Home > AGW, Climate Change, Data, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Science, Skepticism > Was There Less Arctic Ice in 1932?

Was There Less Arctic Ice in 1932?

Arctic Becomes an Island for the first time in human history“…really???

On Dec 5, 1932, The New York Times reports the “feat, accomplished for the first time” of circumnavigation of Franz Josef Land (actually, an Arctic archipelago). The same expedition (led by a Professor N.N. Subkov) was also described in March 1933 in the pages of Nature.

Arctic Map

Arctic Map

(Franz Josef Land is between the North Pole and Novaya Zemlya in the map above)

Notably, in the words of the NYT, that circumnavigation had been “heretofore regarded as impossible“. It actually took just 34 days, from Aug 17. It was warm enough for the “Eva” and “Liv” islands to be recognized as one, joined by “a low stretch of land” and thereby renamed “Evaliv”.

Fast forward to 2008. Cryosphere Today shows two tongues of ice still clinging to Franz Josef Land as of Aug 31.

Prof. Subkov would not have been so lucky this time around.


ADDENDUM: The map of end-Aug 1979 clearly shows that at the time, Prof Subkov’s trip would not have been possible

Arctic Sea Ice 1979 08 30

Arctic Sea Ice 1979 08 30

  1. 2008/12/15 at 01:38

    Thanks for posting this I believe the whole global warming scare the farce but I that there is some kind of global warming yes I think we need change dramatically great blog

  2. 2008/09/29 at 05:40

    As a nation, we have abandoned real science in favor of “woo=woo science:” right-brain-left-brain thinking, AGW, alien abductions, and two dozen juju-stick-and-mask alternative medicine theories.

    Worse, no one dares speak the truth, for fear of a personal attacks by the witch doctors, themselves.

    Science is taught after a fashion, but along with it go the pet theories of the moment. We don’t teach mental health; we don’t teach how to identify fallacies, and we don’t teach economics. People are urged repeatedly to vote whether they know anything or not.

    We are suffering from proctocraniosis on a national scale. Oh, wait, Al Gore got a Nobel Peace Prize. Make that on a global scale. It’s pandemic.

  3. Shawn Whelan
    2008/09/11 at 13:31

    As far as the passage never being open before is total bunk.
    The ice level in the 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s was at a similar low level. The St. Roch went easily through the Northern route of the NW passage which is closed this year and that was in 1944. All the way from Halifax to Vancouver in 86 days. The HBC had many other boats freely navigating the southern route of the NW Passage.
    Route of the St. Roch

    Gjoa Haven(1930) and Cambridge Bay(1929) pictures showing low ice level. A lot more info in that link.


    This little boat the Aklavik also made it through the NW Passage in 1937.


    Nascopie and Aklavik meet from East and West in 1937
    The Nascopie commonly travelled through the passage in the 30’s.

    This evidence is ignored by science, and it shows the conditions in the Arctic in the thirties were similar to today. And then in the late 40’s the Arctic froze up and the HBC shut some of their posts due to the increased ice.

    What is called science has become an embarassment.

  4. Rob
    2008/09/05 at 15:04

    I Don`t seem to hear much about glacier retreat at the present.

    What really annoys me is that Gore and the AGW mob like to show glacier retreat with photographs of say 1900 and 2000 with nothing in between, see link below for the true time line of retreat.


  5. Gene
    2008/09/04 at 05:12

    For buckdenton, you refer to satellite data as “concrete”. The problem as I believe omnologos tries to point out is that we have satellite data only since the 1970’s. Nothing so “concrete” as that existed beforehand. Thus, our historical view of the Arctic, its areal coverage of sea ice and its seasonal change, as defined by satellite imagery, is EXTREMELY abbreviated. I suggest it is like attempting to define how a snake is by looking at a mere inch of its body somewhere in the middle.

    On the other hand, not only do we have the aforementioned circumnavigation of Franz Josef Land, we also have evidence (ship’s logs and other documentation) of prior trips through the Northwest Passage (that is, the sea route from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean along the northern coast of North America). The Vikings are reported to have sailed as far north and west as Ellesmere Island following settlement of Greenland. The first sea-only expedition was East to West and was completed in 1906; I’m pretty sure the ships of that era were not what we see on the seas today. The second complete trip by water was seen in 1940, this one West to East. Another voyage led by the same individual, Canadian RCMP officer Henry Larsen, was completed in 1944. The US completed a trip in 1957. There have been numerous others, including one in 1977 involving a 13.8 m steel yacht, a specially reinforced supertanker (1969), and a 14.3 m aluminum sailboat in 2001. I suppose all of them prior to the sailboat trip could have been concocted stories, but that seems doubtful. The same holds true for much other data regarding, for example, glacier advance and retreat (though they do leave evidence of their movements across the earth over millenia).

    Hopefully Maurizio and other readers will not protest this opportunity to share some observations with Carla. As an instructor in engineering and engineering technology, I encourage my students to trust a single source of information with very great care, be it government, industry or anyone else (including me, the instructor). I have, too often, seen many people with good intentions skew the data in the favor. Sometimes it’s intentional, sometimes accidental. Sometimes it’s due to ignorance of a still developing field of knowledge. Climate science is complex and covers many fields of science that are themselves still evolving. Climate science appears to be in a relative infancy. Research shows we have seen several periods each of concern for warmings and coolings in the past century. The last “coming ice age” hypothesis was in the 1970’s. Yet, in the late 1980s, the UN IPCC mission was established to find a solution to “global warming”, and that term was specifically defined for it as meaning warming due to human activities. The IPCC has no defined charter to examine the science. As a result of reading many technical documents and engaging in debates with many experts in various scientific fields of study that are all linked to climate science over the past decade, it appears to me that the scientific evidence for the AGW hypothesis MAY not be all it’s cracked up to be. For example:

    I now live in the Cincinnati (Ohio) metropolitan area (at the junction of the three states of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana). This area has experienced three glacial ice-sheets, beginning in the Pleistocene Era, about 1.2 million years ago. The last glaciation was known as the Wisconsinan glacier, which pushed into the area about 70,000 years ago. (These ice sheets are believed to have realigned the route of the Ohio River several times.)

    We did not have BOTH thermometers AND A UNIFORM SCALE for temperature measurement and reporting until the early 17th Century. So, we must use “proxies” of ice core data, tree ring analyses, and so on. But those also have complicating — or confounding — aspects. Are the tree rings consistently a function of temperature change, or were they also related to precipitation and nutrients? How are those factors eliminated? Temperature records for areas that experienced movement of ice-sheets simply do not exist. I find it hard to believe that tree ring proxy data exist either as the glacial ice movement most likely destroyed such potential. Who can truly say that our current warming is out of the realm of natural variability? Do we know for certain that CO2 concentrations in ice cores remain fixed for thousands of years? For that matter, are the tests used to extract the air samples valid (were the samples suitable)? Some say no. Others, naturally say yes. Who is right? Currently, anthropologists are finding human remains and items of clothing in the Alps where the glaciers have recently receeded. Clearly at some time in the past, humans lived higher up in the Alps than they do now. And, the past advance of glaciers has threatened entire villages. I fear that we do not now everything we need to make the final assessment, or to even take the AGW hypothesis to the level of “theory.”

    I also note that the Cincinnati Board of Health report for 1874 (yes, 1874) noted that the bottomland of a local stream (Mill Creek) “has long been a source of malarial fever”. This replicated the findings of a Dr Daniel Drake in 1810. The illness was apparently so prevalant here in that period that most 19th Century health officers in the city neglected to mention it, and it was not singled out for special attention any more then than is the common cold today. I understand that our nation’s capitol, Washington DC, was once a swamp infested with malaria-carrying mosquitoes. So, are we to believe that “tropical diseases such as malaria” are expanding due to AGW? Or are they merely moving back to reclaim old ground lost to cooler temperatures? Or are they perhaps also migrating to new areas due to our increased capacity for high-speed intercontinental travel by air, versus the protracted travel by ship in eras long gone?

    Finally, most of the studies we see reported in the mainstream media are based on the explicit or implicit assumptions that (a) AGW is fact, (b) the climate models accurately portray what has happened in the past and (c) the models will accurately portray the future. Given that the models do not yet address cloud formation very well, and that they typically do not replicate BOTH temperatures and precipitation very well, one has to wonder if those assumptions are valid. Best of luck with your studies…

    (Maurizio, I’ll bet you’re glad I post very INfrequently… Cheers!)

  6. 2008/09/03 at 04:35

    Many of us here in the AK deal with climate change on a daily basis, but it ha its pros and cons and massive inconsistencies. This summer, for example, has been the coldest on record yet my friends are recording a wonderful documentary about a geophysicist hunting gold in the wake of the massively receded glaciers in Prince William Sound. Some parts of Alaska are completely eroding due to melting permafrost, but most of us appreciate the idea of a warmer winter and what it could mean in the ways of decreased heating expenses and potential advances in agriculture.

    There’s so many facets to this issue that I see on a daily basis that it’s pretty absurd to me when I hear people with various singular proposals to “stop global climate change” because, well, the climate i and has always been in a state of perpetual flux. Who do we think we are to propose that we can completely stop these natural, or even in some cases unnatural, cycles and changes? I’m big on literature though, not a scientist, so the best analogy I can draw is this–who wants our environment to become a static character?

  7. 2008/09/03 at 04:20

    Your posting is very nice!Good job

  8. 2008/09/03 at 00:17

    For buckdenton: we know enough only about the last 29 years, so the fact that there has been a progression doesn’t mean much.

    For example look at the sea ice extent at the end of August 1979, and you will see that at the time, Subkov’s trip of 1932 would have been absolutely impossible.

    Given also Amundsen’s polar circumnavigation and all the reports from other ships during the late-XIX, early-XX century, we can rest assured that to the ice retreat experienced since 1979 has lasted for fewer than 70 years, and most likely much less than that.

  9. 2008/09/03 at 00:16

    I think we are seeing a shift already in the Global Warming hysteria that is sweeping the media and Hollywood. You may notice the increasing use of the term “Climate Change” rather than the herertofor “Global Warming”. This is because the idea that the Earth is growing ever warmer is just getting too hard to support. As the confluence of natural cycles and solar phenomena that caused a temporary spike in temperatures passes, the weather and temperature cycle is already quickly returning to more predictable and historically normal patterns. Those who have strong financial or political stakes in perpetuation the fear that has been rampant have figured out that it is much harder to disprove the much more ambiguous idea of climate change than it is to refute warming.

  10. 2008/09/02 at 22:46

    Perhaps, but I’d like to see more specific data on the issue you are reporting, which seems to be one mere event based largely on circumstantial evidence. Satellite data is concrete and there are numerous other factors in addition to the newest satellite data which points to global warming. Furthermore, there has been a progression in Arctic melting, and it’s not a one-time event. Global warming is occurring. I have seen my childhood home change over time and so have others. The science is clear that the anthropogenic release of carbon dioxide is a dominating factor that warms the earth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and science has known this for some time.

  11. 2008/09/02 at 17:38

    Thanks for posting this!

    Although I’m sure that man contributes to his surroundings, I wonder what Al Gore will do, when the evidence of “global cooling” becomes irrefutable?

    I guess he’ll be peddling that tired speech of his on street corners, for spare change, huh?

    Good Job!

  12. carla
    2008/09/02 at 17:07

    I´m an Argentinian student and I´ve been bombarded with data regarding global warming. I´ve never read something like this before. The question is: Is it so? Is the Artic becoming an island? if so?. What happens in the Artic during winter? Since in summer it becomes a hell.. I couln´t help but wonder; Do we all have to leave the Earth, afterwards??..

  13. 2008/09/02 at 13:10

    Chilling!!! 😉

  1. 2010/08/30 at 12:06
  2. 2008/09/03 at 04:53

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: