[caption id="attachment_62310" align="aligncenter" width="610"]
Drift analysis for the MH370 flaperon in one simple diagram[/caption]
Attempts by the ATSB
to encourage a resumption of the search for the wreckage of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have instead drawn attention to claimed weak points in a revised CSIRO drift analysis that favors searching a comparatively smaller section of south Indian Ocean seafloor off Western Australia.
As a consequence, the abandonment of the search by Australia and Malaysia, with little commentary from China, in January, seems even less likely than before to be reversed, even though some observers had hoped for a provision for this in the Australian federal budget next month.
Things went off the rails for the ATSB after the Australian researcher Mick Gilbert, pointed out some of the untidy aspects of the revised CSIRO study (which can be downloaded at source here
) in a comment to this post on Plane Talking
This was followed by a very detailed post
by Independent Group member Victor Iannello that built on more work by his peer in MH370 analysis Richard Godfrey.
What might we make of these developments? The ATSB seems to have taken the politically more realistic view that it should make efforts to resume the search for MH370 (which vanished on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014) as small a target for naysayers as possible, while doubling down on its support for earlier conclusions as to the likely resting place of the sunk wreckage.
Independent analysts like Victor Iannello, Richard Godfrey and Mick Gilbert have however no alternative to taking a far broader view of the variables and factuals that complicate any attempt to confine the wreckage to high probability zones, even if the latest is in fact one quarter the size of the previous and now terminated search zone.
Politicians value 'confidence' over mathematically defined 'probability'. However the ATSB's 'confidence' comes with criticisms that undermine its credibility. This isn't good for the case for resuming the search, even though its discontinuation was undoubtedly premature, and the focus should always have been not on a new confined area, but addressing all of the concerns about MH370's final path that have come to light since the jet went missing.
Finding MH370 may well involve as much cost and effort as has already gone into the search up until it was discontinued. That appears to be politically impossible at this time.