(Via Instapundit) I expect that it will be memorable.
Early this morning, I received an e-mail message from one of many polar scientists whose important and costly field research in Antarctica has been seriously disrupted by the diversion of icebreakers to try to evacuate the journalists, tourists, crew and scientists on an unessential “expedition” aboard a chartered Russian ship.
Of course the evacuation of the trapped ship, which will require helicopters given the impassible nature of the thick sea ice in the area, is vital. But when you consider the cost and risk attending the operation, and the impact on other science, this raises questions about the advisability of this voyage in the first place.
I especially enjoyed the grudging concession by the NYT author that the people who are running this expedition are “seasoned field scientists;” but I was curious to see how said author was going to explain how “a fresh assessment of ice, ocean and ecological conditions on the stretch of Antarctic coast south of Australia and New Zealand a century after an arduous expedition led by Sir Douglas Mawson did the same” was actually a frivolous waste of everybody’s time. Alas, he never did explain… mostly because the aforementioned fresh assessment indicated that the new conditions were Wow, there’s a lot of ice around here. Which is, ah, problematical.
Well, not problematical for me; but the hidden story here is that the Spirit of Mawson expedition relied on various climate models that eventually got them trapped in the middle of a thick sheet of global warming. This may or may not be ironic, depending on how you define the term… but it is remarkably embarrassing, which is why the NYT is so aggravated about the whole thing. To the point where they’re retroactively trying to throw the expedition under the icebreaker. As if it’s the Spirit of Mawson’s fault that the ice is still there…
PS: Note that WUWT is covering the saga in general. Entertainingly, the site may even agree more with the NYT than with me about the basic frivolity of this expedition.