On Wednesday, a helicopter rescued 52 passengers from a research ship after it got trapped in Antarctic ice on Christmas eve due to a blizzard moving through the area froze the ice around them. Over the last 10 days, efforts to rescue the stranded vessel using ice-breaker ships all failed.
You might think getting their story on the national news would help reinforce the importance of Antarctic research or maybe even spur some additional funding.
That’s not the case to Fox Business’s Varney & Company. Media Matters highlighted a clip from the Jan. 2 show in which Stuart Varney seems to think the fact that Antarctica has ice is proof of his “global cooling” idea — the idea that the world is actually cooling, not warming. “Global cooling” is not backed by scientific evidence.
Here’s the clip:
Here’s what he said:
All 52 of the passengers aboard the research vessel stranded in the Antarctic have been rescued. The ship, sent to the Antarctic to study climate change, has been stranded in the ice for 10 days. Attempts to rescue the passengers using ice breaker ships failed. The rescuers finally got through using a whopping great big helicopter that was landed on the — supposedly very thin — ice. They are all out OK. It looks to me like we are looking at global cooling, forget this global warming — that’s just my opinion.
Here’s why that last part is a ridiculous statement:
First, Antarctica is cold. It’s always been colder than other areas of the world. Just because it is cold in one area of the world doesn’t make global warming less true. Actual measurements of global temperature show an insane increase in global temperature in the modern era. This temperature increase will continue. While we don’t know for sure how high these temperatures will go and how they will impact climate in certain areas, we do know they will have drastic impacts.
Varney mocks the idea of the ice being “thin” since it was able to support the weight of a helicopter. Things like thin and melting ice are generally held up as indications of global warming. However, Varney’s understanding of “thin” ice is different than how scientists think of it. Most of the sea ice in Antarctica melts and grows back every summer — peaking in September. The ice in this area at this time of the year was up to 10 feet deep — thick enough for a helicopter not to fall through — but thin enough to melt in the summers.
This ice growth has been bigger than usual in some areas because of shifting wind patterns that blow cold air. That doesn’t mean that the globe is cooling. Global warming creates all kinds of climate changes at local levels. Local cooling doesn’t mean that the whole globe is cooling.
We don’t yet have proof that this blizzard that trapped the ship was unusual for the season, but we have predicted that global warming will create more un-predicable and harsh extreme weather.