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Global Warming, Steve Backshall? No, Weather!

April 24, 2019
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By Paul Homewood



The BBC has just launched its Undiscovered Worlds series, with the intrepid Steve Backshall kayaking up the Scoresby Sund , the world’s largest fjord in Greenland.

The BBC’s puff says:



Adventurer and naturalist Steve Backshall is on a mission to visit parts of the world yet to be explored.

On this expedition, he is in the Arctic to kayak up the largest fjord in the world. It is a dangerous undertaking, only made possible because the sea ice has broken up early here following the warmest winter on record. It is a chance for Steve and his team of explorers to see what impact global warming could be having on this pristine wilderness. They face many threats, from perilous sea ice that could crush their boats to a terrifying encounter with a hungry polar bear




According to the film’s producer, Rosie Gloyns, interviewed in the Telegraph:

I was filming Undiscovered Worlds, a BBC documentary airing on Easter Sunday, along with presenter Steve Backshall. We kayaked up the Scoresby Sund in Greenland, the world’s largest fjord, surveying the damage inflicted by climate change, which is melting the region’s ice and destroying habitats for local wildlife.


The sea ice around Greenland is following the same trend seen all across the Arctic, shrinking in size and melting earlier in the year, depriving polar bears of their prime hunting habitat and making their behaviour less predictable. Indeed, paddling as far as we could into this beautiful country, it was clear that the situation was more grave than we had realised, and the fjord – which would usually have been covered with sea ice at that time of year – was a pale imitation of itself.

In normal years, it would have been full of breathing holes for seals, and local Inuits would have been using dog sleds to propel themselves across. Instead, the ice atop the fjord had melted earlier in the year than ever recorded, and the point where the ice meets the water had receded disturbingly far up the fjord.


It will come as no surprise to hear that the truth is not quite what the BBC would like you to believe!

First, let’s check exactly where they are:




Now, let’s check out the claim about sea ice:

The sea ice around Greenland is following the same trend seen all across the Arctic, shrinking in size and melting earlier in the year



In fact, sea ice around Greenland at this time of year has barely changed at all since 2003, the first year included in the DMI dataset. Indeed, arguably it is thicker now there:




Gloyns seems to be confused between sea ice and fjord ice, which are two totally different things, according to local travel experts, Nanu Travel. It is an important distinction, because the latter is affected much more by local weather conditions.


And just what have those weather conditions been like recently? The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang report:


Greenland is baking, too. In fact, its summer melt season has already begun — more than a month ahead of schedule.

Marco Tedesco is a professor in atmospheric sciences at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. He monitors behavior of the cryosphere — the part of earth’s water system that is frozen. He says melting of this extent shouldn’t begin until May. “The first melt event was detected on April 7,” he wrote in email.


“Air temperature anomalies were up to more than 20 degrees Celsius [36 Fahrenheit] above the mean,” noted Tedesco. His team has been eyeing Greenland’s southeast coast as ground zero for the early-season thaw. “Surface air temperature jumped to 41 degrees on April 2, up from minus-11,” he said. Temperatures dropped below freezing briefly before again soaring into the 30s, where the mercury has held steady for most of the past week.

What’s been sling-shotting this balmy air northward?

“The subtropical jet stream,” wrote Jennifer Francis, senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Mass. It’s teamed up with the polar jet to “transport warm, moist air from near Florida northward into southern Greenland,” she explained. “Locking this pattern in place has been a strong ridge — a northward bulge in the jet stream — just east of Greenland.”

In other words, the jet stream has brought unusually mild weather to Greenland. It is in fact part of the same weather patterns which have brought dry, sunny weather to the UK in the last two months, with high pressure dominating. It has nothing to do with global warming.


We can of course speculate about what caused the jet stream changes, but what we do know is that temperatures in East Greenland are little different to the 1930s and 40s.

It seems high likely that similar early melts occurred in those times as well, except the BBC weren’t around to film it.



Greenland yemps


Backshall talks to some of the locals, who inevitably only remember that much colder interval in the 1970s and 80s. To them the current climate is not normal, a message the BBC is happy to propagate.

Meanwhile, at the top of the Scoresby Sund, the Daugaard-Jensen glacier is still in the same position as it was in 1980:




The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems!

  1. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 24, 2019 12:14 pm

    The BBC, like so much of the MSM, have no idea whatsoever that the “averages” thet so love to quote are made up of often wildly variable figures. A proper comparison of say temperatures, would be with the variability in the averages, but that would be far too hard an far less alarming. Indeed, much of the BBC apparently does not udnerstand that a temperature could be higher than a long term average but LOWER than many of the temperatures that make up that long term average,

    They believe and like Medieval village priests, everything proves they are right.

  2. Gerry, England permalink
    April 24, 2019 12:50 pm

    Meanwhile, the poor are cutting their electricity consumption as they can no longer afford to heat their homes as much as they would like. GWPF has the story coming from the government’s own research.

  3. Joe Public permalink
    April 24, 2019 1:10 pm

    “… is a dangerous undertaking, only made possible because the sea ice has broken up early here …”

    I wonder when that documentary was first planned and approved?

  4. April 24, 2019 2:05 pm

    i saw the last 30 seconds of the programme, when he said something like “I can feel, taste and smell the climate changing”. i thought how lucky I had been not to see any more of it.

    • Bertie permalink
      April 24, 2019 2:55 pm

      We all “taste, feel and smell the ‘climate’ changing” as the spring dawns and the flora and fauna emerges!

    • bobn permalink
      April 25, 2019 1:47 am

      Idiot. We feel the seasons changing, no-one lives long enoughto feel climate changing. Bring on the next ice age – oh, its not due for 3000yrs -damn, i so wanted to feel it.

  5. roger permalink
    April 24, 2019 3:53 pm

    The BBC are hard at it again today with the collapse of wild salmon catches in Scotland being blamed on climate change.
    No mention of the landowners signing up for wind turbines at £25000 a pop p.a. for twenty five years to be planted across the moorland spawning beds and nurseries with concomitant mass pollution well away from prying eyes, nor of the river boards appointed to protect the salmon being run by those self same landowners, who not content with the profits from the windfarm scam doubledown by installing archimedian screw generators on the smallest of burns.
    Look out to the estuaries and see the arrays set across the migration routes of anadromous fish, disrupting the sediments and undercutting shore side cottages, and weep for salar salar.
    Will they be the first extinction?
    There is no one with integrity left in positions of power.

  6. April 24, 2019 5:28 pm

    On the map shown above, the land to the west of Greenland is well *below* normal, while Greenland is wll above.

    So if extra Greenland warmth was due to rising man-made trace gases as claimed by alarmists, what was the extra-coolness of the other one due to?

    • Tom O permalink
      April 24, 2019 6:45 pm

      “what was the extra-coolness of the other one due to?”

      You forget that this is the miracle molecule. It causes rain and drought and less and more snow, so yes, it obviously also caused the colder temperatures that you see!

  7. April 24, 2019 9:46 pm

    I first looked out over the icebergs in Scoresby Sund from the southern tip of the Stauning Alps in 1975 at the end of a mountaineering expedition. It was truly magical, I was bitten by the bug and have been back to may parts of the NE Greenland Fjord system between 70 and 74 degrees north, climbed mountains on the edge of the inland ice and have seen many changes over the years.

    There have been some spectacular glacier retreats, but only because they surged out of their valleys as a result of glacial instability. This time last year there was an absolute record snowfall. One expedition into the area had a very narrow escape and were lucky to get out before being buried in their camp.

    There was so little tundra exposed during the hatching season that the annual goose migration was severely disrupted. In the media, there were the usual comments about “this is what you expect from Gorebal Warming”….

    There was avalanche debris 300-400m across the glacier from south-facing mountain sides where we’d done glaciological studies in 1972. Something not seen in multiple visits. There were massive snow drifts down by the shores of Kong Oscar’s fjord at Mestersvig in mid-August. Again the Sirius Patrol folk never seen so much snow.

    So, this year the melt is coming earlier. As Paul reports, temperatures at Easter 1949 in the UK were hotter than last weekend.

    Indeed, it’s just weather….

    All the best you

  8. mjr permalink
    April 25, 2019 1:13 pm

    Other BBC activity. .On website today .

    “Quite why the sea-ice platform on the edge of the Brunt shelf has failed to regenerate is unclear. There is no obvious climate signal to point to in this case; atmospheric and ocean observations in the vicinity of the Brunt reveal little in the way of change.

    But the sensitivity of this colony to shifting sea-ice trends does illustrate, says the team, the impact that future warming in Antarctica could have on emperor penguins in particular.

    Research suggests the species might lose anywhere between 50% and 70% of its global population by the end of this century, if sea-ice is reduced to the extent that computer models envisage.”
    Such a good start in first paragraph “no obvious climate signal”.
    Then there is the “BUT” and the usual hyperbole.

  9. matthew dalby permalink
    April 25, 2019 10:09 pm

    They were quite happy to quote the locals when they say that the climate is not normal, however when the locals in other parts of the arctic say that polar bear numbers are higher than they’ve ever known they aren’t believed.

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