Thin Ice: the inside story of climate science

by Gareth on April 22, 2013

Now showing at an Antarctic base near you (and quite a few places elsewhere), a documentary about climate science, filmed and put together by VUW geophysics professor Simon Lamb. The idea for Thin Ice – the inside story of climate science was born over a cup of tea in Wellington in 2006, when Peter Barrett of VUW suggested that Lamb, then at Oxford, make the film. Lamb went on to visit many parts of the world, and talk to a who’s who of climate scientists. Should be well worth a couple of hours of anyone’s time — especially those prone to accusing climate scientists of fraud.

Thin Ice is a joint effort between VUW, Oxford University and DOX Productions, and there are screenings in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Wellington today and tomorrow, as well as in Australia, Canada, the UK and USA and many other places. You can also download or stream the film to your PC or tablet. I’ll be watching on my iPad this evening. Reviews etc welcome in comments to this post…

{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

noelfuller April 22, 2013 at 6:15 pm

I have not seen it yet – I wish people who want their videos widely seen would actually provide a download button in say .mp4 or mov. I can’t get it as is. A friend is searching for some software to download it.

Thomas April 22, 2013 at 10:20 pm

Hi Noel. I earlier today did exactly that. Downloaded it as an mp4 from their site. There was a download button underneath the Vimo movie where you could select various formats and sizes. I got a 1Gb or so mp4 and just watched it. Now the download button is gone from their site. I guess I got lucky.

Its a great movie and well done!

noelfuller April 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Now I have paid my $10 and taken about 6 hours to download all 2.7 GB, including dropouts, I am able to join the chorus of those who really appreciate this video. I did not hear anything I have not read many times before and in greater detail but it is the effective use of visual media, where the work is actually being done, that provides the impact. Very well done!

George April 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm

It’s tremendous — a positive focus on the scientists telling their story. No polemic.

bill April 22, 2013 at 10:20 pm

An excellent piece of work. Simon Lamb has a kind of cross-Atlantic Richard Alleyesque charm – and an outstanding eye.

Indeed, from the short I was expecting something much more hand-made looking than the actual result, and yet the tone and pacing of the film remains genial and unforced – it never veers into the slick, the hectoring, or the polemic.

I’ll also flag Phillip Sheppard’s first-class score, which is evocative and never works against the content (some early sections of which reminded me – appropriately given the focus on the Antarctic – of the Penguin Cafe Orchestra! That’s probably just me…)

I’m going to recommend it widely.

I have to say – these are the crypto-Comintern ideologues cynically and systematically manipulating the data in order to steal our Freedom™? Give me a break! I give thanks every day that I don’t have to live in the head of a Denier…

eltoro April 22, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Absolutely recommend this documentary. Should be compulsory viewing by all `pollies`. I saw nothing of an `alarmist` nature in the presentation on the contrary if anything the affect of climate change in terms of time frame and scale are (in my humble opinion) considerably understated.
For example it was stated toward the end of the presentation that (the particular scientist) had no doubt as to the ability of the human species to survive 2, 3 or more degrees of global temperature rise. What he didn`t state was what proportion of the current 7 billion would be here if we don`t alter our globally upward temperature trajectory.
The answer is of course is up to us. You choose NOW if your offspring have a future because its quite obvious 100% is likely to be a long, long way off the result.

Toby April 23, 2013 at 4:25 am

There was a freshness and enthusiasm about many of the scientists involved .. most are completely unknown.

While admiring Michael Mann and James Hansen, and remembering the sad passing of Stephen Schneider, is the torch passing to a new generation?

Johnmacmot April 23, 2013 at 11:01 am

I enjoyed this. Did a fine job of catching the environments where people were working, and letting the various scientists be themselves and explain their work in a low key way. Well worth the time to watch. I’ll likely grab a copy when they have the downloads up for sale.

Macro April 23, 2013 at 11:23 am

Something for everyone. My 5 year old G’daughter helped me to watch it, and now want’s to be a climate scientist! :)

Carol Cowan April 23, 2013 at 9:42 pm

That was stunning! Beautiful photography, unintrusive, yet expressive, music, and the science explained in words that could be understood by non-sciency types. I even saw my mother’s home town. I really wish that all those who express doubt about global warming would watch this.

Interesting too, that none of those scientists had pointy horns and pitchforks! Indeed, I noted that most of those old enough to have wrinkles had smile lines … those were honest-looking men and women. They were a contrast to the grim-looking faces of the sceptics shown at the start of the flim.

Clare April 24, 2013 at 11:27 am

Well said, Carol.
& I thought it very nicely paced, extremely well edited.

Rob Taylor April 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

Also highly recommended is James Balog’s film “Chasing Ice”, which is playing on Sky’s Nat. Geo. channel this week.

bill April 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I was glad to have caught Balog’s film at the Cinema, given the remarkable standard of the photography.

And here’s another newly-released (as is its subject!) film that will be worth watching – Bidder 70.

Thomas April 24, 2013 at 12:13 pm

And of cause, punctual for Earth Day, The Telegraph lets Delringpole knock another post from whatever the paper has left in the foundation for its reputation: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100213490/how-your-typical-middle-of-the-road-columnist-is-greeting-the-death-of-global-warming/

While 75 years ago a scientist saw it all coming already: http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/guy-callendars-groundbreaking-scientific-paper-man-made-global-warming-75-years-old.html

Gareth April 24, 2013 at 12:45 pm

That Delingpole piece is astonishing (mind you, most of his posts are, though not in a good way) because it shows just how inverted the Delingpole/Monckton view of the world has become. The evidence of warming and climate change is slapping them in the face, but they can’t – or won’t – see it. Nor will they ever change their views. We can only hope that the rest of the world moves on, and leaves them to their little shrinking world of dreams and delusions.

Thomas April 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

The question is: what is more depressing, the views of Delringpole and the fact that the Telegraph still gives him a pedestal, or the drunken cheers of his usual fellowship of rednecks giving him the ‘high fives’ below the post?

Copie April 26, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Unfortunately earth has let you down Gareth, as the IPCC and the UK Met office have both stated, warming stopped 17 years ago. Rather than waste your time on a lost cause, you should concentrate on stopping pollution and overfishing etc, give yourselves some credibility.

Rob Taylor April 27, 2013 at 1:56 am

Unfortunately, reality has let you down, Copie, as the latest research shows that warming has accelerated. Rather than waste your time on the lost cause of climate change denial, you should concentrate on educating yourself: give yourself some credibility.

http://skepticalscience.com/Global-Warming-is-Accelerating-but-its-Still-Groundhog-Day-at-the-Daily-Mail.html

Gareth April 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

Neither assertion is true. Read the refs provided by other commenters. And then the comment policy.

bill April 26, 2013 at 11:23 pm

as the IPCC and the UK Met office have both stated, warming stopped 17 years ago

This is what’s known as a ‘lie’. Prove me wrong.

RW April 26, 2013 at 11:29 pm

Just beat me to the post Bill. Copie, you’re an ignorant disingenuous troll. Been reading the Daily Fail?

Copie April 28, 2013 at 4:23 am

Bill and RW, you should both concentrate on what really counts. Object to pollution and over exploitation, perhaps you will then gain some respect.

Doug April 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

OK let’s cut back on the use of fossil fuels. They cause lots of pollution. Not to mention all the political and social disruption, corruption etc.

Does that address your concerns?

Thomas April 28, 2013 at 9:58 am

This blog site is about climate change. Stick to the topic and you might get some repect here.

bill April 28, 2013 at 10:21 am

Boring, feeble, and transparent attempt at concern trolling. Next.

RW April 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Unless you were to change your attitude, I would be worried if I were respected by you.

Thomas April 28, 2013 at 10:44 pm

Acceleration of snow melt in an Antarctic Peninsula ice core during the twentieth century
This is a very interesting paper in Nature Geoscience. The abstract of the paper is there with all figures. It reports on very detailed temperature data for the past 1000 years derived from a 365 m ice core. It would indeed seem that the so called Medieval warm period was a northern hemisphere matter and that the warming over the past century is pronounced and temperatures are the highest in the period observed. Summer snow melt is now 10x stronger than during the Medieval times.

This figure is stunning: http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/fig_tab/ngeo1787_F5.html

A good discussion of the article is also at the Guardian.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/apr/15/antarctic-ice-melt-record-rate

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