Was 2007 Arctic ice really a historic minimum?

Since we have been on the subject of Arctic expeditions this week, I thought I’d share this short essay sent to me by WUWT reader “thoughtful”. It has some interesting perspectives from a NAVY expedition called “Operation Nanook” which is supported by the newspaper clipping from the Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, MA) of October 16th, 1946. It was one of those rare times when a Northwest Passage appears to have been possible – Anthony

click for full sized article

click for full sized article

Looking at timelines of arctic exploration, we find that virtually nobody went there during the 30s and early 40s, despite that  correlating with the warmest temperatures on record (great Depression,  WW II, go figure).  Attached is an account of an arctic naval   expedition (Operation Nanook) that took place the summer of 1946, just  after WWII.  Vinther, et al (1) reports the merged JJA monthly temps were in the 7.3 to 7.4  deg C range in Greenland between 1931 and 1950.  In the 1990s, it was a full degree C lower.  The “norm” for  Thule in JJA runs somewhere around 4 – 5 deg C (1961 to current data).

Here’s another account from the same expedition: “On 4 July 1946, Atule headed for the frozen north as a member of   Operation “Nanook.” The purpose of this mission was to assist in the establishment of advanced weather stations in the Arctic regions and to aid in the planning and execution of more extensive naval operations in polar and sub-polar regions. In company with  USS Norton Sound (AV-11)USCGC Northwind (WAG-282), USS Alcona (AK-157), USS Beltrami (AK-162), and USS Whitewood (AN-63),  Atule was to transport supplies and  passengers, conduct reconnaissance of proposed weather station sites,  train personnel, and collect data on Arctic conditions.

Atule

The US submarine Atule, during the Arctic studies in 1946

Atule rendezvoused with Northwind and Whitewood off the southwestern coast of Greenland on 11 July 1946 and put into Melville Bight, Baffin Bay, on 20 July, while a PBM reconnoitered Thule Harbor and the approaches to the harbor. Following engine trouble the PBM had made an emergency landing; and Atule was dispatched to recover the plane,  becoming the first ship of the operation to enter the harbor. Atule then conducted tests and exercises in Smith South-Kane Basin with Whitewood. During one such exercise, she reached latitude 79 degrees  11 minutes north in the Kane Basin, setting a record for the United States Navy. On 29 July, Atule departed Thule, having completed all of her scheduled projects, stopped at Halifax, Nova Scotia, and reached New London late in August to resume her former duties.”

It would be fascinating to visit the naval archives and see ships logs from this expedition.  One wonders what the sea ice extent was then.  I do note that the Kane Basin was at least partially iced over on  August 10, 2007 — the nearest data I’ve got  to July for the recent  2007 minimum (and probably represents less ice than July).

Reference
(1) Extending Greenland temperature records into the late eighteenth
century B. M. Vinther,1 K. K. Andersen,1 P. D. Jones,2 K. R. Briffa,2 and J.  Cappelen3
Received 24 October 2005; revised 11 January 2006; accepted 28  February 2006; published 6 June 2006.
JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 111, D11105, doi: 10.1029/2005JD006810, 2006 )

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88 thoughts on “Was 2007 Arctic ice really a historic minimum?

  1. You know this whole Catlin thing could easily be addressed if Anthony would contact the air charter service and see if they flew any flights to these guys. Can they land on the ice in the dark is now the question. Has the sun risen high enough to land a twin otter on the ice like their web page says? I haven’t calculated it but I would think for the spring equinox is around March 20 when the sun finally comes up for how long. The resupply plane would only have a short time with enough light to land. Interesting. We need to know when the resupply flight was?

  2. In 1944, the Canadian RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) vessel St. Roch returned to Vancouver by way of Lancaster Sound and the Northwest Passage route in just 86 days. Previously, from 1940 to1942, it had traveled the passage from west to east via a more southerly route leaving Vancouver in June 1940 and, after spending 2 winters frozen in the Arctic ice, arrived in Halifax 11 October, 1942.

    St Roch was only the second vessel, after Amundsen (1903 – 1906), to traverse the passage and the first to navigate the passage in west to east.

  3. Your Atule pic is not working, but here is one of her during Operation Nanook from Wikimedia Commons:



    REPLY:
    It appears the NAVY archive doesn’t serve images unless accompanied by the web page request, so I’ve used your image link thanks. – A

  4. Why thank you, Anthony. I swore I could remember seeing pictures of US subs surfacing at the North Pole when I was a kid in the late 50’s. Turns out that ice wasn’t all that thick back then. Didn’t seem to bother the subs.

  5. Seems like i remember some famous SKeptic like Fred Singer being on one of these 1940’s Polar missions…
    Anyone know?..

  6. Oh how the past keeps coming back to haunt some people’s fantasies. Such inconvenient details.

  7. AKD (19:51:14) :

    Your Atule pic is not working, but here is one of her during Operation Nanook from Wikimedia Commons:

    Come on you know didn’t happened. That pix was staged on the moon. LOL

  8. “”Summing up the Arctic expedition today, Captain Cruzen said that “most important, it served to dispel the mental hazard people have about the Arctic regions. Most people have obtained this mental hazard from story books which are written to sell. …””

    We do indeed have a mental hazard problem today and from similar sources.

  9. Actually –

    The Soviets did a lot of exploring in the 1930s.
    It’s been diaried here –
    http://omniclimate.wordpress.com/2008/09/01/was-there-less-arctic-ice-in-1932/
    And the relevant NYT article from 1931 –
    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F60911F73A5513738DDDAC0894DA415B828FF1D3&scp=9&sq=pole+circumnavigation&st=p

    The following year the Soviets attempted the Northeast Passage and got all the way to the Chukchi Sea before their ship got stuck in sea ice.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheliuskin_(ship)

  10. Here is a map of the north west passages.

    http://www.athropolis.com/map9.htm

    There is more than one way across. Roald Amundsen is the first creditted with the passage in a ship.

    From this site.

    “2. ROALD AMUNDSEN: First Navigation by Ship
    1905: In mid August, Amundsen sailed from Gjøahaven (today: Gjoa Haven, Nunavut) in the vessel Gjøa. On August 26 they encountered a ship bearing down on them from the west, and with that they were through the passage. From Amundsen’s diary:
    The North West Passage was done. My boyhood dream – at that moment it was accomplished. A strange feeling welled up in my throat; I was somewhat over-strained and worn – it was weakness in me – but I felt tears in my eyes. ‘Vessel in sight’ … Vessel in sight.

  11. Also from

    ttp://www.athropolis.com/map9.htm

    4. ST. ROCH: Northern Deep-Water Route (East-West)
    1944: The St. Roch was the first ship to travel the Northwest Passage through the northern, deep-water route and the first to sail the Passage in both directions.

    I don’t think there is anything strange about the levels of ice in the Arctic at the moment.

  12. well, it looks like round two of the ” go to the pole ” for the sake of an agenda is about to begin in a month. see the link above.

    one of the state goals ( and this is a literal cut and paste ) :

    To document the impact of global climate change on the Arctic region and its potential impact on the coastal communities of both North and South America , . . .

    this jaunt is being brought to you by the Pacific Science Center, in Seattle . i can’t wait for the spin to begin .

  13. steptoe fan (22:38:55). This is the script you need, but note I have used [ ] in place of so it remains visible for your reference.
    [a href=”http://sailorsforthesea.org/ata/index.html”]Sailors of the sea[/a]

  14. Here is an interesing scientific publication that attempts to reconstruct artic sea ice extent for the 20th century period when there are gaps in the historical record before about 1950. “Hybrid’ approach means to use a combination of historical data and modelling

    Can we reconstruct Arctic sea ice back to 1900 with a hybrid approach?
    S. Br ¨onnimann, T. Lehmann, T. Griesser, T. Ewen, A. N. Grant, and R. Bleisch
    Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Z¨ urich, Switzerland
    Received: 14 July 2008 – Accepted: 14 July 2008 – Published: 19 August 2008
    Correspondence to: S. Br¨onnimann (broennimann@env.ethz.ch)
    Published by Copernicus Publications on behalf of the European Geosciences Union.

    The complete publication is available on line.

  15. steptoe fan (22:38:55): Aargh… the arrow brackets did disappear. Note that you use arrow brackets in place of the square brackets in my example line.

  16. Talking about the NE Passage, Nansen’s ship, Fram did it W-to-E in 1893, I believe. They made it to the other side, then took a course due North until they got imprisoned in the ice. They hoped the drift would take them over the pole – not quite – but the ship broke free on the Western side three years later. There’s a wonderful Fram museum at Oslo. Well worth the visit. The Norwegians were the real polar explorers nobody ever mentions, preferring to drool on about things like the Franklin and Scott fiascos – and now Catlin. Will they ever learn?

  17. Dear Anthony

    I may have posted the following to you previously?

    The article is from the Monthly Weather Review October 1922 where a US Cinter alia it discusses the arctic being ice being free to 81.5 degrees latitude.

    The link is a bit tortuous as it does not show directly in my browser :-

    http://www.climate4you.com/
    Then climate/history
    Then Year 1900 to 1949
    Then 1922.

    There are also other years and please could you give credit to the site and its creator Professor Ole Humlum.

    EXTRACTS:-
    THE CHANGING ARCTIC.
    By GEORGE NICOLAS IFFT.
    (Under date of October 10 1922 the American consul at Bergen Norway, submitted the followlng report to the State Department, Washfngion, D. C)
    The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from
    fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas
    about S itzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to
    a radicaf change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-
    of high temperatures in that part of the earth’s
    surface………etc

    The oceanographic observations have, however, been
    even more interesting. Ice conditions were exceptional.
    In fact, so little ice as never before been noted. The
    expedition all but established a record, sailing as far
    north as 82l degrees 29′ in ice-free water. This is the farthest
    north ever reached with modern oceanographic apparatus.

    The character of the waters of the great polar basin
    has heretofore been practically unknown. Dr. Hoel reports
    that he made a section of the Gulf Stream at 81 degrees
    north latitude and took soundings to a depth of 3,100
    meters. These show the Gulf Stream very warm, and it
    could be traced as a surface current till beyond the 81st
    parallel. The warmth of the waters makes it probable that conditions will continue for some time.
    Later a section was taken of the Gulf Stream off Bear
    Island and off the Isfjord, as well as a section of the cold
    current that comes down along the west coast of Spitzbergen
    off the south cape.

    In connection with Dr. Hoel’s report,it is of interest to note the unusually warm summer in Arctic Norway and the observations of Capt. Martin Ingebrigtsen, who has sailed the eastern Arctic for 54 years past. He says
    that he first noted warmer conditions in 1915, that since
    that time it has steadily gotten warmer, and that to-day
    the Arctic of that region is not recognizable as the same
    region of 1865 to 1917.
    Many old landniarks are so changed as to be unrecognisable.

    Where formerly great masses of ice were found
    there are now often moraines, accumuulations of earth and stones.
    At many points where glaciers extended into the sea they have all entirely disappeared.
    END OF EXTRACT

    The site doesn’t deal with 1946 but does 1947 and discusses the retreat of glaciers in Norway and refers to Ahlman.

    REPLY:
    yes I did a post on this last year. Thanks though, Anthony

  18. Apologies for the typos in the introduction above

    It should have read :-

    The article is from the Monthly Weather Review October 1922 where a US Senator inter alia discusses the arctic being ice free to 81.5 degrees latitude.

  19. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage
    “The first recorded succesful passage was that of João Martins, in 1588, 265 years pryor to the Mac-clure trip, a portuguese explorer en route to the Philipines, both discovering the passage and the Bering Straight.[8] The belief that a route lay to the far north persisted for several centuries and led to numerous expeditions into the Arctic, including the attempt by Sir John Franklin in 1845. In 1906, Roald Amundsen successfully completed a path from Greenland to Alaska in the Gjøa, achieving the first modern passing. Since that date, several fortified ships have made the journey.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fridtjof_Nansen
    “Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (10 October 1861 – 13 May 1930) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work as a League of Nations High Commissioner. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest personalities in the history of Norway…

    “When, after more than one year in the ice it became apparent that Fram would not reach the North Pole, Nansen, accompanied by Hjalmar Johansen, continued north on foot when the Fram reached 84° 4´ N. This was a daring decision, as it meant leaving the ship not to return, and a return journey over drifting ice to the nearest known land some five hundred miles south of the point where they started. Nansen and Johansen started north on 14 March 1895 with three sledges, two kayaks and twenty-eight dogs. On 8 April 1895, they reached 86° 14´ N, the highest latitude then attained. The two men then turned around and started back, and did not find the land they expected at 83°N (it did not exist). In June 1895, they had to use their kayaks to cross open leads of water and on 24 July they came across a series of islands. Here they built a hut of moss, stones, and snow, and wintered, surviving on walrus blubber and polar bear meat. In May of the following year (1896), they started off again for Spitsbergen. After travelling for a month, not knowing where they were, they happened upon the British Jackson-Harmsworth Expedition… on Franz Josef Land.”

    Amundsen sailed the Northwest Passage in the Gjøa in 1906, and took Nansen’s Fram for his successful Antarctic expedition of 1910-12.

  20. John Wright (23:10:57) :

    Talking about the NE Passage, Nansen’s ship, Fram did it W-to-E in 1893, I believe. They made it to the other side, then took a course due North until they got imprisoned in the ice. They hoped the drift would take them over the pole – not quite – but the ship broke free on the Western side three years later. There’s a wonderful Fram museum at Oslo. Well worth the visit. The Norwegians were the real polar explorers nobody ever mentions, preferring to drool on about things like the Franklin and Scott fiascos – and now Catlin. Will they ever learn?

    The Fram museum is located at Bygdøy just a short boat (or car/bus) trip outside Oslo city centre. It is very popular among tourists, so why it appears forgotten is unclear. Just outside the Fram museum, you can see the Gjøa vessel in open air: It is just a few km. from my location.

    Gjøa:

    Gjøa and the Fram museum.

    http://www.fram.museum.no/en/

  21. John Hultquist:
    That is the type of picture I remember seeing as a child:

    Everyone remarked at the time “What will they think of next?”.
    Nobody said Jack about Global Warming.
    My thoughts at the time were “What if the sub tried to come up and got stuck under there?” Omigosh. Those guys are nuts.

  22. Regarding the Arctic ice extent near Norway, see section 2.1 (pages 27-28), “Sea Ice,” of Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu’s paper, “Two Natural Components of Recent Climate Change,” here (as a 50-Mb PDF):
    http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/little_ice_age.php

    He writes, “Figure 8a shows changes [since 1730, in August] of the southern edge of sea ice in the Norwegian Sea. It has been receding from about 1800 to the present at almost the same rate (Vinje, 2001), at least 100 years before the use of fossil energy began to increase rapidly in 1946. Note also large changes between 1910 and 1970, …”

    The “large changes” are:

    1. a steep retreat northward of the August ice-edge from roughly (by eyeball) 1917 to 1947,
    2. a steep advance southward from 1947 to 1955, and
    3. a steady and above average retreat northward from 1955 until 2000 (end of the chart).

  23. I have been following the whole ice thing on various threads over the last couple of days and I am still puzzled as to why melting of the arctic ice is considered so important.
    I am worried by this:
    “To document the impact of global climate change on the Arctic region and its potential impact on the coastal communities of both North and South America , . . . ”
    Do I assume that we are back in “melting sea ice will catastrophically raise sea levels” territory? I don’t understand how this is possible and if I’m right why anybody keeps plugging a story that is so easily disprovable, AGW or no AGW!

  24. John Wright (23:10:57) :

    Talking about the NE Passage, Nansen’s ship, Fram did it W-to-E in 1893, I believe. They made it to the other side, then took a course due North until they got imprisoned in the ice. They hoped the drift would take them over the pole – not quite – but the ship broke free on the Western side three years later. There’s a wonderful Fram museum at Oslo. Well worth the visit. The Norwegians were the real polar explorers nobody ever mentions, preferring to drool on about things like the Franklin and Scott fiascos – and now Catlin. Will they ever learn?

    We talk about them all the time. But because Norway wasn’t an Imperial power projected around the world, they tend to get lost in obscurity. You’re not a hero unless you die doing something really stupid, apparently.

  25. More on Amundsen, from Wikipedia:

    Amundsen disappeared on June 18, 1928 while flying on a rescue mission with Norwegian pilot Leif Dietrichson, French pilot Rene Guilbaud, and three more Frenchmen, looking for missing members of Nobile’s crew, whose new airship Italia had crashed while returning from the North Pole. Afterwards, a pontoon from the French Latham 47 flying boat he was in, improvised into a life raft, was found near the Tromsø coast. It is believed that the plane crashed in fog in the Barents Sea, and that Amundsen was killed in the crash, or died shortly afterwards. His body was never found. The search for Amundsen was called off in September by the Norwegian Government. In 2003 it was suggested that the plane went down northwest of Bear Island.[citation needed]

    On 23 February 2009, the Norwegian Navy announced that in late August, a search would be made for the wreckage of Amundsen’s plane, utilizing the unmanned submarine Hugin 1000. The search will focus on a 40 square mile area of the sea floor, and will be documented by the German production company ContextTV. [9]

  26. The only thing we can say for certain is that 2007 is the lowest year since 1979 due to observational bias. And that’s not saying a whole lot….

  27. Many ships have traversed the Northern Route of the NW Passage.

    Henry Larsen as has been said went through the Northern Route with ease in 1944 and a couple years later the route had froze and he was unable to even enter the Northern Route of the passage from the West.(expect history to repeat-one of those inconvenient truths) Larsen wrote the book “The Big Ship”, about his many years in the Arctic. There is also a book composed of Larsen’s logs.

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/arcticexpedition/larsenexpeditions

    McLure was first to cross the Northern Route of the NW passage in the 1850’s.
    He had to travel over ice part of the way.

    http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic40-3-234.pdf

  28. I swore I could remember seeing pictures of US subs surfacing at the North Pole when I was a kid in the late 50’s.

    Not to mention the film, Ice Station Zebra…

  29. My father was aboard the USS Norton Sound during operation nanook. He will be 89 in August. He had previous experience doing arial photography in Greenland in 1942 (USS Bear). He says to this day that the Norton Sound and several other ships took a top secret ( to not upset the Soviets) turn West and made it through the Northwest Passage to the Bering Sea and back. If someone could get the logs declassified, there could be some very interesting infomation therein.

  30. A lot is made by the warmers of the effect of Greenland’s ice melting (once they’re reluctantly accepted that the arctic ice doesn’t affect sea level at all), but presumably this wasn’t an issue when Greenland was actually green, in the mediaeval warm period. Does anyone know what the sea level was then?

  31. steptoe fan (22:27:11) :

    > well, it looks like round two of the ” go to the pole ” for the sake of an agenda is about to begin in a month.

    Captain Mark Schrader will depart Seattle in May 2009 sailing his 64 foot boat, Ocean Watch, through the Northwest Passage, down the east coast, around Cape Horn and up the west coast returning to Seattle in July 2010.

    I was thinking a May 31 departure would still give them a lot of time waiting for the NW passage to open, but the Bermilla was at the end of the Aleutians then, so maybe not. http://awberrimilla.blogspot.com/2008_05_01_archive.html

    OTOH, my never-to-be-relied-upon sense of things is that the NW passage won’t be opening this year. Not to worry, the crew of the Ocean Watch will have plenty of opportunities to watch Polar Bears dismembering seals.

    Given what we’ve seen with Lewis Pugh and Pen Hadow, (do those sites have the same PR organization?) it would be nice if a skeptic sailor started a shadow blog to record the other side of the Ocean Watch story.

  32. The Hudson Bay Company was all over the Canadian Arctic in the 20’s and 30’s.

    http://www.kitikmeotheritage.ca/Angulalk/hudsons/hudsons.htm

    The CGS Arctic could have sailed right through the Northern Route.(1908 to 1911)

    “On the Arctic’s third expedition in 1910-11, Bernier took the vessel North to patrol the Davis Strait, Baffin Bay, Lancaster Sound, Barrow Strait, Viscount Melville Sound and McClure Strait. Open water in McClure Strait tempted Bernier to attempt the Northwest Passage, but because this would have exceeded his orders, he resisted. Once again the vessel wintered in the North, but this time it anchored at Admiralty Inlet. Parties on sled were dispatched across the region to explore and conduct scientific surveys. ”

    http://www.ucalgary.ca/arcticexpedition/icebreakers/cgs-arctic

  33. Yes, 2007 isn’t a record for miiiiillions of yeeears in the history of time.

    Not only this century there has been less cold unfriendly ice. In the medieval times there was no pack ice along Greenland’s coasts. (And I think there is a least one note from then that the sea was almost ice free; Marco Polo??).

    Also, as WUWT has blogged, scientists are confident that the Arctic sea was almost ice free, or ice free, 6000-7000 years ago, during the in history books very for humans and nature climate friendly holocene optimum.

    http://www.ngu.no/en-gb/Aktuelt/2008/Less-ice-in-the-Arctic-Ocean-6000-7000-years-ago

  34. Slightly off-topic maybe, but it feels good as an ex-submariner to see the photo of the Atule. I always wished that we had gone under the Pole, because we submariners had various honorary awards that we could qualify for, for various special things, like diving to a sub’s test depth, etc.

  35. Well, Shawn, it appears that recent sea ice “losses” are really no big deal at all… Hasn’t Walt ever gotten a look at those graphs?
    Mike

  36. *******
    Was 2007 Arctic ice really a historic minimum?
    *******

    Prb’ly, at least since the 1930’s. Ooooowwwww, scary!

  37. In the late 1960’s a number of the US Navy’s Fast Attack Boats did maping runs under the polar ice cap. I think it was 1968 or 1969 that the Queen Fish surfaced at the North Pole for a photo op and to visit Santa Clause – at least that was their story and they are sticking to it – wink wink.

    Both the US and Soviet Navy designed their nuclear submarines to be able to break through the ice cap. The US Navy has lots of data about the polar ice cap I wonder how much of it has been declassified….

  38. It would be interesting to know what the polar ice cover was a thousand years ago. Some time after 1100AD the resident Dorset People were replaced by the Thule People. The Dorset were adapted to thick ice cover, the Thule to more open water. Was there any connection betweeen the virtual dissapearance of the Dorset and the arrival of the Vikings.
    While the Fram was the first modern european boat through the Northwest Passage I suspect the vikings checked out Alaska.

  39. The is ample documented history of Northwest passage crossings presented here. All easily verifiable. Roald Amundsen’s crossing in 1907 was actually in “fishing vessel”. Unfortified I believe.

    The first well documented crossing of the Northeastern passage was actually made by a Fin, Adolf Erik Nordenskiold, he went W-E in 1878.

    There is controversial and anecdotal evidence that the Chinese made both passages in the 15th century and even completed circumnavigation of Greenland. See Gavin Menzies for voluminous but controversial & debatable detail.

  40. It was in ’46 or ’47 that US ships went down the passage and founded Resolute. They intended to put Resolute farther west and were stopped by the high ice levels. A few years before there had been very little ice.

  41. Lucy Skywalker (00:44:01) :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage
    “The first recorded succesful passage was that of João Martins, in 1588, 265 years pryor to the Mac-clure trip, a portuguese explorer en route to the Philipines, both discovering the passage and the Bering Straight.[8]

    OK but:

    Dalton Minimum – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    27 Feb 2009 … The Dalton Minimum was a period of low solar activity, named for the English meteorologist John Dalton, lasting from about 1790 to 1830. …

    and

    http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/scienceques2005/20051128.htm
    What was the “Little Ice Age?”
    The Little Ice Age was a period from 1300 to 1850 A.D. when the Northern Hemisphere experienced colder than normal temperatures.
    Some scientists say that a major volcanic eruption in 1258 A.D. and another in 1600 A.D. helped cool temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere. The coldest period of the Little Ice Age is attributed to lower than normal solar energy.
    From 1410 to the 1720s the cooling had a strong effect on some areas. During that time, access to Greenland was largely cut off by ice. At the same time, canals in Holland routinely froze solid, glaciers advanced in the Alps, and sea-ice increased so much that no open water was present in any direction around Iceland in 1695.

    And of course there is the “graph” here which puts the end of the LIA at 1900!!!!

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/17/beryllium-10-and-climate/#more-6286

    SOMETHING DOES NOT ADD UP!

    Does this mean there was no LIA? or that the LIA did not affect the arctic? perhaps a line of volcanoes under the NW passage?

  42. anon (01:25:07) :

    I keep getting that link you gave to University of Illinois data at

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/timeseries.1870-2007

    thrown in my face, every time I express doubt that current ice levels are that much less than levels were in the past.

    Does anyone know how they arrived at their ice-levels for pre-satellite years?

    Were they just making “educated guesses?”

    I still have my doubts, for the ice-levels the University of Illinois data shows are not that much lower on years when men fought their way through the Northwest Passage than they are on other years. For example, Amundsen spent 2 years locked into the ice before making the passage in 1905, yet the University of Illinois data shows 1904 as having less summer-ice than 1905.

    I would like to know how the individuals at the University of Illinois filled in the huge gaps in our knowledge of pre-satellite conditions, and came up with this chart. It lists ice-coverage for spring, summer, fall and winter, practically down to the square mile.

    Alarmists whip this data out and slap it on the table with deep conviction, as if it supplies some sort of irrefutable proof. I find all my arguments come to the same end. All I want to know is: who came up with this data, and how. What if it turns out to be the work of an undergraduate, fooling about with a computer over a weekend?

    I apologize in advance for even suggesting such a thing, if the data turns out to be the work of many scientists working long hours, but the fact of the matter is: I currently just don’t know.

  43. Caleb (09:07:50) : “Does anyone know how they arrived at their ice-levels for pre-satellite years?”

    From the documentation:

    _________________________________________________________________

    These data are a compilation of data from many sources integrated into a single gridded product by John Walsh and Bill Chapman, University of Illinois. The sources of data for each grid cell have changed over the years from infrequent land/sea observations, to observationally derived charts, to satellite data for the most recent decades. Temporal and spatial gaps within observed data are filled with a climatology or other statistically derived data.

    Please note that large portions of the pre-1953, and almost all of the pre-1900 data is either climatology or interpolated data and the user is cautioned to use this data with care
    _____________________________________

    Sources are also listed.

  44. Caleb wrote:

    All I want to know is: who came up with this data, and how. What if it turns out to be the work of an undergraduate, fooling about with a computer over a weekend?

    I apologize in advance for even suggesting such a thing, if the data turns out to be the work of many scientists working long hours, but the fact of the matter is: I currently just don’t know.

    Well, it only took me a moment to find this link.

    If you visit that page, you’ll see that they say: “Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarding this data.”

    Go there, it includes a link for contacting them.

  45. The 46th/72nd Recon Squadron VLR, flying out of Ladd Field, AK, 1946 thru 1951, photomapped all of Alaska and much of the Arctic. They mapped the positions of three magnetic poles and discovered three (or more?) floating ice islands , T1, T2, and T3. They also created grid navigation techniques and refined them to a useful technique.

    Much of their work was classified, but I suspect that if declassified it might show at least some of the ice extent for several years.

    The Kee Bird was probably their most famous aircraft, thanks to the PBS special maybe 20 years ago about trying to fly that B29 ‘Dreamboat’ out of the crash site about 250 miles north of Thule, Greenland.

    Maybe someone here knows how to get at this stuff.

  46. From NSIDC at

    http://nsidc.org/sotc/sea_ice.html

    While the pre-satellite records are not as reliable, their trends are in good general agreement with the satellite record and indicate that Arctic sea ice extent has been declining since at least the early 1950s

    As the graph makes clear, it’s impossible that 1946 Arctic sea ice extent was anywhere near 2007 levels.

  47. What is sure is that the number of neurons of some has decreased directly proportional to the increase of greenhouse gases….or was it because of some white stuffed they inhaled…I just can´t remember :)

  48. While recognising arctic sea ice thickness and extent attracts the media centre stage, the status of the land locked Greenland ice sheet is perhaps of more pertinence in terms of future sea levels. Although widely reported at the time, the recovery of a Lockheed P-38 fighter from a SE greenland glacier in 1992, 50 years after a forced crash landing, may be new to some readers. Story summarised at

    http://p38assn.org/glacier-girl-recovery.htm

    The significance to me is that it was effectively ‘mined’ out of the ice from a depth of 268 feet, that thickness presumably representing steady accretion of ice during the latter half of the C20th when northern hemisphere warming peaked. Of course this does not amount to a scientific assessment, and says little about sub-glacial melt, etc. but at least to me suggests that at the air interface, accretion exceeds ablation.

    Incidentally, that aircraft crew survived, but a tragically large number perished in unrecorded and unresearched losses on the vital A/C supply missions from the US and Canada over the war years via the polar route.

  49. RE: Deep Climate (14:18:24) :

    **Clarification:
    As the graph makes clear, it’s impossible that 1946 Arctic sea ice extent was anywhere near as low as 2007 levels.**
    I do not see 1946 on that graph, so it is not clear to me. Satellites have been used for 30 years. The 1953 to 1979 source is not explained. If this is the same chart that was referenced in a discussion at CA, there is a lot of infilling of missing data. There was also a statement to use with caution. You cannot extrapolate backwards to the 1930’s and 1940’s.

  50. steptoe fan (22:38:55) :
    http://sailorsforthesea.org/ata/index.html

    I’d be far more inclined to give a thumb up to the Ocean Watch adventure were it to decline to do science. At this point the only “science” they are claiming to do is recognize a decrease in alkalinity. As the reason for this is largely unknown, and it has yet to be shown to have any serious effect on species – it’s not ready for prime time.

    But documenting the free floating oil on the sea, the trash in the water, the effects of urban runoff – are reasonable goals requiring the same consciousness raising. This would be a mission to promote stewardship. No science need be done outside measuring ocean content of real pollutants. If, before they start out, they reject ties to discredited “Climate” – and focus on the real problem of pollution – they will avoid the scrutiny of scientists skeptical that man-made CO2 is the reason for the Earth’s climate.

    I see no reason to be skeptical of ocean stewardship. And in fact laud the effort.

  51. Doubtville

    You need to read much more carefully the stated goals of this ” mission ” .

    You also need to study the site and read the types of ” scientists ” who will be joining the mission at various points.

    Or, perhaps someone has already been doing some site maintenance ( editing ) ?

  52. Doubtville:

    I am loath to fill comments sections with lengthy posts, but I have for the sake of keeping this ” venture ” honest, placed a cut and paste of their mission here, to serve as an accurate record of what was written, in part, in the beginning. I have omitted parts of the complete sections only to save space – not because they speak counter to what is posted here. I encourage any / all readers to go to the site itself, now, and read all sections.

    Project Description

    The ocean is changing: seawater pH is falling, endangering coral reefs; warming waters are causing sea level to rise, imperiling low-lying areas; and Arctic sea ice is shrinking, threatening local wildlife. Changes in the marine environment affect not only inhabitants of the sea, but also have great ramifications for coastal communities and even inland populations.

    These changes are heavily influenced by human activity, and consequently, we can each play an important role in improving the health of our oceans. We need to mobilize the citizens of the Americas to take action to protect our fragile oceans: our life on land is dependent on the health of our seas.

    Our mission is to build awareness throughout the Americas so that citizens understand the precipitous changes that are occurring at the poles and along our coasts and what they can do to mitigate these changes.

    Environmental/Scientific Goals:

    * To build public awareness about the fragile nature of the ocean environment surrounding the Americas and what individuals can do to help,
    * To document the impact of global climate change on the Arctic region and its potential impact on the coastal communities of both North and South America,
    * To build awareness about ocean acidification and its impact on marine life,
    * To mobilize sailors, boaters, school children, and all who love the oceans to engage in grassroots, community, regional and federal actions to protect the health of our ocean home at both the local and the global level.
    * To promote the work of the SfS-supported film A Sea Change by collecting data relevant to ocean acidification during the expedition and helping individuals who follow the ATA expedition to understand why and how pH levels are changing and how this affects marine life.

    Expedition Themes

    * Environmental impacts of global climate change with particular focus on sea level rise, ocean acidification, and changing weather patterns.
    * The rate of change in ocean CO2 concentration, water and air temperature, salinity, . . .

    The Plan

    Led by renowned sailor Mark Schrader, the expedition will depart from Seattle in May 2009 and will visit 31 ports in 11 countries over the course of 13 months. After completing 25,000 of sailing in a clockwise circumnavigation of the Americas, the vessel will return to Seattle in June, 2010.
    The steel-hulled, 64-foot sailing vessel Ocean Watch will have a full time crew of four including a journalist and a documentary filmmaker. Throughout the expedition, a Pacific Science Center educator will be on board to facilitate education activities. In addition, ocean and atmospheric scientists will join different legs of the expedition to conduct research on board Ocean Watch.

  53. John McMillin (04:24:42) wrote:

    “My father … says to this day that the Norton Sound and several other ships took a top secret ( to not upset the Soviets) turn West and made it through the Northwest Passage to the Bering Sea and back. If someone could get the logs declassified, there could be some very interesting infomation therein.”

    Maybe a FOAI request would shake it loose. Or maybe you could contact a reporter at the AP or NYT or Washington Times and try to get them to do the research to back up the little scoop you’re offering him/her.

    Caleb wrote:

    “Alarmists whip this [Univ. of Illinois] data out and slap it on the table with deep conviction, as if it supplies some sort of irrefutable proof.”

    If that U of I data doesn’t allow for the Norton Sound’s voyage, but it made it, that would put a ding in it.

  54. Britannic no-see-um (15:18:21) wrote:

    “While recognising arctic sea ice thickness and extent attracts the media centre stage, the status of the land locked Greenland ice sheet is perhaps of more pertinence in terms of future sea levels.”

    See section 3.1 (pages 34-35), “Temperature,” of Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu’s paper, “Two Natural Components of Recent Climate Change,” here (as a 50-Mb PDF):
    http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/little_ice_age.php

    He writes, “The upper part of Figure 11a shows the “warming” pattern during the last half of the last century, from about 1950 to about 2000 (Hansen et al., 2005). One can see that the most prominent change occurred in Siberia, Alaska, and Canada. Thus, in the continental Arctic, the warming rate was several times greater than the global average of 0.6°C/100 years or 0.3°C/50 years. There is no doubt that such a prominent change contributed statistically to the global average change in Figure 1a. On the other hand, contrary to the general trend of warming, note that cooling was in progress in Greenland over the same time period.

    It is of great interest to ask if GCMs can reproduce this …, since the IPCC seems to claim to be able to reproduce the 0.6°C/100 years rise caused by the greenhouse effect of CO2. The IPCC arctic group (consisting of 14 sub-groups headed by V. Kattsov) “hindcasted” geographic distribution of the temperature change during the last half of the last century. To “hindcast” means to ask whether a model can reproduce results that match the known observations of the past; if a model can do this at least qualitatively, we can be much more confident about the present GCMs and their prediction of future conditions. Their results are compiled by Bill Chapman, of the University of Illinois, and are shown in the right side of Figure 11b.

    “The left side of the figure is taken from the ACIA Report (2004), which shows the trend similar to that shown in the upper part of Figure 11a, namely the prominent warming in the continental Arctic and cooling in Greenland. ….

    “It was a great surprise to find significant differences between the two diagrams in Figure 11b. If both were reasonably accurate, they should at least look alike. Ideally, the pattern of change modeled by the GCMs should be identical or very similar to the pattern seen in the measured data. … However, as can be seen in Figure 11b, there was no resemblance at all between the two, even qualitatively.”

    This puts another ding in the U of I results (as being indicative of global warming).

  55. Caleb (09:07:50) :
    anon (01:25:07) :

    I keep getting that link you gave to University of Illinois data at

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/timeseries.1870-2007

    thrown in my face, every time I express doubt that current ice levels are that much less than levels were in the past.

    Does anyone know how they arrived at their ice-levels for pre-satellite years?

    If you actually read what it says at that site you’d find out.

  56. Caleb (09:07:50) :

    anon (01:25:07) :

    I keep getting that link you gave to University of Illinois data at

    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/SEAICE/timeseries.1870-2007

    thrown in my face, every time I express doubt that current ice levels are that much less than levels were in the past.

    Does anyone know how they arrived at their ice-levels for pre-satellite years?

    “Were they just making “educated guesses?”

    Guesses, yes. How educated they were is anyones guess. My guess is its all bs.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/guide/Data/walsh.html

  57. That UIUC ice series is of course pure nonsense. In 1870 large parts of the Arctic had never even been visited by humans, so obviously no-one knows how much ice there was there, much less on an annual basis.
    I think that by a thorough archive search (mostly but not exclusively in Norway, Denmark, Canada and Russia) you might possibly get some idea about annual ice area from the 1930’s on, but no further back, because before that large parts of the Arctic were simply not visited annually.
    In this context it is interesting to note that Soviet expeditions circumnavigated Franz Joseph’s land and Severnaya Zemlya in 1932. The former has been possible again in the last few summers, but not the latter.

  58. Thanks to all who gave me the links to the University of Illinois site.

    I am glad the fellows at the University are humble and state their information should be “used with care.”

    Now it is my turn to be humble, and confess I am very busy, and do not always have time to properly search and research, before opening my big mouth. Call me lazy if you will, but sometimes I just ask questions, and other people, on this site and on other sites, supply me with answers. Of course, they sometimes point out my cyber-laziness in the process, but I don’t mind that.

    Now I’ll be non-humble: I am actually jealous of people who are able to spend so much time on their computers, because I have to plant a truck-garden which covers nearly an acre, plus feed goats and chickens, plus milk twice a day, plus sell eggs and milk, plus shovel manure, plus etc., etc., etc. When it comes to grunt-work, I’m not so lazy, and in fact could likely out-work 95% of the computer geeks who suggest I’m lazy.

    Now I’ll be indignant: The only one who really has any right to suggest I’m lazy is my wife, but she only does so when she catches me sneaking off to my computer to see what’s happening on WUWT.

    Farmers like me, who spend a lot of time outdoors, really need to know what is going on with the weather. We stand to lose a lot if we plant warmth-loving tomatoes on a cold year when few will ripen (which happened to me in 1993, post-Pinetubo.) If we hear warming is a “fact,” we may gamble and plant peach trees in a location where sub-zero wind-chill would have killed them in former times, (because fresh, soft peaches are fifty times better than the rocks you buy at grocery stores.) If it turns out warming is not a “fact,” the peach saplings are screwed, and so are we.

    I’m always in a hurry, and sometimes the questions I ask may seem simple, blunt, and even rude, but I really do appreciate answers, especially when they are simple, blunt, and even rude.

  59. This is pretty interesting, from the Univercity of Illinois website:

    “Because most of the direct observations of sea ice (1870-1971 period) are from ships at sea, they are generally the most complete near the ice edge. The conditions north of the ice edge are often assumed to be 100% covered during this period. The satellite era has shown otherwise with concentrations between 70-90% frequently occurring well north of the ice edge in the post-1972 data. For this reason, we recommend using a measure of ice extent, when doing historical comparisons of hemispheric sea ice coverage for periods which include data prior to 1972. This is done by assuming that all grid points with ice concentrations greater than some threshold (15% is commonly used) is assumed completely covered by sea ice.”

    The “extent” could therefore appear larger on a warm year, when the ice is basically broken slush, than a cold year, when it was basically a solid block?

  60. steptoe fan (19:29:41) :

    Your quotes from the Ocean Watch site are the reason for my comment that should they decline to do “science” – it becomes a relatively harmless eco-stunt. Given the drubbing that AGW has been getting of late, and the apparent collapse of the Caitlin mission – I would be surprised if Ocean Watch did not amend their claims to be doing anything more than eco-stunt PR. Which I find mostly harmless provided they don’t spin an “ocean acidification is killing the whales” – type alarm.

    It might be refreshing to see their “mission” amend itself from any mention of warming to reporting real pollutants. However, I understand your skepticism and suggest that it’s a perfect example of AGW blowback.

  61. Caleb (05:55:32) :

    “The “extent” could therefore appear larger on a warm year, when the ice is basically broken slush, than a cold year, when it was basically a solid block?”

    I think there is a general misconception that the arctic icecap is a solid frozen block that sits on top of the arctic pond. There is a tremendous amount of energy in the arctic currents that are tearing ice apart in one area and jamming it together to cause ridges and rubble in others. It never really is a solid block but is a moving mass or pack of ice that can shift on the order of multiple kilometers in on day. Here’s a great reference:

    http://www.john-daly.com/polar/arctic.htm

    It’s about a 45 minute read but well worth it. Good luck with your farm. I’m happy to see WUWT reaching the heart of America.

  62. Bill: well-spotted. I don’t know the answer, but I suspect the NW passage has been navigated rather more often than Al Gore would care to discover.

    Shame, that man – Al Gore. He once wrote a really thoughtful book. Seems something about running for the Presidency, and being fraudulently put out of it, corrupted him badly.

    Caleb: I love your attitude.

  63. Doubtville :

    I do agree, a publicity stunt to call attention to the human discards ( floating debris ) polluting our oceans is fine by me . Conservation of the ocean food sources is also worthy of such stunts . Lets see where this goes .

  64. Shawn Whelan (08:48:30) :
    It was in ‘46 or ‘47 that US ships went down the passage and founded Resolute. They intended to put Resolute farther west and were stopped by the high ice levels. A few years before there had been very little ice.

    My understanding was that Resolute was a joint project between Canada and the US.
    The Canadian government was very sensitive at that time to attempts that the US had made to exercise authority over Canada in the Arctic after WWII.

  65. Deep Climate,

    kudos for purposely ignoring the previous known ships who navigated the Northwest passage without the help of GPS, Satellite Maps, or modern hulls and engines.

    Even better you are willing to accept made up data instead of real life experiences!!

    WAY TO GO!!!!!

  66. My understanding was that Resolute was a joint project between Canada and the US.
    The Canadian government was very sensitive at that time to attempts that the US had made to exercise authority over Canada in the Arctic after WWII.

    The St. Roch which had so easily travelled the Northrn Route of the NW Passage in 1944 was unable to enter the passage do to the increased ice levels. So the Canadians did not send any ships.

    Based on history I expect the Arctic to refreeze this year much like in the later ’40’s.

  67. “Lucy Skywalker (00:44:01) :
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northwest_Passage
    “The first recorded succesful passage was that of João Martins, in 1588, 265 years pryor to the Mac-clure trip, a portuguese explorer en route to the Philipines, both discovering the passage and the Bering Straight.[8]”

    Re: This comment, further up the comments, is utter fiction there is no such explorer or voyage of the period mentioned, someone did add this fictional reference to wiki but it has been removed, is there nothing deniers won’t do to try and make their false claims work. The force was weak with this Skywalker .

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