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What The BBC Does Not Want You To Know About Arctic Ice

May 13, 2015
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By Paul Homewood    





Dellers reports:


The BBC’s Science Editor David Shukman recently got back from an expedition to the high Arctic. Amazingly, despite having gone all that way, he seems completely to have missed the big story: that contrary to the doomsday predictions we’ve been hearing from all the experts over the last few years the ice up there seems to be getting thicker and thicker.


Here, courtesy of Paul Homewood at Notalotofpeopleknowthat is the evidence.


Multi-year ice in the Arctic Ocean is now at its highest levels since the winter of 2007.




Volume too has been growing rapidly – and is now back at 2006 levels




But this wasn’t what Shukman told BBC viewers in his report. On the contrary, Shukman’s version of events could scarcely have been more different.

Changes in the Arctic Ocean are so profound that the region is entering what amounts to “a new era”, according to Norwegian scientists.

A switch from a permanent cover of thick ice to a new state where thinner ice vanishes in the summer will have far-reaching implications, they say.

Ooh. Scary.

But you wait for the killer evidence that backs up these extravagant claims. And instead what you get is flannel like this, from the Norwegian Polar Institute’s Jan-Gunnar Winther:

“We have almost no data from the Arctic Ocean in winter – with few exceptions – so this information is very important to be able understand the processes when the ice is freezing in early winter and we’ll also stay here when it melts in the summer,” he explained.

“A new era has entered, we are going from old ice to young ice, thinner ice and the climate models used today have not captured this new regime or ice situation.

“So knowing how it is today can improve climate models which again improve the projection for global climate change.”

Well hang on, just a second. If there’s “almost no data from the Arctic Ocean in winter”, how come Winther has been able to reach such hasty conclusions? How can he be so sure that what he bills as a “new era” isn’t in fact just an entirely normal part of a multi-decadal Arctic climate cycle? What does he say about the sea ice growth – shown on the charts above – since 2007?

And if the thinning of Arctic sea ice is really so dire a problem, how come the research vessel RV Lance – on which Shukman stayed for his Arctic jolly – only got as far as it did with assistance from an icebreaking vessel KV Svalbard?

These are all pretty basic journalistic questions that any half-way curious, Old Etonian Science Editor ought in all conscience to have asked. The fact that he failed to do so wouldn’t perhaps matter so much if he worked for an obviously parti-pris newspaper like the global-warming obsessed Guardian or the Independent.

But Shukman, remember, works for the BBC: an institution which is not only required by its Charter to remain politically impartial but which also becomes extremely petulant and defensive at the suggestion that it is guilty of any kind of left-wing bias. So how, exactly, does he excuse the one-sidedness of his report?


We must not forget either that the good ship RV Lance had been stuck in thick pack ice for weeks on end. When high winds finally blew it out to the edge of the pack, the ice breaker KV Svalbard had to spend three days and nights escorting it back into the ice where they wanted to be.

As they reported on March 3rd:

82.58 Degrees North—The Norwegian research vessel Lance is back where it wants to be: adrift in the Arctic, moored to a large ice floe.

After the ship spent five weeks locked in sea ice, high winds had pushed it to the crackled edge of the ice pack. For three days and nights, a Norwegian Coast Guard ship led the Lance back into the ice, using satellite data to pick a path through a labyrinth of navigable fractures, called leads, which penetrate the frozen sea. (Read the first dispatch in this series.)

Then finally on the morning of February 24, our Coast Guard escort abruptly turned toward civilization, and toward a pinkish glow on the southern horizon. It left us and the Lance marooned at the 83rd parallel, just west of Russian territory and 483 miles (777 kilometer) from the North Pole as the petrel flies.


Then, on March 19th:

82.44 Degrees North—We’ve drifted across the frozen Arctic for 30 days. Four miles here, ten miles there—a squiggly red line on the ship’s digital chart is the only measure of progress.

Trapped in ice, the Lance meanders at the mercy of wind and current. Some days, low, moist clouds engulf the ship from the south; on others, cold northerly winds chill it by 50 degrees. Switched off at this latitude for four months of the year, the sun now rises higher each morning, casting long shadows off surface ice ridges and snowdrifts as it traces a low arc across the horizon.




Then nature intervened!


As Moon sat inside the Lance, 34-mile-an-hour winds swept in from the south. They pushed the ship in the opposite direction of its planned drift back to Spitzbergen, undoing two days of southward progress in a matter of hours. The temperature shot from minus 22 degrees F (-30°C) to 32 degrees F (0°C) overnight, eventually settling back to minus 7 (-22°). The ice floes hemming in the Lance, meanwhile, slowly became unstitched.

First one crack here, then another, the fractures slowly widened until the ship was separated from the various study sites across the floe by gaping channels of exposed seawater, which began radiating smoky vapor. One split took down a 33-foot-high (10 meters) weather mast in the atmospheric science quarter. A GPS station began to drift its own way. There went the neighborhood.

Also, the boat was stuck. The industrious crew spent the next two days trying to dislodge the Lance from nearly 18 feet (5.5 meters) of ice blocks that had nestled under its bow during a storm two weeks earlier. A tranquil week of data collection suddenly turned into an instrument rescue mission. It was time to pack up and abandon the floe—if only the boat could set loose.

Many, naturally, had anticipated such a disturbance. "That’s uncertainty," Moon joked.



This is the ice which “experts” like John Kerry and “Professor” Wadham tell us is rapidly disappearing!

  1. May 13, 2015 10:53 pm

    Can’t help but smile at the visible-particulates pollution emitted from that vessel’s chimney.

    • Green Sand permalink
      May 13, 2015 11:31 pm

      Ah, well spotted Joe! System failure, they forgot to tell the photoshop operative that not all smokestacks are equal! Retraining comrade! A period in Silesia….

    • saveenergy permalink
      May 14, 2015 12:34 am

      It’s OK, there’s a 97% chance they’ll be ‘green’ oily particulates

  2. tom0mason permalink
    May 14, 2015 1:35 am

    Well Dellers why would Shukman’s report let inconvenient facts get in the way of a good BBC story, eh? It was after all, too much of an ideal opportunity for Shukman and the BBC to pass-up in getting the ‘message’ out.

  3. May 14, 2015 6:33 am

    Did you know it’s “Professor” Wadhams birthday today? He is well past retirement age, and it shows. He must have a thick skin from all those polar expeditions, which must have cost the taxpayer a fortune, He believes climate change is happening so fast that Arctic sea ice will disappear completely in summer: “2015 is a very serious prediction and I think I am pretty much persuaded that that’s when it will happen” and “It could be that the polar bear will disappear via interbreeding and go back to terrestrial habitats, but something has to happen because its habitat is going to disappear.” Will he eat his hat after this summer, or will he just put the alarmist propaganda re sea ice back another year?

    I don’t suppose he has put his money where his mouth is and taken up the £100,000 bet at evens for summer sea ice in 2015. It saddens me to see a physicist having given up on science a long time ago in favour of alarmist activism.

  4. Ben Vorlich permalink
    May 14, 2015 6:56 am

    Paul, slightly off topic here but Steve Goddard has also done a bit of glacier research.

  5. May 14, 2015 8:05 am

    I watched the associated TV programme on BBC News24, which was reasonably free from preaching until the end, when Shukman announced that the Arctic will be free of ice in summers sometime this century, the only uncertainty being when this will happen.

  6. May 14, 2015 6:14 pm


    PIOMAS gridded data shows that the volume increase is restricted to the Central Arctic, while the peripheral seas of the Arctic Basin (Beaufort/Chukchi/ESS/Laptev) are in a similar state to other post 2007 years. Indeed both overall volume and the PIOMAS sub grid thickness distribution shows that in the peripheral seas of the Arctic Basin volume and thickness distribution is lower than in April 2012.

    I read the science of Arctic sea ice as a hobby. Shukman does a generally good job, and did so in the recent BBC News article.

    If you don’t like PIOMAS you need only peruse ASCAT and Quikscat.

    They support the numeric conclusions from PIOMAS data.

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