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Antarctic Glaciers Were Retreating In The 19thC

August 15, 2015

By Paul Homewood


We are supposed to believe that Antarctic glaciers have only recently started to recede.

Back in 1932, they knew that the process had begun in the 19thC.


Sir James Ross undertook his expeditions to the Antarctic in the 1840’s.

Interestingly, Bernacchi accompanied Scott on the 1901-04 Antarctic expedition. and Scott was best man at his colleague’s wedding in 1906. Bernacchi was invited to go on Scott’s ill fated second expedition, but declined due to family commitments.

  1. August 15, 2015 12:43 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Yet another inconvenient story to be swept under the ‘official climate science’ carpet.

  2. August 15, 2015 1:12 pm

    Reblogged this on the WeatherAction News Blog and commented:
    Ah but it must have been the Industrial revolution. The luddites were proto greens. 😉

  3. kennethrichards permalink
    August 15, 2015 3:45 pm
    The Holocene temperature history from the JRI ice core is characterized by an early Holocene climatic optimum that was 1.3 ± 0.3 °C warmer than present (Fig. 3). The magnitude and progression of this early Holocene optimum is similar to that observed in ice core records from the main Antarctic continent. A marine sediment record from offshore of the western Antarctic Peninsula also shows an early Holocene optimum where surface ocean temperatures were determined to be ~3.5 °C warmer than present, while the George VI ice shelf on the southwestern Antarctic Peninsula was absent during this early Holocene warm interval before reforming in the mid Holocene
    It is therefore inferred that, at ∼1850 corr. yr BP [before present], summer temperatures within the Beall Lake catchment area [East Antarctica] were much higher than present summer temperatures.
    [T]he McMurdo Dry Valleys [Antarctica] were 0.35°C warmer during the MWP [Medieval Warm Period] than during ME [modern era], accompanied by warmer conditions in the Ross Sea. A magnetic susceptibility record from Palmer Deep marine core (PD92 30MS) also supports warmer MWP conditions, this time in Drake Passage (Domack and Mayewski, 1999).
    Radiocarbon dates of incorporated moss indicate advance of the Collins Ice Cap on Fildes Peninsula (King George Island) after ~650 cal. yr BP (~AD 1300), broadly contemporaneous with the `Little Ice Age’, as defined in Europe. During that time, the glacier extended less than 400—500 m beyond its present-day margin. Moreover, radiocarbon data indicate that this was the most extensive advance of the last 3500 cal. years. Prior to ~650 cal. yr BP, the ice must have been at or behind its present position. Furthermore, the data indicate that climate conditions prior to the late-Holocene advance may have been similar to (or possibly warmer than) today.
    Antarctic surface waters were warm and ice free between 10,000 and 5000 cal yr B.P., as judged from ice-rafted debris and microfossils in a piston core at 53°S in the South Atlantic. This evidence shows that about 5000 cal yr B.P., sea surface temperatures cooled, sea ice advanced, and the delivery of ice-rafted detritus (IRD) to the subantarctic South Atlantic increased abruptly.
    Radiocarbon dates show that ice on Anvers Island was at or behind its present position at 700–970 cal. yr B.P., coincident with ice reduction elsewhere in the Southern Hemisphere. Moreover, the data indicate that present reduced ice extent on the western Antarctic Peninsula is not unprecedented and is similar to that experienced during at least three periods in the last 5600 yr.

    Click to access tc-9-925-2015.pdf

    Introduction: Only the wider Antarctic Peninsula region (including parts of West Antarctica) exhibits a large increase in air temperature (Bromwich et al., 2013), accompanied by disintegrating ice shelves and accelerated ice flow (Rignot et al., 2013; Rott et al., 2002). For East Antarctica, no general warming and increase in precipitation is found in surface observational data (Turner et al., 2005; Monaghan et al., 2006, 2008). This is important because an increase in precipitation, and hence increased surface mass balance (SMB), might mitigate sea level rise.

    Discussion and conclusion: We conclude that, in the last 2 centuries, conditions in the interior DML [Dronning Maud Land, East Antarctica] have been fairly stable and only weakly influenced by changes in atmospheric dynamics.

    Click to access fan.antarctic_seaice_trends.grl14.pdf

    For the Southern Ocean as a whole, sea surface temperature has decreased by approximately 0.6°C in December-February (0.4°C in the annual mean) while Antarctic sea ice cover has increased by approximately 9% in December-February (12% in the annual mean) during 1979-2011.
    A 125-yr ice core record of climate from the Whitehall Glacier ice divide provides exceptionally high-resolution stable isotope data from the northwest margin of the Ross Sea, Antarctica. … Reconstructed mean annual temperatures show no significant change between 1882 and 2006. However, a decrease in cold season [April–September (AMJJAS)] temperatures of −1.59° ± 0.84°C decade−1 (at 90% confidence) is observed since 1979.
    Lower satellite-gravimetry estimates of Antarctic sea-level contribution
    We resolve 26 independent drainage basins and find that Antarctic mass loss, and its acceleration, is concentrated in basins along the Amundsen Sea coast. Outside this region, we find that West Antarctica is nearly in balance and that East Antarctica is gaining substantial mass.
    Our SMB [Surface Mass Balance] reconstructions indicate that the SMB changes over most of Antarctica are statistically negligible and that the current SMB is not exceptionally high compared to the last 800 yr. High-accumulation periods have occurred in the past, specifically during the 1370s and 1610s. However, a clear increase in accumulation of more than 10 % has occurred in high SMB [Surface Mass Balance] coastal regions and over the highest part of the East Antarctic ice divide since the 1960s
    The change of ice thickness and velocity in the ice shelf [East Antarctica] is mainly influenced by the basal melt distribution, but, although the ice shelf thins in most of the simulations, there is little grounding line retreat [ice melt]. We find that the Lambert Glacier grounding line can retreat as much as 40 km if there is sufficient thinning of the ice shelf south of Clemence Massif, but the ocean model does not provide sufficiently high melt rates in that region. Overall, the increased accumulation computed by the atmosphere models outweighs ice stream acceleration so that the net contribution to sea level rise is negative.

    Mass Gains of the Antarctic Ice Sheet Exceed Losses
    During 2003 to 2008, the mass gain of the Antarctic ice sheet from snow accumulation exceeded the mass loss from ice discharge by 49 Gt/yr (2.5% of input), as derived from ICESat laser measurements of elevation change. The net gain (86 Gt/yr) over the West Antarctic (WA) and East Antarctic ice sheets (WA and EA) is essentially unchanged from revised results for 1992 to 2001 from ERS radar altimetry.
    Antarctic Peninsula (AP) ice core records indicate significant accumulation increase since 1855, and any resultant ice mass increase has the potential to contribute substantially to present-day Glacial Isostatic Adjustment (GIA). We derive empirical orthogonal functions from climate model output to infer typical spatial patterns of accumulation over the AP and, by combining with ice core records, estimate annual accumulation for the period 1855-2010. In response to this accumulation history, high resolution ice-sheet modeling predicts ice thickness increases of up to 45 m, with the greatest thickening in the northern and western AP. Whilst this thickening is predicted to affect GRACE estimates by no more than 6.2 Gt/yr, it may contribute up to -7 mm/yr to the present-day GIA uplift rate, depending on the chosen Earth model, with a strong east-west gradient across the AP. Its consideration is therefore critical to the interpretation of observed GPS velocities in the AP.
    Insignificant change in Antarctic snowmelt volume since 1979
    None of the regions in Antarctica show a statistically significant trend in melt volume over the period 1979–2010. Of the four Antarctic Peninsula stations that have an air temperature record for 1979–2010, only Faraday exhibits a statistically significant warming trend in summer temperature for that period. A reconstruction of near-surface temperature without the questionable Byrd station (A. Monaghan, unpublished data, 2011) leaves DJF [Dec-Feb] temperature trends for 1979–2010 insignificant over nearly the entire continent, and mostly suggests statistically insignificant cooling along the coastal margins. This finding also seems consistent with RACMO2 DJF near surface temperatures, which show no statistically significant trends for 1979–2010 in any of the areas that experience melt.

  4. Graeme No.3 permalink
    August 15, 2015 4:31 pm

    You might recall that “the ship of fools” with Prof. Turney in Jan. last year expected to tie up to land as Sir Douglas Mawson did in 2010/11, but had to heave to 100 kilometres away from the original landing site, because of the pack ice.
    Hmm! Rising CO2 since 1932 causes more ice?

  5. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:18 pm

    The Canberra Times, Thursday 16 May 1974,


    NEW YORK, Wednesday (AAP). — Weather satellites sweeping across the northern hemisphere have come up with a surprise: the permanent snow and ice cap has increased sharply, Associated Press reported.

    The finding is cited as one more indication of what some climatologists believe to be a basic change in the world’s climate, a cooling trend.

    The trend could affect weather and rainfall patterns, perhaps impairing the world’s ability to produce enough food for the expanding population, according to a number of authorities.

    Study of weekly maps of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that the snow and ice increased by 12% in the northern hemisphere in 1971 and has remained at the new level. . . .

  6. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:19 pm

    Glaciers, Icebergs melt as world gets warmer,
    BY GAVIN SOUTER, By air mail from New York, Sun 7 Oct 1951

    Summers are getting warmer and, despite the unusual temperatures this year along Australia’s east coast, winters generally are not as cold as they used to be.

    Subzero temperatures occur only half as frequently in northern cities as they did 75 years ago.

    Greenland’s ice is melting and the ruins of mediaeval farm-houses hidden by ice for centuries have already been exposed.

    In Spitsbergen the mean annual temperature has risen by four degrees since 1912.

    Ships ply the White Sea and Gulf of Bothnia 3 or 4 weeks longer than they used to.

    In Iceland and the higher latitudes of Norway farmers are growing, barley in soil that was once frozen for 7 months each year.

    BUT the coming of the new climate is most noticeable above the world’s snow lines.

    Glaciers present the most striking evidence. American geographer, F. E. Matthes, has reported that “glaciers in nearly all parts of the world receded regularly during the last 60 years but especially rapidly during the 1930-40 decade.”

    All glaciers examined from Greenland through Scandinavia to Europe are shrinking. And the shrinkage is not limited to high latitudes. Some glaciers in the European Alps have vanished completely. In East Africa, the glaciers on three high volcanoes— Kilimanjaro, Mt. Kenya and Ruwenzori—have been diminishing since they were first observed in 1880. The vast Muir Glacier in Alaska’s Glacier Bay has retreated a full 14 miles since 1902.

    Russia already has good cause to be thankful for that increase of ¼ p.c. Navigation conditions along her northern coasts have improved considerably since the turn of the century.

    In 1910 most of the sea lanes were open for only 3 months. Now they are open 8 months each year.

    Equally important is the economic benefit derived from increased vegetation in northern latitudes.

    Barley cultivation in England has already been extended, while the prospects for agriculture in northern Sweden and Finland have similarly improved.

    Dr. Ahlmann has pointed out another effect which the new climate may have. If the Antarctic ice regions and the major Greenland ice-cap should continue to melt at their present rates, he says, the surface of the ocean may rise to catastrophic proportions. – – Sunday Times, Perth, WA, Sunday 7 October 1951 …/// . . .

  7. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:20 pm

    ///… Jan 1947, Melting Ice Uncovers Silver Mine, Hot weather on the west coast of Canada recently melted the blueish-white blanket of ice at the foot of a glacier in British Columbia. As a result the Dominion has a new silver mine. The new find, at a time when silver prices have zoomed to better than 5/6 an ounce, is causing a rush among prospectors, is said by the Financial Post to contain one 800 ft. vein of rich ore. – – Worker Brisbane, Monday 20 January 1947. …/// .

    ///… The New York Times, Jan 5, 1978, An international team of specialists has concluded from eight indexes of climate that there is no end in sight to the cooling trend of the last 30 years, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. …/// . .

  8. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:21 pm

    ///… Feb 1952, Melting Icecaps Mystery, NEW YORK, Feb. 17. 1952, A.A.P. Polar icecaps melting at an astonishing and unexplained rate – – Newcastle Morning Herald NSW Monday 18 February 1952 …/// .

    The Genesis Strategy; A chilling prospect, NYT July 18, 1976

    ///… in the last 100 years mid-latitude air temperatures peaked at an all-time warm point in the 1940’s and have been cooling ever since …/// . .

  9. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:21 pm

    ///…Feb 1940, GREENLAND GLACIERS MELTING Is the Arctic climate becoming more temperate? Professor Ahtmann stated that the glaciers of north-east Greenland show clear signs of a change towards a warmer climate. As has been observed in other parts of the Arctic, especially in Spitzbergen, the melting has in- creased rapidly. All, or at any rate by far the largest number of glaciers in north-east Greenland have receded very greatly during recent decades, and it would not be exaggerating to say that these glaciers are nearing a catastrophe. Examiner Launceston, Tas. Thursday 1 February 1940 …/// . .

    The Milwaukee Journal – May 14, 1974, Is the Earth Becoming a Cooler Place?

    New York, N.Y. -AP- Weather Satellites sweeping across the Northern Hemisphere have come up with a surprise – – the permanent snow and ice cap has increased dramatically. The finding is cited as one more indication of what some climatologists believe to be a cooling trend in the worlds climate …///,2926802&hl=en .

  10. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:22 pm

    ///… THE NORTH POLE. Feb, 1940, Is it getting warmer at the North Pole?
    From soundings and meteorological tests taken by the Soviet explorers who returned this week to Murmansk, Russia’s sole ice-free Arctic port, it was concluded that near Polar temperatures are on an average six degrees higher than those registered by Nansen 40 years ago. Townsville Daily Bulletin Friday Febuary 23, 1940 …/// . .

    B-r-r-r-r: New Ice Age on way soon? Chicago Tribune, Mar 2, 1975, Page 2, In the last decade, the Arctic ice and snow cap has expanded 12 per cent, and for the first time in this century. ships making for Iceland ports have been impeded by drifting ice. …/// . .

  11. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:22 pm

    ///… May 1940, Greenland’s Climate Becoming Milder,

    As had been observed in other parts of the Arctic, especially in Spitzbergen, the melting has increased rapidly. Courier Mail, Monday 6 may 1940 …./// .

    U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming

    The Washington Post, Times Herald – Washington, D.C. Jul 9, 1971
    The world could be as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age, a leading atmospheric scientist predicts. .

  12. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:23 pm

    ///… Feb 1952, POLAR ICE THAW INCREASING, GLACIERS SAID TO BE MELTING, CLEVELAND, Feb. 16 (A.A.P.) – – Cairns Post Qld. Monday 18 February 1952 …/// . .

    Colder Winters Herald Dawn of New Ice Age, Scientists See Ice Age In the Future,

    The Washington Post, Times Herald – Washington, D.C. Jan 11, 1970
    Get a good grip on your long johns, cold weather haters–the worst may be yet to come. That’s the long-long-range weather forecast being given out by “climatologists.” the people who study very long-term world weather trends. …/// . .

  13. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:23 pm


    SCIENTIST’S REPORTS THIRD LESS IN 50 YEARS, The ice of the Arctic Ocean is melting so rapidly that more than one-third of it has disapeared in 50 years. – – Auckland Star VLXXI, Issuse 297, 14 December 1940 …///——-10–1—-0greenland+melting– . .

    New Ice Age Coming—It’s Already Getting Colder, Los Angeles Times Oct 24, 1971

    Ocean Floor Sediment Holds Clues to Future New Ice Age on Way — It’s Colder Already
    NEW ICE AGE. Some midsummer day, perhaps not too far in the future, a hard, killing frost will sweep down on the wheat fields of Saskatchewan, the Dakotas and the Russian steppes. . .

  14. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:24 pm


    Sun. (AAP): ‘The glaciers of Norway and Alaska,’ he said, ‘arc only half the size they were 50 years ago. The temperature around Spitsbergen has so modified that the sailing time has lengthened from three to eight months of the year.’ – – Daily Advertiser NSW Monday 18 February 1952 . .

    New York Times, Jan 30, 1961, SCIENTISTS AGREE WORLD IS COLDER;

    But Climate Experts Meeting Here Fail to Agree on Reasons for Change After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder. .

  15. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:25 pm


    Dr. Hans Ahlman, a noted Swedish geophysicist, claimed that a mysterious warming is manifesting itself in the Arctic and if the major ice cap at Greenland should be reduced, the oceanic surfaces will rise to ”catastrophic proportions,” inundating people living in lowlands along the shores.

    Dr. Ahlman urged the establishment of an international agency to study conditions on a global basis. Temperatures had risen 10 degrees since 1900. The navigable season along Western Spitzbergen now lasted eight months instead of three. – – The Canberra Times, Sat 31 May 1947 …/// .

    ///…“One thing is indisputable: The world has been cooling off since World War II”

    ” Dr. J Murray Mitchell, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the world has been cooling off in the long run. “On the average its cooled by something like one degree Fahrenheit or half a degree Celsius, and that cooling began around World War II. I would put my money on the idea that the cooling world has been in for the last 40 years is just one of these temporary swings of climate. And rather soon we will see the climate changing again into a new warming trend.” – –
    Lawrence Journal-World – Mar 11, 1979 …///,1789504&hl=en . . .

  16. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:29 pm

    ///… Feb 1940, GREENLAND GLACIERS MELTING … As has been observed in other parts of the Arctic, especially in Spitzbergen, the melting has increased rapidly. All, or at any rate by far the largest number of glaciers in north-east Greenland have receded very greatly during recent decades, and it would not be exaggerating to say that these glaciers are nearing a catastrophe. . – – Examiner (Launceston, Tas. Thursday 1 Feb 1940 …/// . .

    ///… POLAR ICE GAPS MELTING, SAYS SCIENTIST, CLEVELAND, Sun. (AAP): Dr. William S. Carlson, an Arctic expert, said last night that polar Ice caps were melting at an astonishing and unexplained rate – – Daily Advertiser NSW Monday 18 February 1952 …/// . .

    ///… The Canberra Times, Monday, 2 June 1975, The drop in mean temperatures since 1950 in the Northern Hemisphere has been sufficient, for example, to shorten Britain’s growing season for crops by two weeks. A recent report of the National Academy of Sciences said, “The global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century”. …///

  17. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:40 pm

    ///… June 1905, SWISS GLACIERS SHRINKING, Photography has recently been employed in Switzerland to obtain exact pictures of the glaciers as they now are. In future times the terminal moraines can be compared with those of the present day. Whatever may be the cause, the fact seems to be that glaciers all over the world are shrinking; they were once certainly far larger in Switzerland than they are now. The ice-caps round the Poles are also growing less. As to the North Pole, this was pretty well known some time ago, and now the Antarctic explorers report that the icefields round the Southern Pole are also far less than they were when Ross made his Antarctic voyage sixty years ago. – – Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, NSW, Saturday 24 June 1905 …/// . .

    Nov 1908, THE WORLDS ICE MANTLE. glaciers shrinking, In the French Alps, we learn, sundry small glaciers have quite melted away during the last few years. – – The Mercury Hobart, Tas. Saturday 21 November 1908 …///

    ///… April 1911, ICE AND SNOW MELTING . FLOODS DOING DAMAGE. ST. PETERSBURG , Reports from Western Russia and Siberia tell of the sudden arrival of spring . The ice on the rivers has broken, up and this, with the melting of the snow , which lies during the winter several feet deep all over the level plains, has caused high floods, which are doing an immense amount of damage. – – Daily Post, Hobart, Tas. Thursday 27 April 1911 …/// . .

    Aug 1921, MOVEMENT OF THE ICE GLACIERS. By ELI RHYS. All these Mount Cook glaciers were much longer in past ages, as shown by the heaps of glacier-borne rocks and debris, forming moraines now at a considerable distance from permanent ice. – – The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. Saturday 20 August 1921 …/// . .

    April 1923 , NORTH POLE MELTING. MANY GLACIERS VANISHED. Is the North Pole going to melt entirely? Are the Arctic regions warming up, with the prospect of a great climatic change in that part of the world? – – Daily Mercury, Mackay, Qld. Saturday 7 April 1923 …/// . .

    ///… Nov 1930, Greenland Ice Cap Melting. It is now definitely established that Greenland’s ice cap is disappearing. The Ice has melted down 8 feet in the last year. – – North-Eastern Advertiser Tuesday 18 November 1930 …/// . .

  18. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:46 pm

    ///…MELTING OF THE ICE. Owing to the premature melting of the ice over the River Sungari, many Russian carts filled with supplies were lost, and the drivers drowned. The Mercury Hobart, Tuesday 23 May 1905 …/// .

    “All the great glaciers around the North Pole are melting, and eventually the Pole will be ice- free,”

    NEW YORK. September 13, 1947: Veteran U.S. explorer D. B. Macmillan says he has found vast uranium deposits near the North Pole. Macmillan reached Sydney (Nova Scotia) yesterday, after an 8000-mile cruise in the schooner Bowdoin the Arctic. The uranium deposits are near Godthaaf, on the west coast of Greenland. Principal aim of Macmillan s expedition was’ to measure the speed of glaciers.

    “All the great glaciers around the North Pole are melting, and eventually the Pole will be ice- free,” he said. – – Daily Mercury, Mackay, Qld. Monday 15 September 1947 …/// . .

    ///… MOSCOW, . Sunday: The “heat wave” at the North Pole has become intensified to an uncomfortable extent. This surprising news came in a radio message from the Soviet expedition camped. there on an ice floe. The temperature at the Pole has risen to 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Houses of snow bricks, which form a little settlement, are melting. Everything is wet, and the party is hoping for a severe frost to eliminate the risk of valuable scientific equipment being damaged by the thaw. – – Goulburn Evening Penny Post, NSW Monday 28 June 1937 …/// .

  19. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 12:52 pm

    ///… The earliest drought-caused famine recorded in England is one in A.D. 298, but the most severe droughts on record are those of 1315, 1310 and 1321. There was generally a long dry spell from 1308 to 1322, and food was scarce all the time. The price of wheat rose rapidly after the bad harvest of 1310, and in May, 1310, it had risen to five times tile normal level. People subsisted on a diet of roots, and horses and dogs were killed for food. Thousands died and a great shortage of labor resulted. The summer of 1592 was so dry that the Thames at London could be crossed on horse back. …/// . . .

  20. Ray permalink
    August 19, 2015 1:03 pm

    Of note,, the article with Prof. Hubert Lamb, director of the climate research at the University of East Anglia … and the one with Dr. J Murray Mitchell, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration .,2786655&hl=en . .,1789504&hl=en . . .

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