Like many others, I’ve been intrigued by the misadventures of the Ship of Fools. Dozens of tourist vessels visit the Antarctic without becoming trapped by ice. So it’s entirely valid to inquire into why the one tourist vessel led by a “climate scientist” became trapped by ice.
The leader of the expedition, Chris Turney (also a secondary Climategate correspondent and co-signer of Lewandowsky’s multisignatory letter in the Conversation), claimed that the incident could not have been predicted. He said that they were trapped by a sudden “breakout” of multi-year ice (“fast ice”) that had previously been part of the ice shelf and that there was no way that they could have anticipated this. Turney’s claim has been uncritically accepted by the climate community e.g. Turner of the British Antarctica Survey here.
However, like other recent claims by Turney, this claim is bogus. In fact, Turney was trapped by sea ice that had been mobile throughout December 2013. This can be easily seen by examining readily available MODIS imagery (see MODIS here) leading up to the incident, as I’ll do in today’s post. Continue reading