Miracles happen. You wake up one day, lazily scan the science news on the BBC website, expecting the usual climate alarmist drivel and then suddenly it hits you – bang! A bolt from the blue:

Antarctic: ‘No role’ for climate in Halley iceberg splitting

You hastily put your morning cuppa down and do a double-take and then you read some more and you start wondering if either the journalist or the editor was ill that day. But no, it seem that this is a legitimate piece of BBC science journalism which flatly and bluntly refutes any role at all for anthropogenic climate change in recent Antarctic ice changes. No ifs, no buts – it was all natural.

When a giant iceberg breaks away from near Britain’s Halley research base, it won’t be because of climate change.

As soon as the calving does occur, though, it can be guaranteed that one of the first questions everyone will ask is: what was the influence of climate change?

And the Northumbria University team believes it will be able to answer with high confidence: “There was none.”

“There is no indication from oceanographic or atmospheric data that the climate is changing in the Brunt area,” Dr De Rydt told BBC News.

“Our ocean observations are limited but whatever we have doesn’t indicate anything unusual; and our model shows that what we are seeing can be perfectly explained by natural changes in the geometry of the ice shelf.”

*Reaches for smelling salts*


  1. It is puzzling that at this late date if consensus control over nearly all means of communication that a tidbit of non-apocalyptic rational thought is allowed to be conveyed


  2. The BBC must be missing the previous incumbent at BAS, Chris Rapley, who constantly spoke of the Antarctic as “an awakening giant.”

    “Antarctic glaciers thinning fast”- BAS Press Release No: 03/2005 02 Feb 2005: “The last IPCC report characterised Antarctica as a slumbering giant in terms of climate change. I would say that this is now an awakened giant. There is real cause for concern.” He was speaking then about the Larsen B ice shelf.

    The current BAS Director blames the Halley situation on Nature and presumably the Beeb couldn’t get a worthwhile quote from her.


    31 October, 2017 Press releases

    “British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has decided, for safety reasons, that it will close its Halley VI Research Station during the 2018 Antarctic winter. This will be the second time that the year-round operation of the station, which is located on a floating 150-m thick ice shelf, will be disrupted by a complex and unpredictable glaciological situation.

    The latest expert assessment from BAS glaciologists confirms that the northern movement of a chasm in the Brunt Ice Shelf (which had previously been dormant for around 35 years) accelerated during the last 7 months (the Antarctic winter), and the second crack (known as Halloween crack) that appeared unexpectedly in October 2016, continues to extend eastwards.”

    Director of BAS since 2013, Professor Dame Jane Francis says,

    “What we are witnessing is the power and unpredictability of Nature.”


  3. Normal service is very much in operation again. This morning on the Today Programme, the business news slot was all about how Shell and other oil companies were responding to concerns about climate change, and a story about travelling along a river in Morocco talked about droughts and climate change.

    Next week there’s a big propaganda documentary Climate change – the facts which will, no doubt, be largely fiction. In the trailer David Attenborough claims “We are facing a global catastrophe”.


  4. Paul The Radio Times suggests that Attenborough will sanctify Greta on the programme,, implying there are reasons for hope concerning the upcoming climate catastrophe. Good grief!
    I don’t know whether to watch the programme live in its entirety, or record it for later viewing when I can do this in quasi-manageable snippets.


  5. A Doctor Andrew Boswell of Norwich today in the Guardian letters section congratulates the paper on tackling the “climate emergency” by publishing the daily levels of atmospheric CO2. However, he also suggests giving daily methane levels as well, so as to worry us even more.

    How much longer until these values get posted alongside the daily BBC weather reports?


  6. ‘Climate Change – The Facts’, eh, narrated by David Attenborough. I wonder if, like Attenborough’s recent outing on Netflix, he will be fraudulently claiming that walruses filmed falling off of cliffs in Russia in 2017 because of the presence of predatory polar bears is evidence of climate change? I’ve lost all respect for the man. First he becomes a propaganda mouthpiece, then he puts his stamp of authenticity upon publicly broadcast direct lies. he has now trashed his once fine reputation as Britain’s most loved and respected naturalist and wildlife presenter, built up over many decades. What a way to end a career.


  7. Attenborough was singled out for mention HRH Prince William for his wise counsel on climate issues.
    His day job is apparently just to get him credibility to sell new clothes to young royals.


  8. Here’s a quick history of old myths about cliff-climbing walruses:


    A C16 example from Olaus Magnus:

    Using their tusks, these animals clamber right up to the cliff-tops, as if they were going up a ladder, in order to crop the sweet, dew-moistened grass, and then roll back down into the sea again, unless, in the meantime, they have been overcome with a heavy drowsiness and fall asleep as they cling to the rocks.

    Modern science would agree with some of that. Is it normal for walruses to visit cliff-tops? Yes. Do they actually climb cliffs to get there? No (they find an easier route). Do they use their teeth when climbing? Yes (but mostly on ice floes). Do they sleep while hanging by their teeth? Perhaps (but only from ice floes). Do they roll back down from cliff-tops? Alas, yes. Do they visit cliff-tops to eat grass? No.

    Magnus had never seen a living walrus. His account was based on several centuries of Chinese Whispering. So it’s remarkable how much he got right.

    Compare that with Netflix. In an age when the workings of the natural world have never been so well explained and those explanations have never been made so easily available to everyone, Netflix says that climate change is making walruses fall off cliffs.


  9. @Paul – nice catch/link – seems Andrew & co just can’t help but “sex it up”

    as for David Attenborough – he is now the voice of the doomed planet brigade.
    he reads the script given to him without any checks because he trusts the sources.
    sad some exploit him, but he now laps up his WWF status.


  10. I used to be a huge fan of Attenborough’s programs, but harsh as it may be to say so, can’t help wondering if at his age he is starting to lose his mental faculties. After everything he’s seen in the past 50 odd years of filming wildlife if he sat down and thought about it for a minute he would realise that although he has seen many changes to the natural world natural variability is much greater than any supposed climate change. His once wonderful documentaries have always uncovered previously little known animal behaviour without mentioning climate change,so why does rarely seen footage of walrus climbing cliffs all of a sudden spell catastrophy. In his book “The Life Of Mammals” he talks about Walruses hauling out on traditional beaches, so he should know as well as anyone that walruses hauling out on land instead of sea ice is nothing to do with climate change. Come on David get a grip, it’s not like you need the money or publicity, maybe it’s time to retire gracefully before you make an even bigger fool of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Normal service at the BBC has indeed been resumed. Today sees a piece on the “science and environment” section of their website, about Extinction Rebellion, headlined “the climate change protests making headlines”. Well, yes, they are making headlines – because the BBC gives them headline coverage.

    It appears that the BBC policy of giving headlines to climate change protestors is now itself headline news…at least on the BBC.


  12. The Fail appears to be going into competition with the Beeb nowadays as to who can publish the most climate alarmist rubbish. They had this yesterday. What’s so amusing is that, if you scan the comments below the article, you would be hard pressed to find a single one which does not express scepticism and indeed a majority are openly cynical and mocking. The public just aren’t buying it.


  13. The Netflix footage of the Walrus’ diving over the cliffs is interesting. Walrus footage starts at about 45 minutes into the second episode, with about 100,000 Walrus massed on what looks to be a barrier beach. That is something along the line of Chesil Beach, Weymouth with a narrow strip of beach with sea on either side, only in the film the beach is of sand. (Alan Kendall – please correct me if I have misidentified the phenomena.) The film then moves to Walrus climbing 80m cliffs and then the horrific images of them trying to roll down, in desperation to reach the sea. The beach at the bottom is of stone and only a few meters deep.
    Susan Crockford in her Telegraph article – most at the GWPF website – identifies the site as Ryrkaypiy in the far North-East of Siberia. The Bing map gives an explanation for the difference. The coastline has a number of “barrier” beaches. Zoom in on the the town of Ryrkaypiy and you will notice a headland that is almost an island. Dr Crockford refers to a story in the Siberian Times from last December of polar bear besieging the town. The last photograph is of the headland with cliffs.
    Dr Crockford believes the incident in the film is from 2017, quoting another source.

    The incident in question occurred near Ryrkaypiy, a tiny village located on the northern coast of Chukotka bordering the Chukchi Sea. According to a report by the Siberian Times, 5,000 walruses recently hauled out on a shoreline near the village. The walruses were followed by about 20 polar bears, no doubt drawn by the stench of thousands of blubbery, flippered meals.

    The arrival of the bears caused the walruses to panic, and many attempted to flee. Per the Siberian Times, “several hundred” fell to their deaths off the cliffs of the nearby Kozhevnikova Cape. The bears, naturally, went to town on the carcasses.

    Attenborough implies that the deaths are down to vanishing sea ice, but the reality appears to be some astute polar bears causing panic to create enough food to last them for months.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Having seen (from a reasonably safe distance) both walrus and polar bear from the Cape Lisbon area of western Alaska, I pity any polar bear that tackles a walrus – especially a male. Those tusks are something to behold and the walrus moves its head remarkably quickly. It would also be difficult for a bear to administer a killing neck bite, given all that blubber. I somehow doubt even a group of 20 bears would have prevailed if the incident had occurred during breeding season. I certainly was warned, in no uncertain terms, to avoid walrus haulouts, and told about past human fatalities.
    Our helicopter pilot found a walrus penis bone on a beach which, in my ignorance, I recused to believe. Later we saw a similar bone for sale at an extraordinary price. My friend Wiki now tells me that walruses have the largest penis bones in the animal kingdom.


  15. Here’s Andrew Montford’s article in the Spectator on the bogus walrus story


    See also this picture where he confirms that the two incidents were the same one.

    Since the Spectator has a paywall, he’s put the article up at his blog


    The first Bishop Hill blog post since Oct 2017!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. “Stranded flock rescued over 10 days”


    “A flock of 65 sheep were rescued from coastal cliffs in Pembrokeshire over 10 days.

    They were brought to safety by boats or hauled up with ropes, by fire crews and RSPCA teams.

    It is thought they were scared by a dog and became stuck at Mathry, Pembrokeshire.

    RSPCA Cymru said it was “the most technical rescue” they had dealt with.”

    Surely, as with the walruses, this was due to climate change?


  17. Mark you’re a denier par excellence aren’t you? Pembrokeshire sheep are not suitable as analogues of climate change and one rogue sheepdog cannot overcome the results of years of modelling. Modelling, or meddling as it is sometimes called, is much more important than real data.


  18. Normal service is resumed today on the BBC. This same glacier which is calving, had a colony of 14,000 to 25,000 breeding pairs of emperor penguins before 2016. This colony “essentially disappeared overnight” in late 2016, possibly due to a severe storm that broke up the ice whilst the new chicks were still on the ice. It has taken over two years for the British Antarctic Survey to report this, despite it (a) happened in summer (b) being less than 20 miles from the Halley VI base and on the same breaking ice shelf, (c) the colony is so large that the guano is clearly visible in satellite photos. The photo shows a triangle of guano traces, the sides 0.5 to 1.0km long.
    The chaps at the base should be very closely monitoring the ice shelf due to it being so unstable. Their safety depends on it.



  19. Manic,

    The article you link to follows the now all-too-familiar pattern, as illustrated by the following key passage:

    “Quite why the sea-ice platform on the edge of the Brunt shelf has failed to regenerate is unclear. There is no obvious climate signal to point to in this case; atmospheric and ocean observations in the vicinity of the Brunt reveal little in the way of change.

    But the sensitivity of this colony to shifting sea-ice trends does illustrate, says the team, the impact that future warming in Antarctica could have on emperor penguins in particular.

    Research suggests the species might lose anywhere between 50% and 70% of its global population by the end of this century, if sea-ice is reduced to the extent that computer models envisage.”

    In a nutshell: This is not a result of climate change but we have models, God damn you, models!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.