Helicopter Rescue for Global Warming Ship Trapped in Icy Antarctic

The ironic fate of the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck in the Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve, may soon be resolved by a helicopter rescue.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority's (AMSA) Rescue Coordination Centre, supervising the rescue, said early Thursday that rescue flights would likely begin soon.

As National Geographic admitted, the mission of the scientists on board was to prove the validity of global warming by comparing the evidence they found with evidence from Australian explorer Douglas Mawson's 1911 to 1913 voyage to Antarctica. National Geographic wrote:

The current crop of explorers are hoping to document some of the same data and compare them to Mawson's numbers, "using the twist of modern technology," Turney told National Geographic earlier this month. As may be expected, global warming might play a role in this, he suggests, particularly with respect to melted ice in the East Antarctic.

The irony of a ship meant to document the validity of global warming getting trapped by the undiminishing ice of Antarctica is obvious. 

Three icebreaking ships attempted to break through the ice: the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, the Chinese-flagged vessel Snow Dragon, and France's L'Astrolabe. The Snow Dragon’s helicopter on board is planning to rescue 52 scientists and tourists, a dozen at a time, over a five-hour time period. The trapped ship's 22 crew members will stay with the ship, as there is no danger of its sinking and plenty of food for the duration.

Chris Turney, the leader of the trapped expedition, had claimed that the ice shelf of Antarctica was shrinking for some time; even after the ship was trapped in the ice, Fox News reported Turney “...remained adamant that sea ice is melting, even as the boat remained trapped in frozen seas."

There are some problems with Turney’s scenario. NASA's satellites have measured global temperatures for 35 years, including in the Antarctic, and found that the southern polar region temperatures have cooled -0.04°C/century. Not only that, but the Antarctic sea ice has grown to a record total. 

The Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) issued a press release that indicated “sea ice in the Southern Ocean has reached the highest extent in the last decades. It was only in the mid-1970s that a similar sea ice extent had been observed.” The Cryosphere released a paper stating that Antarctica has been gaining surface ice and snow accumulation for the last 150+ years.


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