Wednesday, January 01, 2014

'Stuck in our own experiment': Leader of trapped team insists polar ice is melting

Like all failed prophets, the trappeds Warmists are good at "post hoc" explanations.  Such explanations are always looked at askance in science.  The test of a scientific theory is that it generates accurate predictions.  What the leader is saying is a lie anyway.  He says he is trapped by purely local conditions.  In fact ice is up throughout the Antarctic.  See the graph below

The leader of a scientific expedition whose ship remains stranded in Antarctic ice says the team, which set out to prove climate change, is "stuck in our own experiment."

But Chris Turney, a professor of climate change at Australia’s University of New South Wales, said it was “silly” to suggest he and 73 others aboard the MV Akademic Shokalskiy were trapped in ice they’d sought to prove had melted. He remained adamant that sea ice is melting, even as the boat remained trapped in frozen seas.

"We're stuck in our own experiment," the Australasian Antarctic Expedition said in a statement. We came to Antarctica to study how one of the biggest icebergs in the world has altered the system by trapping ice. We ... are now ourselves trapped by ice surrounding our ship.

"Sea ice is disappearing due to climate change, but here ice is building up," the Australasian Antarctic Expedition said in a statement.

Turney later told the ice surrounding his ship is old, rather than recently formed, and likely from a particular 75 mile-long  iceberg that broke apart three years ago. Climate change may have prompted the iceberg to shatter and float into the previously open sea where the mostly Australian team finds itself stranded, Turney said.

“The ice was swept across to this area by the South-East wind, its pieces creating a knock-on domino effect,” Turney told, speaking from a tent erected on the stranded ship’s top deck. “We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

But the situation has global warming skeptics poking fun at the scientists.

“Cute how these Warmists who hate fossil fuels take a trip to the Antarctic to show just how horrible fossil-fueled climate change is, then need rescue from their fossil-fueled trip by other fossil-fueled ships and helicopters, which still can’t rescue them,” wrote one blogger on Pirate’s Cove.

The website Newsbusters said much of the media has bent over backward to avoid linking the ship’s current fate with its mission.

“Somewhere far, far to the south where it is summer, a group of global warming scientists are trapped in the Antarctic ice,” read a post on the site. “If you missed the irony of that situation, it is because much of the mainstream media has glossed over that rather inconvenient bit of hilarity.”

So far, ice breakers have been unable to get closer than 10 miles from the stranded ship, which is surrounded by ice up to 10 feet thick. Stuck since Christmas Eve, it is about 100 nautical miles east of the French base Dumont D'Urville, and about 1,500 nautical miles south of Brisbane.

Turney‘s team is studying climate change, as well as how wildlife is adapting to it. He noted that numerous penguins have traipsed across the ice from the nearby mainland to curiously observe the explorers.

A Chinese ice breaker was unable to reach the ship, and another vessel, the Australian icebreaker Aurora Australis, got to within 10 nautical miles of the stranded ship but couldn’t see it through a driving blizzard, and had to turn back to open water. Turney told his team is in good spirits, though it only has 10 days of food supplies.

Icebergs pose an even greater danger to the ship than the surface ice that now has the ship in its grip, because they can pierce the hull of a ship like the Akademic Shokalskiy, in a Titanic scenario . Lisa Martin, of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating rescue attempts from their New South Wales headquarters told icebergs have been seen in the area.

‘There are icebergs around,” agreed Turney. “[The ship] is not a good position.”

The Aurora Australis is standing by in open water about 18 nautical miles east of the stranded ship, and could attempt another rescue once weather conditions improve, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The best scenario for the scientists, agrees Turney, would be that the Aurora would be able to make a path through the ice, and somehow assist the Akademik Shokalskiy’s crew to turn their vessel around – not the easiest task when hemmed in by solid pack ice – so that it could follow the Australian icebreaker back into the safety of open water, and all the expedition’s passengers could stay comfortably on board.

But indications are that the 74 will have to be evacuated. Turney says that the captain of the Aurora has already offered specialized storage space for samples collected during the expedition. And a helicopter from a nearby Chinese ship is standing by to land on the ice next to the stranded ship and transfer the team, sources say, probably to the Aurora.


No Antarctic Warming Since 1979

According to Chris Turney, leader of the expedition trapped in the ice off the coast of Antarctica, the expanding sea ice has been caused by global warming.

He obviously has not bothered checking the facts.

First, a look at UAH satellite temperature anomalies for the region. The purple line is the trend, not the mean, but as can be seen is, to all intents and purposes flat. Any trend is actually negative.

And Southern Ocean Sea Temperatures from Bob Tisdale.

Chris Turney is, apparently, Professor of Climate Change at the University of NSW. He is also a Director of Carbonscape Holdings, which has “developed technology to fix carbon from the atmosphere and make a host of green bi-products, helping reduce greenhouse gas levels.”

Carbonscape, a company based in New Zealand, is funded by several government bodies there, such as the Ministry of Science & Innovation, the Ministry of Agriculture & Fisheries, and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise.


Wind farm blight is 'industrialising our countryside': Ex-Poet Laureate accuses politicians of 'gung-ho' policies

Britain's political class today stands accused of ‘industrialising the countryside’ by allowing the spread of wind and solar farms that have ‘blighted landscapes’ across the UK.

Sir Andrew Motion, president of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, condemns the ‘gung-ho’ way in which all three main political parties have put development ahead of protecting ‘Britain’s green spaces’.

He warns that the ‘dismaying short-termism’ of British politicians will condemn the countryside to pollution, waste and damage, while ‘derelict sites’ in inner cities are ‘left to rot’.

Sir Andrew – the former Poet Laureate – warns that the changes to planning rules risk leaving greenfield sites in rural areas ‘more vulnerable than ever’ and people with ‘no say’ about new development in their communities.

In a coded attack on David Cameron, Sir Andrew accuses the Government of embarking on a ‘second industrial revolution in order to compete in the global race’ – a phrase popularised by the Prime Minister.

And taking aim at Ed Miliband, he denounces the Labour leader’s support for towns to expand.

Sir Andrew writes: ‘The emerging political consensus, with its gung-ho emphasis on growth, promises a future of urban sprawl and exploitation of the natural world whichever leaders we elect.

'Unless, that is, our politicians think again and recognise the rising public anger about the loss of our green spaces.

Mr Cameron has called for the Coalition to ‘ditch the green crap’ and Tory ministers have slashed the subsidy for onshore windfarms.

Environment Minister Greg Barker is expected to announce soon that four million solar panels covering land the size of 3,400 football pitches could be built on government land.

While the CPRE is a non-political organisation, Sir Andrew’s intervention is significant since he has previously indicated that the group’s members might not turn out to vote for parties who don’t listen to the concerns of rural voters.

The group has been highly critical of the Government’s new National Planning Policy Framework, issued last year, which established a presumption in favour of sustainable development – a move that critics say has led to more building on greenfield land.

Labour has pledged to review the NPPF but Mr Miliband has also backed the right of towns to expand so more houses can be built, at the loss of greenfield land.

He said: ‘Of course it is right that local communities have a say about where housing goes. But councils cannot be allowed to frustrate continually the efforts of others councils to get homes built.’

A senior Tory source said Sir Andrew’s warnings were simply ‘attention-seeking’, adding: ‘The NPPF contains explicit protection for the greenbelt so he clearly hasn’t read it.

The greenbelt has been strengthened. Protecting the countryside is sacrosanct in our plans. It is not going to be built on.’


21 Top Scientists Praise Gov. Jerry Brown’s New Fracking Rules

Twenty-one scientists sent a letter this month to Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown praising the use of fracking in California by oil companies and the new regulations on the procedure put in place that, they believe, will allow for a safe way to develop the “extraordinary” potential of the state’s shale oil reserves, improve the economy, create jobs, and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Jerry Brown is a long-time liberal Democrat and the California State Legislature, Senate and Assembly, is controlled by Democrats. In September, Brown signed the new fracking regulations into law.

“In our research, we have found nothing to suggest that shale development poses risks that are unknown or cannot be managed and mitigated with available technologies, best practices and smart regulation,” reads the Dec. 18 letter from the scientists. “The economic benefits that can be derived from the expanded development of shale oil and gas reserves in California are potentially significant, leading to more jobs, greater economic growth, lower energy bills, and cleaner air.”

The letter further states, “Although some have called for a ban on hydraulic fracturing, we see no merit in that course of action, provided the right regulatory approach is followed. In our view, the regulations currently being drafted by the California Department of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) certainly meet that requirement.”

The letter is signed by leading geological, petroleum engineering, earth sciences and engineering scientists from some of the leading universities in the country, including Cornell, Penn State, UCal-Berkeley, Syracuse, Texas Tech and Texas A&M.  (See Letter-to-Governor-Brown-Dec-18(1).pdf)

California’s new regulations, considered some of the strictest in the country, were signed by Governor Brown on Sept. 20, 2013 and are set to go into full effect in 2015. The new rules require oil companies to acquire permits for drilling, test groundwater, and disclose the chemicals used in the “fracking” they pursue.

Some environmental groups in California sought to ban fracking altogether in the state while the Sierra Club wanted very stringent regulations on the process. In its national policy on fracking, the Sierra Club says "there are no 'clean' fossil fuels" and the "Sierra Club's goal is to wean ourselves from oil and natural gas as swiftly as possible and by no later than 2015. Climate science is clear that we must rapidly decrease fossil fuel use if we are to avert disasterous climate disruption."  (See NaturalGasFracking.pdf)

Although Gov. Brown has a strong track record as a liberal environmentalist and believer in man-made global warming,  he signed the regulatory legislation that Democrats had proposed.

California’s Monterey Shale formation is one of the largest unconventional shale reservoirs in the United States, containing an estimated 15.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil, or 64% of the entire estimated tight oil in the lower 48 states, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The Monterey shale region stretches north and south of Monterey, Calif., along the coast and along some California islands, as well as going as far inshore as the San Joaquin Basin and to Bakersfield.

The oil from the Monterey shale would generate an estimated $24.6 billion a year in tax revenue and by year 2020, an additional 2.8 million jobs for the state, according to analysis conducted by the University of Southern California.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a technique where a mixture of water and sand (99.5%) and chemicals (0.5%) are injected into a wellbore at high pressure, creating small fractures in the rock from where fluids and natural gas, deep within the ground, can flow.

In their Dec. 18 letter to the governor, the scientists wrote: “According to the respected research firm IHS-CERA, shale development has increased average household income by roughly $1,200.  An analysis from Mercator Energy recently found that the energy cost-savings for low-income Americans last year was approximately $10 billion, or about three times the value of the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP.)”

“There is an enormous volume of oil in place in the Monterey Shale and other low quality reservoirs in California,” said Stephen Holditch, one of the signers of the letter, and a petroleum engineering professor emeritus at Texas A & M University.

In an interview with, he said, “As we have clearly learned in developing other shale reservoirs in the United States over the last 5-10 years, it will require horizontal drilling, hydraulic fracturing and a lot of capital to produce oil from such reservoirs in the coming years.  Any ban on hydraulic fracturing is essentially a ban on producing oil from shale reservoirs.”

“We want to get the greenhouse gas emissions down, but we also want to keep our economy going. That's that balance that's required,” Governor Brown, known for his support of green energy, said at a Mar. 13 press conference as reported by Reuters. "The fossil fuel deposits in California are incredible, the potential is extraordinary.”

Currently, California is the fourth largest oil-and-gas-producing state in the United States, with the state receiving $5.8 billion in fuel excise, corporate and personal income taxes in 2009, according to data from Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA).  Over 100,000 Californians are employed in oil and gas production, according to California's Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.


North Dakota Oil Fields Spur Employment and Population Growth

North Dakota drew an additional 22,000 residents over the past year, the highest percentage increase of any state, according figures released by the Census Bureau Monday.

The 3.14 percent increase was fueled by the energy boom from the Bakken oil fields. The state also boasts the lowest state unemployment rate of only 2.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Fox News highlighted one North Dakota town last week:

 With an unemployment rate of just one percent, Williston is booming. Homes and new businesses are being built daily as more workers arrive seeking steady work….Williston is braced to expand from just 12,000 residents to an estimated 90,000 within 15 years.
“We’re growing as fast as you can grow,” Lee Lusht, president of the Williston Chamber of Commerce, told “We’ve built 2,500 units of housing this year."

Nearly $350 million in building permits were issued in 2013 in Williston, on everything from businesses to apartment buildings to single family homes, as a transient population of adventurous roughnecks takes root….The money that flows from the oil and gas fields is attracting a new wave of entrepreneurs. Marcus Jundt moved to Williston from Arizona last year after seeing the potential for business growth. He and a partner have invested $15 million in ventures including a restaurant and a bar called the Williston Brewing Company. He said he was stunned to see the prosperity -- and opportunity -- in Williston.

With the average national unemployment rate at 7.0 percent, stories of economic boom such this one are difficult to come by.


The Secret Danger Liberals Don't Want You to Know: Fracking is Safe

Hydraulic fracturing started out as an “exploding torpedo” back in 1865. Today, nearly 150 years later, the actual process has made giant technological strides, but now, it's the topic that’s explosive.

While the White House has been encouraging Christmas dinner table conversation to center around Obamacare, in my experience, it is fracking that came into the conversation—and when it did, the results had the potential to be as explosive as the early practice.

Over the holidays two young adults came home for Christmas. Somehow hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” came into the conversation. Dad, a reader of my column whose employment is also peripherally connected to the oil-and-gas industry, spoke up in support of the practice that has unleashed America’s natural resources and made us the world leader in energy production. His children, and their friends who had gathered in his home, were shocked and spouted the usual claims of water contamination, harsh chemicals, and flaming faucets. The topic became so explosive that his kids packed up and left before the festivities even began.

I was in California for Christmas. I visited a cousin in Napa Valley whose adult son is in the wine business. He was at her home when I arrived. She told him what I do and stated that he had many friends in the oil-and-gas business. I smiled and said: “I can talk oil, gas, coal, nuclear, fracking, whatever…” My cousin quickly interrupted and stated: “We probably don’t want to talk fracking.” I took the hint, and we moved on to another topic. Driving back to my brother’s house, I wondered: “When did fracking become an explosive topic.”

With the Christmas prime rib consumed, my family and friends were still gathered around the table. Once again fracking came up. I shared the previous two recent stories. One woman asserted that if her sister, who was arriving in a few days from Boulder, Colorado, was there and we talked fracking, the results would be explosive, too.

Because they are not in the industry, I found that the group gathered around our table had misconceptions about the process that they’d picked up from the media.

While I don’t have an exact date when the topic of fracking became explosive, I do know, from my speaking and writing on the topic, from radio interviews with listener call-ins, and private conversations, that the explosive reactions are due to a lack of understanding about the process—with the two biggest concerns being about water and chemicals.


As I’ve written previously, there are accusations that fracking is taking billions of gallons of water out of the hydrologic cycle. Especially in the southwest where water is scarce and drought conditions persist, this poses a problem.

The process of hydraulic fracturing has advanced from the first nitroglycerin “torpedo” that was shot down a well hole on April 25, 1865, and well acidizing that was used in the 1930s to enhance productivity, to the modern mix of high pressure, water, and chemicals—and it continues to evolve and become more economical.

In a piece addressing water used in fracking, The Economist describes the process this way: “Water injected at high pressure into rock deep underground during the process of hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking,’ often returns to the surface as brine, having picked up a lot of salt on its journey. It is also contaminated with chemicals from the fracking process itself.”

Today, less and less freshwater is being used—especially in the arid southwest where water for drinking and agriculture is at a premium. A typical frack job can use as much as 5 million gallons of water and lasts about 3 days. The procedure can result in decades of oil or gas production.

With the development of new technologies, the fracking process can be done with brackish water that may be as much as ten times as salty as seawater. A recent report from Reuters, titled “Fracking without freshwater at a west Texas oil field,” documents some of the advancements. Billions of gallons of brackish water are located far below the fresh water aquifers. Producers in west Texas are fracking with the brackish water from the Santa Rosa aquifer. They are then recycling the produced water—a byproduct of oil and natural gas drilling, and the flowback water—the fluid pushed back out of the well during fracking. Both forms of wastewater have historically been trucked to underground disposal wells.

A couple of months ago, I participated in the Executive Oil Conference in Midland, Texas where a panel of water experts addressed the crowd of more than 800 attendees and discussed the new technologies.

Now, instead of trucking wastewater to a remote location, mobile systems can treat the water onsite and condition it to meet almost any specification the driller wants—resulting in a reduction of expensive truck traffic. The portable systems can treat 20,000-30,000 barrels of water per day. For bigger frack jobs, additional units can be added—making the system totally flexible.

These new water solutions can reduce the total dissolved solids in the water from as high as 200,000 to below 200. For reference, the Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for drinking water is 500. The same water can be recycled and used over and over again. Addressing the new technologies, James Welch, Global Business Development Manager, Water Solutions, with Halliburton, told the crowd: “Produced water is not a waste. It is an opportunity. It is an offset to freshwater usage.” Halliburton is able to fracture with water that's 280,000 TDS.

The result of these new procedures is, according to The Economist: “Clean water …pure enough to be used for irrigation, or even drinking water. …Alternatively, it can be re-injected into the ground during the next frack.”

Rather than taking water out of the hydrologic cycle, the oil-and-gas industry is actually often taking formerly unusable water, using it in fracking and then cleaning it up to a level where it can be introduced into the cycle as either irrigation or drinking water.

Stan Weiner, Chairman and CEO at STW Resources, was one of the panelists. He summed up the new water solutions by saying: “Now we’ve figured out a way to clean it up economically. There’s no reason not to use it. Companies nationwide, worldwide, all want to do this. We get no resistance from them. They want to see it work. It’s a go.”

GE (as addressed in The Economist), Apache Corp. (as covered by Reuters), Halliburton, and STW Resources are just a handful of the many companies, which are developing revolutionary water treatment processes that neuter one of the biggest arguments against fracking.


In our Christmas conversation, someone asked: “Why do they need chemicals? Why don’t they just frack with water?” She’d heard stories.

I explained that the so-called chemicals are needed to provide lubrication for the tiny particles of sand that hold open microscopic cracks in the “fractured” rock that allow the oil or gas to escape. “As a woman, I am sure you’ve had your fingers swell. That makes it hard to get your rings off.” She nodded. “What do you do then?” I queried. “Soap my hands up,” she replied.


That is the role the chemicals play in the fracking process. But those chemicals are now mostly food-based and can be consumed with no ill effects—both Governor Hickenlooper (D-CO) and CNBC’s Jim Cramer have had a drink.

So, even if the chemicals did somehow defy geology and migrate several miles from the fracked well through the layers of sedimentary rock to the aquifer, they are not harmful.

To illustrate the point, I am in the process of organizing what I am calling “the great New Mexico fracktail party.” I have several state legislators lined up—and am looking for more. I need to find an operator who is willing to invite us onsite when a frack job is being done. The legislators, industry folks, and anyone else who wants to participate, will be invited to the location with cocktail glass in hand (umbrella, fruit, olive—whatever—included). With media cameras rolling we’ll pour the fracfluid from the tank to our glasses and toast to American energy freedom.

My sister-in-law asked: “What about the flaming faucets?” “Those are real,” I explained. “But they have nothing to do with fracking.” Natural gas, or methane, was found in water wells long before any fracking was done in the area. In fact, it was the gassy smell that often alerted explorers to the potential oil and gas in the region. Oil-and-gas drilling didn’t cause the flaming faucet phenomenon. Quite the contrary. The presence of gas near the surface brought about the “don’t smoke in the shower” adage. While the water is harmless to consume, a gas build up in the house could cause an explosion.

Lies about hydraulic fracturing are rampant. If fossil fuel opponents can spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about fracking—with the goal of causing a federal fracking ban, they can virtually stop oil-and-gas development in America, as it is estimated that 90 percent of producing wells have been fracked. Without American ingenuity and increasing production, gasoline prices and utility bills will skyrocket. Economic ruin will reign. America will, once again be beholden to increasingly hostile foreign sources.

A fracking conversation shouldn’t be explosive. Today’s hydraulic fracturing is really benign, American technology that is ecologically sound and economically advantageous. Keep these facts in mind. As my stories illustrate, not everyone will listen—but if more people, such as my brother and sister-in-law, know the truth they can help de-fuse the explosive conversation.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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