It’s not exactly the wacky adventures of the passengers of the SS Minnow, but the team of New Zealand researchers on board the Akademik Shokalskiy, that go stuck in the Antarctic at Christmas, just can’t catch a break.
First, the whole pack of them went to Antarctica to try to prove some cockamamie ideas about global warming by following in the footsteps of a previous doomed Antarctic expedition, led 100 years ago by Douglas Mawson. On that expedition, by the way, nearly everybody died.
Their ship gets frozen in the ice, which some doofus on their blog tried to blame on “old” ice from a melting iceberg — melting because of global warming, mind you — that got blown toward their ship in such large quantities that it refroze, locking them in place.
(This goes against the description on the same blog of a storm that whipped up the waves and froze the sea for miles around.)
The ice is so thick that even China’s massive icebreaker Snow Dragon, designed for such conditions, can’t get closer than six miles to the ship full of stooges. Said pack of doofi can’t just march to the rescue ship, which they can see in their binoculars, because the weather is so cold — despite global warming — that they would all freeze to death before they got there.
One of the researchers demonstrates how evolution fails to explain the survival of the stupidest by writing a blog entry discussing how he took off his glove to write an email and his hand turned numb and stopped moving within a matter of minutes.
Finally, a good old fossil-fueled helicopter from the Snow Dragon is able to swoop in and collect the B-list scientists and take them to a waiting rescue ship, the Aurora Austrialis.
Then, before it can turn around, the Snow Dragon gets frozen in place. Then the Aurora Australis finds its way out blocked, and officials are unsure when, or if, it will be able to break into open sea.
And this all happens at the height of the Antarctic summer.
Meanwhile, scientists at the British Antarctic Survey, who are not doofi, have reported that the apparent melting of Antarctic ice around the Pine Island Glacier in recent years is not due to global warming, but to the erosion of an underwater rock shelf that had previously protected the area like the lip of a bowl. Now that it’s been ground down, increased amounts of seawater are able to get in under the ice shelf, causing chunks of ice to break off.
From the surface, that looked like the ice was melting, but actually the rate of melting of the glacier is the lowest ever recorded, according to the Brits, and the increased ice in the water has pushed the thermocline (the separation between cold surface and warm deep water) some 250 feet deeper.
But all is not lost. While the academic researchers sip their hot cocoa and wave an increasingly slow goodbye to two trapped ships’ crews who tried to save their sorry butts, they can rest assured that no matter what happens, there will always be a way to twist the data to make it look like they’ve proved man-made global warming.
And if their new ship gets stuck, they’ll have plenty of time to think about how to do it.