The belief that the ice was vanishing has been for the warmists the ultimate poster-child for their cause
Two events last week brought yet further twists to one of the longest-running farces of our modern world. One was the revelation by the European Space Agency that in 2013 and 2014, after years when the volume of Arctic ice had been diminishing, it increased again by as much as 33 per cent. The other was that Canadian scientists studying the effect of climate change on Arctic ice from an icebreaker had to suspend their research, when their vessel was called to the aid of other ships trapped in the thickest summer ice seen in Hudson Bay for 20 years.
For more than a decade now, the belief that, thanks to global warming, Arctic ice was vanishing has been for the warmists the ultimate poster-child for their cause (along with those “vanishing” polar bears). In 2007, with the aid of scientists such as Wieslaw Maslowski and Peter Wadhams, the BBC and others were telling us that the Arctic would be totally “ice free by 2013” (the Independent even cleared its front page to announce that the ice could all have disappeared within weeks).
By 2011, the BBC’s science editor Richard Black was telling us that the ice would “probably be gone within this decade”. In 2012, his colleague Roger Harrabin was reporting that the sea ice was now melting so fast that more had vanished that summer than “at any time since satellite records began”.
So taken in had others been by all these dire predictions, that in 2008 the activist Gordon Lewis Pugh, after speaking at a conference alongside
Al Gore, set out to paddle a kayak to the North Pole – only to have to abort his trip after a few days because “the ice was too thick”. In 2009, the three-man Caitlin expedition, sponsored by a “climate risk” insurance company, and backed by the BBC and the Prince of Wales, set out to walk to the North Pole. Their intention was to measure the thickness of the vanishing ice with an electronic instrument, but it froze so hard that they had to resort to a tape measure. Again, after a few weeks, they had to be airlifted back to a rescue ship because the constantly shifting ice was “too thick”.
In December 2013, the world followed agog the plight of yet another “scientific expedition”, when 52 climate activists, accompanied by reporters from the BBC and the Guardian, sailed into the Antarctic to measure the effects of global warming on its sea-ice. By Christmas their ship was so dangerously trapped by thick, multi-year ice that they had to be helicoptered to a Chinese ship 10 miles away, which itself then got so trapped in ice that they had to be airlifted again to two other ships even further away.
What made all this particularly absurd was that, despite being led by an Australian scientist, they were so taken in by the make-believe that they seemed quite oblivious to the satellite records showing that Antarctic sea-ice had long been expanding to such record levels that these more than matched any decline in the Arctic ice at the other end of the world. But wasn’t the whole point of this warming that it was meant to be “global”?
Of course, the reason why they have all wanted the ice at the poles to melt, not least on the land in Antarctica and Greenland, is that this would bring about their ultimate scare scenario: those sea levels rising by as much as 20 feet, which, as Al Gore showed in his Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth, would flood New York, Shanghai and many of the world’s most populous cities.
But, alas, it just isn’t happening. In recent years there has been more polar ice in the world than at any time since satellite records began in 1979. In the very year they had forecast that the Arctic would be “ice free”, its thickness increased by a third. Polar bear numbers are rising, not falling. Temperatures in Greenland have shown no increase for decades.