Climate For All

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Fun With Pixels

Chris Turney Cant Pixel Out Of This One

Jan 2nd 2014

2/2/14 Image of the region located around Mertz Glacier, Mawson Hut, and the stranded Akademik Shokalskiy. Image Provided by NASA EOSDIS Worldview

Hopefully, most of you have been following the story at WUWT  about  the Russion research vessel Shokalskiy,   that has been stranded in sea-ice since Christmas Eve. If not, you can read what I wrote about it here and here After the Shokalskiy had been unable to be freed by numerous attempts, an airlift of the passengers was undertaken 8 days after being stuck in sea-ice.

A team of scientists lead by Chris Turney, had been attempting to follow a century old expedition that was led by Sir Douglas Mawson into the Antarctic, south of Australia.  The expedition was known as the Australia Antarctic Expedition 1911-1914.  This expedition bares the same name, but there is hardly any similarity between the two. Armed with a science team of on-board and on-shore scientists, college grads doing post-graduate work, friends, family, journalists and anyone else wanting to cough up the tens of thousands of dollars, set off for Antarctica to:

“…truly meld science and adventure, repeating century old measurements to discover and communicate the changes taking place in this remote and pristine environment.” – AAE Expedition Aim

The story I write tonight is about Chris Turney and how he is attempting to disguise how inept he is, and hopefully I can prove that. Because Turney veers away from the expeditions aim to ‘discover and communicate’, into a more of a ‘ hide and obfuscate’ aim.

I’ll tell you why I think so. Or better yet, I’ll show you.

Mertz Glacier Tongue and B-98(a)

Image of Iceberg B-98 impacting Mertz Glacier 4 years ago in Feb. 2010

These two icebergs, C-28 and B-98 (as seen above), are roughly 60 miles long, 20 miles wide and over a 1000 feet in height(approx.). You can read about their movement and short history here.  I just want to bring this to everyones attention because of the recent blog that Chris Turney wrote on 12-31-13. He writes:

“…what is unexpected is the major reconfiguration of thick multi-year sea ice to the east of the Mertz Glacier. In 2010, a large iceberg known as B09B, calved from the continent and collided spectacularly with the extended tongue of the Mertz Glacier. The knock-on effect has been that Commonwealth Bay has filled with sea ice (termed ‘fast ice’), preventing direct access from the sea to Mawson’s main hut at Cape Denison. Unfortunately for the AAE, it appears the region has just undergone a massive reconfiguration of sea ice, years after the loss of the Mertz Glacier tongue. This has been revealed by new satellite imagery which arrived today from the AAD/ACE CRC Sea Ice Group in Hobart, Tasmania. The satellite maps show the comparison before and after the event, with deep purple signifying 100% sea ice cover and dark blue, open water. (Note: the outline of the Mertz Glacier tongue is shown on the maps but disappeared following the collision with B09B).

Chris Turney uses these images as his reasons for the plight of his expedition

I don’t know about the rest of you, but Turney speaks in riddles. First he says the Commonwealth Bay and specifically, the Mawson Hut region, is effected by fast-ice as a result of the breaking of the Mertz Glacier Tongue, and then he contends that the region underwent a reconfiguration of multi-year ice upon the expeditions arrival at Mertz Glacier. Most likely, because the tongue of Mertz Glacier no long protects the polynya. He is wrong on both counts. I don’t know to what purpose it serves to be misleading. Time will only tell why a global warming scientist behaves so poorly.

Lets break down Chris Turneys first mistake. The images above, that he uses for his defense, comes from the  AAD/ACE CRC Sea Ice Group in Hobart, Tasmania. They must be respectable, otherwise why would Turney use them as his source. That being said, why don’t we see what the Australian AntarcticDivision (AAD) have to say about Commonwealth Bay, and specifically, this region west of Mertz Glacier.

The AAD writes,

The region about the Mertz Glacier plays an important role in the global ocean over-turning circulation. Polynyas in the region (areas of open-water or low sea ice concentration) produce about 25% of the Antarctic Bottom Water, which drives the deep over-turning circulation of the global ocean, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the ocean depths in all ocean basins.

It starts to become somewhat clearer to what Turney wants to elude to. He blames the breaking of the Mertz Glacier as to the cause of fast ice blocking in the area surrounding Mawsons Hut;  in effect, reducing the role  the polynya played in the region. Yet, the writers of the AAD article go on to say,

The behaviour of the Mertz polynya appears to have returned to its previous active ice factory role, after a temporary reduction in sea ice production when C28 was in the area of the polynya.

This is what we do know. B-98 is still in the region, some 50km to the northeast of Mertz Glacier and C-28 is no longer in the region. C-28 broke into pieces in 2010 and its remnants are floating out in the ocean( hundreds if not thousands of miles away).

I want to provide some pictures now of the region. It clearly displays that there is no multi-year ice in the region that Turney highlights in his very pixelated image.


Mertz Glacier region. November 28th 2012
Image obtained using NASA’s EOSDIS Worldview

It is my opinion that B-98 is now acting as a barrier, just as the tongue of Mertz Glacier performed while it extended some 60 miles out to sea.

Yet, what we don’t see, is no multi-year ice anywhere north of the Mertz Tongue as Turney discribed earlier. He flat-out lies. The ice flow you see just west of Mertz is just ice floe. I could provide many more images of the changing landscape of the area for the last few years, but I think this provides my point.

Turney lies, and there is no two ways about it.  But lets move on.

Notice how B-98 provides shelter for the polyna. It may actually give rise to a larger polyna, but that is just pure speculation on my part.  It is apparent though, at B-98s position, that it does mimic the alignment and structure that the Mertz Tongue provided before it broke free in 2010.

I now want to show an image of the same area, when the AAE was trekking to Mawsons Hut, via ARGO, on Dec 19th 2013.


Mertz Region Dec 19th 2013
Image obtained using NASA’s EOSDIS Worldview

There is a few things I would like to point out in the above image.

First, you will notice that there is more FYI(first year ice) surrounding the northern area just north of Mawsons Hut, and a pile up of ice floe shoved up against it on its eastern fringe.

Secondly, you can see that the whole area north of Mertz Glacier is ice free. Just to the east of that region, is quite possibly the ice that Turney says is his massive breakout. What we do notice is that the ice pack that was just south of B-98 is now gone and open water is visible, as compared to the image from Nov 28th, 2012. The ice floe I have marked in the image from Dec 19th as ‘phantom’ may or may not be the same ice that was in the area I now call ‘The Boot’, but there is nothing massive or multi-year about it. I also can’t ascertain if this is the same ice that would later embed the Shokalskiy or not.

Lets try and determine that.

Jan 2nd 2014

Mertz Region Jan 2nd, 2014
Image obtained from NASAs EOSDIS Worldview


Look at all that ice. The whole region west of Mertz Glacier has nearly doubled in ice cover, not just the area where Turney claims that a massive breakout froze them in place for 8 days.

Also notice the area I call the ‘Boot’. One of the first things that stand out is that the it is filled with ice floe. There is several possibilities, but I am going to conclude that its sea ice that made its way around the far side of B-98 and worked its way into the area, possible drawing the ice floe that was previously defined as Turneys ‘Phantom’ ice.

Either way you shake it, I think what we see here is not the work of just a small phantom ice flow, but an enormous amount of ice production, due to the polynya ice factory capabilities and existing ice flung around the north side of B-98.

Think of it like this:

Ocean currents tumble ice-pack, icebergs, along the coast of Antarctica, somewhat described as,

The traditional image of ocean circulation between Australia and Antarctica is of a dominant belt
of eastward flow, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

As the graph below suggests, the Mertz Region seems to show exactly what I am discribing.

Antarctic Ocean Currents

So, it stands to reason, that the polynya created by B-98 and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, produced a massive amount of ice pack, mixed with any existing ice pack outside the polynya in combination with the blizzard taking place at the time, and covered the whole region west of Mertz Glacier in twice as much or more ice pack.

And all this takes place nearly at the height of the Antarctic Southern Hemisphere summer.

I am willing to go on record and say that Chris Turney, leader of the Spirit of Mawson Expedition of 2013-14, is blatantly lying on several levels.

He has mislead us to believe that he wishes to communicate changes to the environment.

It is quite obvious that the information I have shown, proves beyond a shadow of doubt that for whatever reason, Chris Turney doesn’t want us to know what the true current conditions are of the Antarctic, and specifically, the Mertz region as I have discribed in this article.

Please feel free to share this with anyone that you think could benefit from this information.

I suggest start sending it to his superiors at UNSW and any other organization you deem fit.

Good Day !

Alan Bryant


3 responses to “Fun With Pixels

  1. ATMJ January 4, 2014 at 7:54 am

    Could you place a north or south arrow on the maps / photos please.

  2. ClimateForAll January 4, 2014 at 11:01 am

    I imagine that would help. Thanks.. CFA

  3. Shub Niggurath January 11, 2014 at 6:12 am

    A couple of things:
    The iceberg that collided with the Mertz tongue is not B-98, it is called B09B. Secondly, B09B is positioned to the east of the Mertz glacier. What you show as B098 is likely sea ice.

    But I agree that Turney’s account doesn’t make sense.

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