would be, perhaps, an American breaker , or the ice breaker on charter from Vladivostok that is used for summer tourist trips between Hobart, N.Z. , Chile and Antarctica. They all have diesels and use bunker fuel, and can be seen refuelling at Self’s Pt. (Hobart).

    I don’t think many scientists should believe in the AGW scam as the computer predictions have just not come to pass and have been proved to be invalid.

  39. mareeS

    If the crew and passengers of the Akademik Shokalskiy have to be choppered off, as now seems likely (at whose cost?), how will they explain their irresponsibility in abandoning a diesel-bunkered ship in a pristine environment that is supposedly so precious to them? And how it’s to be salvaged, at whose cost?

    Let alone explain how they came to trapped in ice in a supposedly melting ice cap in the middle of summer? So many questions, no answers yet.

  40. Tel

    Robert: The vessel can break level ice up to 1.23 metres (4 ft 0 in) thick at 2.5 knots (4.6 km/h; 2.9 mph).

    That’s from Wikipedia, so make of that what you will. Only 4 ft might be enough for the current situation, but a bit touch and go. Here’s what the ice looks like at the moment (well a few days ago):

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/NEWIMAGES/antarctic.seaice.color.000.png

    Hard to see how thick it is when looking down from space, I guess they will find out.

  41. wazsah

    Must remember that the Aurora Australis was blocked in ice for three weeks last month – and in 2012 too. So it is no Hercules when it comes to ice breaking.

  42. Tel

    Just did a quick check in comparison, the German Polarstern can move at 5 knots through 1.5m ice, a little better than the Aurora Australis but not astoundingly better.

    The Oden is the serious workhorse of Northern icebreakers and regularly rescues stuck merchant shipping. It can handle 1.9 m (6.2 ft) of ice at 3 knots.

    If you want to go one better, the Yamal (Arktika-class, 270 MW of nuclear power) can knock down 2.3m of ice at 3 knots, design limit is cutting 5m ice. That’s for your Northeast Passage trips to Siberia and back… when you actually want to have your holiday and not worry about getting stuck anywhere.

  43. Steve of Glasshouse

    No chance the luvvies could walk the 6.5 miles to the ice breakers? It’s the carbon thing to do..

  44. Chris M

    Didn’t realise Mawson had all these rescue ships available to lend a hand. Seeing as there is no problem deviating from the original lets go all out and drop a few GBU-57A/B Massive Ordnance Penetrator bombs on that crappy ice. Make some fun ABC viewing.

  45. David Brewer

    From “The Turnstile” by A E W Mason, 1909-12:

    Suppose he reaches the Pole, what then?” Harry Rames laughed contemptuously.

    “Aren’t there discoveries to be made, maps to be drawn of that continent and something to be learned from the soundings?” asked Cynthia, recollecting Harry Rames’s own book upon his voyage. He shook his head.

    “That’s all trimmings, Cynthia. You have got to surround your expedition with a scientific halo. It gets you money, and official support, and the countenance of the learned societies. But the man who goes south into the Antarctic goes with just one reason–to reach the Pole. Why? You can’t give a rational answer to that Cynthia. No one can. Such men are just driven on by a torment of their souls.”

    No stranger watching Harry Rames as he speculated with an indulgent smile upon the aimlessness of Walter Hemming’s long itinerary could have imagined that he had once himself led just such an expedition. Even Cynthia found the fact difficult of belief. By so complete a dissociation of spirit he was cut off from the race of the wanderers.

    “Let a man become insane in the East,” he continued, “and he’s looked upon as a holy man, touched by the finger of God. The fellows who go South and North are our holy men of the West.” He turned back again to his newspaper, and then uttered an exclamation:…

  46. Andrew

    So, we chopper them out and their ship breaks up. Diesel spills.

    Step 1): fine them. An amount equal to Exxon Valdez should do (adjusted to 2013 $).
    2) Hold their “private” funders liable, after all if I pay you to commit a crime I’m liable. If I pay you to film evidence of gerbil worming in pack ice in an underdone vehicle then it’s pretty foreseeable. And if it’s Big Green / Big Piracy like Greenpeace involved, kaching to us.

  47. Blogstrop

    It’s an Academic Shonky Gonsky.

  48. duncanm

    leave them down there for a year … in the spirit of Mawson

    Shackleton.

    Give them a couple of seal clubs and a small boat.

  49. Jim Rose

    Lawson never interested me. Shackleton is a hero of mine because he was so determined. He would never give up no matter the odds

  50. A Lurker

    Bolta reports on the association that scientist Chris Turney (who is the leader of ‘The Spirit of Mawson’ expedition) has with a certain waste biomass facility that he helped set up in New Zealand.

    Curiouser and curiouser!

    I’m sure Turney has no financial association with or links to or interest in CarbonScape at all. No shares. No kickbacks. No nothing. No reason to promote climate change other than his deep and abiding interest in ‘Saving the Planet’™…

Comments are closed.