You ask, I provide. November 2nd, 1922. Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt.

Roger Carr recently wrote in comments:

HELP WANTED: I am trying to purchase (or plunder) a full copy of this story, mentioned here on this forum:

A Washington, D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing headline in the Nov. 2, 1922 edition of The Washington Post: Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt.

The article mentions “great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones,” and “at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared.”

The original source of the story resurfacing recently was from an Inside the Beltway column of August 14th, 2007. The newspaper article was located in the Library of Congress archives by James Lockwood.

Here is the text of the Washington Post (Associated Press) article:

The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway.
Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm.
Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds.


The source report of the Washington Post article on changes in the arctic has been found in the Monthly Weather Review for November 1922. It is much more detailed than the Washington Post (Associated Press) article. It seems the AP heaviliy relied on the report from Norway Consulate George Ifft, which is shown below. See the original MWR article below and click the newsprint copy for a complete artice or see the link to the original PDF below:


Click the article to see the full article changing-arctic_monthly_wx_review.png.

The PDF of that page exists here from NOAA’s archives. Thanks to Michael Ronayne for locating it and many other resources you can find in the comments section below.

If Yogi Berra were here to comment on the hullabaloo over the changes in the arctic today, I’m pretty sure he’d say. “It’s Deja Vu all over again”.


UPDATE:  If you like the work being presented here and the work of my nationwide project at you may want to consider taking a look at this entry to lend a hand.

Sponsored IT training links:

100% guarantee success for SY0-201 certification with help of 640-802 practice questions and 350-001 mock tests.


newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jeff Alberts

No way.
Come on, that’s not funny…
The more we learn the less we know, it seems.


“For example, during the previous 60 years (since the 1940s) arctic SAT trends are positive and are very large in the 1990s. However, arctic temperatures in the 1930-40s were exceptionally high, so trends calculated from the 1920s forward the data show a small but statistically significant cooling tendency.”


Does anyone know of any independent confirmation of this news report?
REPLY: The news article cites according to a report to the Commerce Department from Consul Geroge N. Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. Somebody should be able to back track it.


My hat’s off.
I doubt any hockey sticks generated by creative bristlecone tree ring analysis will make this story go away.

Thank you Mr. Watts for this hot “news”. “in some places the seals are finding the waters too hot” – in 1922. Sounds very much like the autumn season – but 85 years later! And after a cold winter, the warmists now spotted a leak of warm air into the arctic region and just reported about drowning young seals in the Northern Baltic Sea because of thin ice. But they did not report about the record recovery of the rest of the arctic sea ice. Cherry picking? You bet!


The language similarities with today’s language are astonishing. One could easily change the date of this article to November 2, 2007.
Must be a tough job being a jounalist today – just dig up some old articles, digitalise them and change the dates!

The article is consistent with temperature records from northernmost weather stations.
I really would like to see an estimate of climate change based on records from known good weather stations.


In 2006 the BMI (Business and Media Institute) did an excellent Summary of Media reporting in the last 100 years or so. It cites many examples, which should be easy to follow-up as they reference dates and publications:
They did an update last year “150 Years of Global Warming and Cooling at the New York Times” :
A quick extract. Both the above links have a wealth of references going back over 100 years.
Warming Arctic Climate Melting Glaciers Faster, Raising Ocean Level, Scientist Says
May 30, 1947, Friday
Page 23, 366 words
DISPLAYING FIRST PARAGRAPH – LOS ANGELES, May 29 — A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, engendering a “serious international problem,” Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist, said today.

Jean Meeus

Of course, the alarmists will say that the melting of 1922 was due to natural causes, while the present one is anthropogenic!

William Wagner

The NWS needs to change from the antiquated system of 30 year climate averages to a more reasonable 100 year climate average. Almost all stations now have a 100 year history.

Michael Ronayne

The New York Time (AKA: The Old Gray Lady), America’s Newspaper of Record, confirmed the story on Sunday February 25, 1923.
REPORT THE ARCTIC IS GETTING WARMER; Explorers and Fishermen Find Climate Moderating About Spitzbergen. FIRST NOTED ABOUT 1918 Old Glaciers Have Disappeared — Changes in Flora and Fauna.
February 25, 1923, Sunday
Section: EDITORIAL SECTION, Page E6, 696 words
The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the Eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard of temperatures in that part of the earth. Old glaciers have disappeared and land once covered with field ice is bare.
As one would expect from the National Newspaper of Record, additional details are provide including the fact that the changes were first observed in 1918. There are enough details that we may be able to located research papers by a Dr. Adolf Holt of the University of Christiana in Norway. The research was funded by the Norwegian Department of Commerce. Can a reader in Norway located papers published by Dr. Holt in the early 1920’s?
The report reads like a Greenpeace press release!
I have the PDF which I will Email to Anthony.


I can confirm that you’ve said. German radio NDR1 and newspapers ran that story 2 days here.


That’s a great link to the NYT search engine, Michael. Wish I had a subscription to read the whole articles! Some of the first paragraphs have startling similarities to today’s headlines!
This one caugh my eye from 1930:
WORD comes from Switzerland that the Alpine glaciers are in full retreat. Out of 102 glaciers observed by Professor P.L. Mercanton of the University of Lausanne and his associates more than twothirds have been found to be shrinking.
1935: Glaciers retreat at twice normal:
GLACIERS’ EBB SPED BY HOT ’34 SUMMER; Last Remnants of Ice Age Are Receding at Double-Time, Geologists Are Told.


This searching is too addicitive! From September 1924:
MACMILLAN REPORTS SIGNS OF NEW ICE AGE; Explorer Brings Word of Unusual Movements of Greenland Glaciers — Coal Deposits Show Polar Climate Was Once Tropical. NATURE is in a strange mood beyond the Arctic Circle, Glaciers are moving from their age-old beds, pouring greater quantities of ice into the sea than recorded history has known. Broad areas of land are sinking to new levels. A number of islands have disappeared.


How much of this stuff from the past lines up with PDO shifts?
REPLY: Good question, we’ll take a look

Michael Ronayne

In my previous post there was a typo Dr. Adolf Hoel’s name which is corrected here.
The New York Times has additional storied on Dr. Adolf Hoel, including this one for September 13, 1923. From this story we learn the Dr. Hoel has been conducting artic research from about 1906.
SPITZBERGEN COAST SURVEY COMPLETED; Norwegian Scientist Finds Good Anchorages and New Navigable Waters on the Island.
September 13, 1923, Thursday
Section: FINANCIAL, Page 31, 334 words
CHRISTIANLA, Sept. 12. — Dr. Adolf Hoel of Christiania University, who every Summer for the last seventeen years has been engaged in the scientific exploration off Spitzbergen, has Just returned after a highly interesting voyage.
The New York Times appears to have a minimum of 12 reports on the artic research of Dr. Adolf Hoel and there may be more than that number.
I will review the additional reports and forward a list to Anthony.

Michael Ronayne

More from Dr. Adolf Hoel on polar ice and sun spots.
[Bergen, Norway, Dec. 6,1922.1
We need to get all of Dr. Hoel’s research papers! There are some in JStore which I can order.
Here is a partial list:
I am really starting to like Dr. Hoel!

David Smith

Hoel’s work is mentioned in a November 1922 Monthly Weather Review article, linked here:

Michael Ronayne

This is very interesting. George Nicolas Ifft was the American consul in Bergen Norway. Amongst his responsibilities was to file reports with the State Department in Washington D.C., some of which were published in the Monthly Weather Review. In today terms, Mr. Ifft was a State Department Intelegance Officer.
By George Nicolas Ifft
[Under data of October 10, 1922, the American consul at Bergen Norway, submitted the following report to the State Department, Washington, D.C.]
The Washington Post story was published on November 2nd, 1922, so this October 10, 1922, State Department report is the most likely the un-attributed source of the Associated Press report. This could also have been a deliberate plant by the State Department.
Just as today’s nations north of the Arctic Circle have territorial ambitions in an ice free Arctic, Norway may have had ulterior motives for funding Dr. Adolf Hoel’s voyages of discovery. This would also explain the State Department’s interest in Dr. Adolf Hoel.
The report in Wikipedia on Adolf Hoel confirms these suspicions.
There are other reports on the Internet which I am investigating, pertaining to Norway’s territorial ambitions in the Arctic.


Just for the record, as a sidebar, Yogi Berra is still very much alive and may very well be saying that very thing with which you credit him!
REPLY: When I meant “here today”, I meant on this blog reading about climate change. Sorry for the unintentional implication.


Of course, the Y2K error, pointed out by Steve McIntire last summer and which reorganised the warmest year chart for the USA, doesn’t apply to the rest of the world and MWP was a local event.

Jeff Alberts

There are other reports on the Internet which I am investigating, pertaining to Norway’s territorial ambitions in the Arctic.

So the threat of climate catastrophe was used for political manipulation then as it is today.

Michael Ronayne

It appears that Dr. Adolf Hoel was involved with the Norwegian National Unity Party and was suspected of being a Nazi collaborator during World War II when he was accused of providing aid to infiltrate a German spy into Greenland. Dr. Adolf Noel was always a strong advocate of Norwegian territorial expansion and was very interested in acquiring Greenland for Norway.
Norwegian Arctic expansionism, Victoria Island (Russia) and the Bratvaag expedition
“A cursed affair”—how a Norwegian expedition to Greenland became the USA’s first maritime capture in World War II
There is a picture of Dr. Adolf Noel on page 3 of this paper. So we have Norwegians, German Nazis, Americans, scientists, arctic explores and spies all over the place. This would make a great movie script!
Note that I have not verified the accuracy of any of the allegations.


Neill~ Before I moved to Canada, the mail-order pharmacy I was working at was still shipping meds to Jerry Garcia. We figure he was with Elvis. Yogi might just be hanging out with them, ya know?


Nothing more than “propaganda”. It will no longer “stick”.

Robert Norwood

I’m going to disappoint people on both sides of this issue. First, Although we live on the cooled, dry, crust of a volcanic planet we tend not to see things, events, in terms of, say, geologic time or time frames that can actually tell us something. Evaluating what is happening now, such as global warming, by looking at the last 150 years to present is not a lot of help so sure, we get misleading information on the subject. Yeah, yippee, we don’t have to get off our lazy cans and actually do something, like act environmentally responsible. Or do we? Here’s the inescapable truth and it will bum some folks out. While we may or may not be the direct cause of global warming, our planet and everything associated with it is part of a balanced system. Any impacts to it will have positive or negative effects which will, in turn, help or harm us; the latter being more the case. There is not one molecule of evidence to suggest that we, humans, have a positive impact on the planet. In terms of that, a seagull has more benefit . It is, therefore, a “good bet” that climate change is real and in part associated with us. The question is: how much is really us and can anything be done about it before future generations – our children, are harmed or even devastated by it. Can we change in a way that will ensure future generations a chance at life without global famine, starvation, poverty, societal collapse and strife? What are we working towards? What are you working towards?
We can play some one-upsmanship on the issue or we can try for a better future whether we are “warming” or not.


Robert Norwood (14:29:53) says:
“Can we change in a way that will ensure future generations a chance at life without global famine, starvation, poverty, societal collapse and strife? What are we working towards? What are you working towards?”
But the devil is in the details. What do we do? If CO2 is the problem then we can justify spending trillions pumping the stuff underground. However, if CO2 is a red herring then that money would be wasted.
Many sceptics are environmentalists who fear that this obession will CO2 will hurt the environment in the long run because people will be fooled into believing that cutting CO2 is the only thing they need to do. The papal indulgences called carbon offsets are perfect examples.

Bruce Cobb

What are we working towards? Scientific knowledge, and ultimately, Truth, which is the exact opposite of what the AGWers want. AGW is a huge lie, and lies are the basis for totalitarian governments.


I did some poking around with google earth. The reference point 81.5 deg north is slightly north of Svalbard (the island to the east of greenland and to the north of iceland). According to illinois cryrosphere that latitude had ice in every August I checked from 1979 to 2007.
In other words this report suggests that there was less ice that part of the arctic in august 1922 than there was during the ‘record setting’ melt of 2007.

Michael Ronayne

For someone who was long dead before the Internet, George Nicolas Ifft has quite a data trail in Google. Apparently he and other State Department consuls were expected to file detailed reports about the countries in which they served.
Two spelling of his name appear in Google, which has already indexed my earlier post on Mr. Ifft.
Here are the records for the George Nicolas Ifft.
Most of these the reports for George Nicholas Ifft appear to be family members but some are of interest to us.
The reporting levels from consuls were so extensive that the New York Times took note of the fact in 1914.
“MOVIES” REIGN EVERYWHERE; Reports from All Over the World Show They Stand High in Popular Favor.
May 10, 1914, Sunday
Section: Magazine, Page SM5, 774 words
AMERICAN Consuls in European and other foreign countries have recently been sending reports to Washington on the motion picture industry, these reports showing that east and west, north and south, the “movies” now hold sway and are playing a star role in the amusements of the nations.
Even the transatlantic travels of the Ifft family are recorded between Europe and their home in Pocatello Idaho.
The reports of consuls could be an interesting source of firsthand information on many subjects.

Charlie Young

Reply to Robert Norwood:
As the sun ages, it gets hotter. Someday, in the distant future, it will be putting out so much heat that living things will not be able to live on this planet. Us humans will be the force that will take samples of life and move from this inhospitable planet to another hospitable one. That is the destiny of our species.


Interesting that in the article quoted, Ifft describes the melt as “favourable ice conditions”. Pity the present day commentators aren’t as circumspect.


In 1845, John Franklin tried to navigate an Arctic waterway, only to become trapped in ice in an area that had been much warmer two decades before. Clearly the amount of Arctic ice is cyclical in the long term.


I drew a line on top of the August 16th, 2007 ice extent at 81deg 29minutes:
As you can see there is no way a boat would have reported ice free waters at that latitude in August 2007. The comparison even gets worse if you look at recent cooler years such as 2000.
Frankly, I was surprised at the result and I expected the 2007 melt to be much further than the melt in 1922. The fact that it is even close suggests that the recent melt of the arctic ice may not be as unprecedented as many people claim.
REPLY: Raven are you sure of the image you created? Thinking of making a new post around it and other info I? have. -Anthony


My earlier post I’m guessing was deleted because it was not a direct link? I found the original below. Interesting read.
REPLY: Hi DR, perhaps your earlier post got caught in the SPAM filter, that sometimes happens. Thanks for providing this resource, it is quite interesting.


It was a quick mock up eyeballing on my screen with google earth so the error bars are at least +/-0.5 deg. It was a good faith effort and I did not intentionally cherry pick. To do something worthy of seperate post it would be best to sort out when exactly they collected their data and plot their trip. This could all be put on a google earth map file. I would be willing to look at doing this. You can send me an email if you want to discuss further.
(you don’t need to post this message on the forum).

Obsessive Ponderer

The more one becomes aware of (climate) history the less credence the statement “unprecedented” this or that becomes.
I was messing around with the CET temperatures the other day and in the period ~1695 to 1733 the temperature climbed at a rate of 4 deg C/ century and there are other examples in that record of ~ 1.5 Deg/ century increases and decreases of temperature.
I guess if Al was living in those days he would be out burning witches and trading broomsticks credits.


Those wishing to explore the topic of Arctic conditions in the 1930s might research the “Second International Polar Year”, which I believe was 1933.


BTW, I suspect that most of the Second International Polar Year reports are sitting in libraries, collecting dust. The most interesting data probably has to be found the old-fashioned (pre-Google) way – searching library shelves.


One more Monthly Weather Review short article on Arctic ice, from 1930:



Here is a google earth file with overlays for the August sea ice for 1980 and 2002:
The ice extent data comes from here:
The data only goes up to 2002, however, the 1980 and 2002 clearly demostrated that the ice extent in 1922 was comparable to recent times and that the arctic ice extent increased between 1922 and 1980.

[…] This just in from the Washington Post: The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen, Norway. […]


I’m a newby here. Will someone post a link to what the Mann hockey stick looks like after McKitric and McIntyre’s statistical corrections are applied? Actually, a before and after would be better. Thanks.
REPLY: I don’t hae the graph here, but check on and post the same message on unthreaded #32 there and you’ll get a response.


This guy here has a website examining in detail the climate scientist’s peer reviewed “et al”s, from the first climate stations put in the Arctic right on through to the heatwaves of the 40’s.
Link – He has maps of ice extent in the spitzenberg and surrounds in pencil by the climate people who lived in the early 1900.
Get this.
Instead of blaiming global warming on co2, the climate scientists of the 1920’s (probably urged on by their socialist drinking buddies) were blaiming it on World War 1 Naval activity.
Another one of those cases of seeing a causative agent you don’t like, and then inventing a terrible life changing result, to fool the public into action.
“We can’t keep building those battleships – think of the children in the next century (2000) who will have to live in the steambath future world !!!!”

Edward Sisson

MIKE (and the others who are interested in the Norwegian political expansionist angle): the Norwegian ambassador to the US covering this period (he was in office 1910 – 1927) was Helmer Halvorsen Bryn – my great-grandfather. He played a key role in negotiating Norwegian control of the coal in Spitzbergen. The Norwegian explorer Fritjof Nansen also got involved in US-Norwegian government negotiations. Perhaps if you search around a bit including the name Bryn or “HH Bryn” or variants, you will find more.

Great find! There’s plenty of evidence that shows a natural heating and cooling of the earth take place every so often. Let’s not forget that 2012 is right around the corner, so we all need to prepare for doomsday. Then after 2012, we need to find another end of the world date. Perhaps from Penguins or some other ancient culture.


Guys, I gotta tell you, I’ve been playing around with the links that Bruce posted a few days ago from the GISS site. I’ve been searching for long term (at least 1900-2000) rural data. There is very very little to find. A whole bunch of stations start in the 1940s and 1950s. Of the few stations I found in the GISS network that have data covering the entire 20th century, nearly every one of them has the 1920s-1930s as warm, if not warmer, than the current period. Which begs the question how they have determined the global temperature was so much less in that period compared to today when all the data I can find covering that period says it’s roughly the same?