Comparison of the Chinese and Australian ice breakers – MV Xue Long and RSV Aurora Australis

The background to this is in my article two down on December 26th, 2013 – The Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) is delayed onboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy which has issued a distress signal while beset by ice
Today we are told by AMSA that the RSV Aurora Australis is due tonight after the Chinese ice breaker MV Xue long could not break through to free the Russian registered cruise ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy which has been locked in ice since early morning on the 25th Dec.
I think a salient point is that the Aurora Australis weighs in at 8,158 tons displacement compared to 21,025 for the Xue long.

I would be amazed if, in a fair contest with both trying to clear a path through equivalent ice – the Australian ship could break a path through ice that blocks the much heavier Xue Long.

But maybe we will see tonight – perhaps the Aurora Australis has experience on its side.
The main thing is that AMSA can ensure that people on the Russian ship can be extricated to safety – whatever means have to be used.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology replaces the century old Melbourne Regional Office weather observation site in the Melbourne CBD

They are launching a new Melbourne weather observation site at Olympic Park – surrounded on two sides by tarmac car parks. And of course a freeway just out of view behind the photographer.

I enjoyed how the BoM manages to write 309 words on the subject yets avoids the term “urban heat island”. IMHO it is quite possible that the new site could warm due to increasing urban effects at a faster rate than the old.

The Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) is delayed onboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy which has issued a distress signal while beset by ice

AMSA has a Media Release – Search and rescue of passenger vessel trapped in ice underway – The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is coordinating a search and rescue for a Russian passenger ship beset by ice approximately 1500 nautical miles south of Hobart.

MV Akademik Shokalskiy – not much bigger than a tug – we can only hope they are in no danger. More update and complete news should be forthcoming – taxpayers money is helping to pay for this. The Falmouth MRCC received a distress message via satellite – which they passed on to AMSA. It is interesting that some news accounts such as the ABC refer to a “cruise ship” – while refer to the Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) as the dominant numbers on the ship.

The AMSA Media Release goes on to say – Three ships with icebreaking capability have responded, including the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) vessel Aurora Australis, and are now en route to the area. The closest vessels are at least two days sailing time away. The other two ships are likely to be China’s colossal ex Russian red icebreaker, the Xuelong or Snow Dragon – and the French ice breaker L’Astrolabe, a well known visitor at Hobart over the years.

The Aurora Australis sitrep page on the 24th has them 25% way through the 30 hours of pumping 900K litres of diesel ashore at Casey. They look to be 650 miles west of the Akademik Shokalskiy so to respond immediately would be to interrupt their supplying of Casey and set back further their warm season work. The Aurora Australis is no great shakes as an icebreaker anyway – they were delayed in ice themselves last month – and in 2012. Surely AAD would not lightly delay further this seasons work if people on the Akademik Shokalskiy were in no danger.

Fairfax reports early on 26th that the Aurora Australis is already on her way from Casey on what is a two day voyage to help. It is not clear if the Chinese ice breaker Xuelong is closer; considering the Xuelong is much more powerful in the ice than the Aurora Australis – AAD must have had good reasons to drop the unloading at Casey ? I suppose National issues are at stake.

“Heatwave expected to hit one-third of Australia over Christmas” – Bureau of Meteorology dud prediction on 18 December 2013

It looks clear there will be no Christmas heat wave of any significance this Christmas. Here is the BoM prediction – Heatwave expected to hit one-third of Australia over Christmas – If you check forecasts for your region of SE Australia you can see what an utter dud the BoM is.

I am calling for reports on how this is going – buckled railway lines – whatever. Can people please call in temperatures in their regions, thanks. You can check maximum temperature anomalies for past days or weeks etc here.
[The BOM’s assistant director of weather services, Alasdair Hainsworth, says the heatwave could last for about a week.
“Unfortunately it is going to be be a fairly protracted period of hot weather,” he said.
“Maybe in some of the coastal locations it won’t be quite so protracted, but over inland parts of south-eastern and eastern Australia, I think we are looking at around about a week’s worth of very hot weather.”
Mr Hainsworth warns that Christmas travel plans may be disrupted.]

I am offering a prize for the first report of buckled railway line up to and including Friday 27 Dec – the BoM Memorial Sixpack of Aldi White Wine – winner can choose any variety up to $5 per bottle, you can collect at your nearest ALDI.

Satellites do not agree with NOAA that November was hottest on record for the planet

Media are running with this story – Warm November set heat record for planet
NOAA have their own page too – NOAA – Global Analysis – November 2013
Yet RSS lower troposphere satellite temperature anomalies say November 2013 was only 16th warmest since 1978. UAH data shows November 2013 to be 9th equal warmest – so no support for NOAA there either.

When you consider the miniscule thin skin of atmosphere that satellites are sounding it seems unlikely that they should vary by so much from the surface.
I know I would back many thousands of soundings being pinged constantly and impartially by the little travellers against the surface thermometer network with all its known biases – not to mention constant adjustments so that the past is colder.

Another example of a possible drift in early TOMS satellite ozone data

I have looked at the ozone hole issue a few times over the years – and have had a suspicion that various factors affect stratospheric ozone levels apart from destruction wrought by gases released from old fridges and freezers.
In the previous post the graphic indicates that ozone and temperature could be more congruent in the early years 1978-1985.
Out of curiosity I compared TOMS monthly data ex KNMI to the Arosa ozone series from Switzerland.

Lo and behold – TOMS numbers look too large in the early years too.
The KNMI TOMS series is a blend with more recent data from the European Space Agency SCIAMACHY ozone data. TOMS having ended in 2007.
R.I.P. TOMS: NASA Ozone Instrument Laid to Rest After Three Decades

December temperatures start cool across Australia

If you make maps here for maximum and minimum anomalies – period one week – you can see the extent of cool anomalies.

Maximum Anomaly
Minimum Anomaly

After a record warm spring where most of the heat was in September – mean anomaly 2.75°C, October had a 1.43° anomaly and November 0.52°.The first 10 days of December look to have been cooler than average.

You read it first here.

Contrast this reality with the amount of talk about heat you hear on TV weather segments.