Melting moments …

On 2 December 1911 Douglas Mawson departed from Hobart as leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition. The good ship Aurora landed them in Commonwealth Bay on 8 January 1912. He and two companions set out on a sledging expedition – Mawson was the sole survivor. He arrived back at his base to find that the Aurora had departed. Some of the party had stayed behind in the hope that his party would return. The group had to wait until December 1913 before they could depart Antarctica’s shore.

In 2007 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Antarctica in an effort to highlight global warming the BBC reported

Mr Ban – the first UN chief to visit the continent – wanted to see for himself the effects of climate change on the world’s largest wilderness.

After flying over melting glaciers, he told reporters that what he had seen had been both “extraordinarily beautiful” and “disturbing”.

Just a quick look and he was able to see for himself that disaster lay just around the corner. The glaciers are melting.

This year a party led by Professor Chris Turney, calling itself the Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013, set out to follow in Mr Moon and Mawson’s footsteps and highlight the disaster of increasing temperatures and melting ice. As the ABC reported on Lateline of 25 November …

$1.5 million Australian expedition to Antarctica Professor Chris Turney from the University of NSW is mounting the largest Australian science expeditions to the Antarctic with an 85-person team to try to answer questions about how climate change in the frozen continent might be already shifting weather patterns in Australia.
ABC’s MARGOT O’NEILL: The research stakes are high. Antarctica is one of the great engines driving the world’s oceans, winds and weather, especially in Australia. But there’s ominous signs of climate change.
CHRIS TURNEY: The Southern Hemisphere westerly winds encircle Antarctica, and over the last 20 or 30 years or so, they’ve been pushing further south. Now – so actually in a way it’s almost like Antarctica’s withdrawing itself from the rest of the world…

They thoughtfully took with them reporters for the BBC and the Guardian and initially things were going very much to plan

Several scout teams had investigated the ice sheet between the ship and the hut in the three days we had been at the frozen continent, however, and their news didn’t look good: a recent warm spell had melted lots of the snow cover on the fast ice, and the route across it was riddled with pools of water covered with thin, easily broken ice.

Clear evidence of melting here … although it had been open water in 1912.

The warm spell did not continue. The ice closed in. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority received a distress call on Christmas morning. The expedition ship was stuck fast. and the Weather Channel brought us the news that very day. I don’t know if they had a reporter on board.

Eventually the Guardian brought the news from its intrepid reporter …

Trapped in heavy pack ice just off the coast of Cape de la Motte for the past two days, we await icebreaker assistance.

There’s nothing like a scoop, eh …

Since then a couple of icebreakers have tried to bust them free. If all else fails they will be helicoptered to safety. Just think of the carbon footprint.

Well, you gotta take risks if you want to do science. But think about it, comparing 2013 with 1912 when weather can be so variable, maybe that wasn’t going to be great science to start with.

Perhaps they should have looked at the data for a number of years …


That’s one difference … more ice this year.





Merry Christmas …

I do wish all my readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.

Should an unexpected child intrude on your festivities here is the Bobby McGee emergency Christmas tree …


Clicking it will enlarge. If all is not clear you can ask for the instructions in the comments.

Whatever you do be careful of the decorations …

DecoFAIL… and do keep an eye on Santa …

shelfEnjoy but above all stay safe …

Bob McGee



Survival …

I swallowed a fly. That reminded me of the case of …

A WEST Australian man had to resort to eating insects after he became stranded in bushland in the state’s South West region when his car became bogged.

I read about this back in October. Wow, had to eat insects, or as Nine News put it …

Mr Frendo told Nine News Perth it was his positive thinking that got him through.

“Pretty much the whole time the thoughts were always ‘what I’m going to do once I get back’,” he said.

“It was never ‘this is final, this is it’.”

Mr Fredo said he ate “a lot of frogs and crickets, and millipedes” to survive in the bush.

“Pretty much anything I could get my hands on at that stage just to keep my energy up,” he said.

Mr Fredo said he was very grateful to the family who helped pull his car out.

“I think it would have been a long wait if they hadn’t come along at the time that they did,” he said.

“I just want to thank them so, so much.”

Mr Frendo was taken to Busselton hospital for treatment for dehydration.

Four days in the bush and despite eating pretty much anything he lost his “N”. Good to see it came back after rehydration.

Indeed hydration was the real problem. Hunger strikers have shown that it is possible to go a couple of months without food. Three days without water and you are in big trouble. So don’t eat the frogs … drink their pond.

If someone has been without food for an extended period one problem to be avoided is the re-feeding syndrome. This can occur after as few as five days and is a significant risk after three weeks of fasting. It may be fatal, most often through cardiac arrhythmias. A sensible first meal could consist of milk or boiled vegetables (see also

Note that Mr Frendo had the good sense to stay with his vehicle.

Insulting your intelligence …

The appointment of Tim Wilson to the so called Human Rights Commission is a good step, a voice, at last for free speech.

The big question is, will it be heard?

The commission’s president Gillian Triggs has warned Mr Wilson that the commission must speak with one voice and be independent of government. She would like to see section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it an offense for you to insult my pommy origins but not to insult my intelligence, strengthened.

Section 18c should be repealed.

In times of war …


Climate science suggests that, to have a high probability of limiting global warming to an average temperature increase of 2 °C, global greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020 and be reduced to close to zero by 2040. However, the current trend is heading towards at least 4 °C by 2100 and little effective action is being taken. This paper commences the process of developing contingency plans for a scenario in which a sudden major global climate impact galvanises governments to implement emergency climate mitigation targets and programs. Climate activists assert that rapid mitigation is feasible, invoking the scale and scope of wartime mobilisation strategies. This paper draws upon historical accounts of social, technological and economic restructurings in several countries during World War 2 in order to investigate potential applications of wartime experience to radical, rigorous and rapid climate mitigation strategies.

Laurence L. Delina, Mark Diesendorf. Energy Policy. Volume 58, July 2013, Pages 371–380.
Meanwhile, however, someone has actually been measuring the temperature. The soft grey line is CO2.
Temperature and CO2 seem to correlate about as well as Delina and Diesendorf and common sense.