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The Warming In The North

June 9, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




What has been called “The Warming in the North”, the rapid warming of the Arctic between 1920 and 1960, remains one of the most significant and puzzling climatic events of the 20thC.


Ron Clutz has a good summary of writings on the subject by Dr Bernaerts:


The Island Nexus for Ocean Currents

From the Dutch: spits – pointed, bergen – mountains

The largest and only permanently populated island of the Svalbard archipelago in northern Norway. Constituting the westernmost bulk of the archipelago, it borders the Arctic Ocean, the Norwegian Sea, and the Greenland Sea. Spitsbergen covers an area of 39,044 km2 (15,075 sq mi), making it the largest island in Norway and the 36th-largest in the world.

The fact is that the winter temperatures made a jump of more than eight degrees Celsius at the gate of the Arctic Basin, after 1918. Nowadays, one century later, the event is still regarded as “one of the most puzzling climate anomalies of the 20th century”.



Dr. Bernaerts:

The overriding aspect of the location is the sea; the sea around Spitsbergen, the sea between particularly the Norwegian, the Greenland, and the Barents Seas (Nordic Sea). The Norwegian Sea is a huge, 3000 metres deep basin. This huge water mass stores a great amount of energy, which can transfer warmth into the atmosphere for a long time. In contrast the Barents Sea, in the southeast of Spitsbergen has an average depth of just around 230 metres. In- and outflow are so high that the whole water body is completely renewed in less than 5 years. However, both sea areas are strongly influenced by the water masses coming from the South. The most important element is a separate branch of the North Atlantic Gulf Current, which brings very warm and very salty water into the Norwegian Sea and into the Spitsbergen region. Water temperature and degree of saltiness play a decisive role in the internal dynamics of the sea body. And what might be the role of the huge basin of the Arctic Ocean, 3000 meters depth and a size of about 15 million square kilometers?

Read the rest here.

  1. A C Osborn permalink
    June 9, 2015 4:07 pm

    Come on Paul, you know this never happened.
    NASA have written it out of the History books along with the US Dust Bowl, Pre 1900 Australian Record \temperatures etc.

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    June 9, 2015 6:01 pm

    WHY: the sudden and significant temperature deviation around the winter of 1918/19 was with considerable probability caused, at least partly, by a devastating naval war which took place around the British Isles, between 1914 and 1918.

    What a load of cod’s wallop. If anything, the war would have lead to a decrease in shipping activity in UK waters.

    • Keitho permalink
      June 9, 2015 6:05 pm

      Even back then it was the default to see man’s hand in all things natural. A few big ships shooting at each other was a big deal to ordinary people and a complete irrelevance to the big briny ocean.

    • June 9, 2015 6:54 pm

      Basic information on WWI naval activities with regard to timing and losses:

      Although WWI started in August 1914, naval war began in earnest only two years later, when a series of new weapons were put in use sea mines, depth charges, new sub-marines, and airplanes. By then naval warfare had reached a destruction stage to which no one might have thought of only two years earlier. The situation became dramatic when U-boats destroyed more ships than Britain could build in early 1917. In April 1917, the same total rate of the previous annual rate of 1916, ca. 850,000 tons, was destroyed by U-boats. In April 1917, Britain together with the Allies lost 10 vessels every day. During the year of 1917, U-boats alone sank 6,200,000 tons, which means more than 3000 ships, and, during the war months of 1918, another 2,500,000 ship tonnage. …..cont.// MORE: ;

  3. June 9, 2015 6:13 pm

    A very generous subject, indeed, with many issues that need to be analysed. Some scientist say that the sudden rise of winter temperature at Spitsbergen could probably be one of the most puzzling climate anomalies of the 20th century. But I wonder if is it really that puzzling? The point is that during winter at Spitsbergen at latitude 80 degrees North, just 1000 km away from the North Pole, the influence of the sun can be neglected for several months. At that time, around winter 1918/19 not one single natural event has been observed. No earthquake, tsunami, volcano, or meteorite, which could have triggered this event. What can be said for sure, that only the seas around Spitsbergen could have initiated and sustained this winter warming over two decades until it ended in winter 1939/40.

  4. Brian H permalink
    June 12, 2015 12:15 am

    One of the rare actual tipping points. Heat was finally able to dislodge the local cold. It may revert.

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