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The Changing Arctic–Nov 1922

March 10, 2018

By Paul Homewood

In 1922, the US Weather Bureau, now part of NOAA knew that the Arctic was undergoing a “radical change of climate”, and was “not recognizable” from the climate of 1868 to 1917.

In November that year, the Weather Bureau published this chapter in their Monthly Weather Review:




They must have had proper scientists in those days.



In 1922, the Monthly Weather Reviews were published by the US Weather Bureau, which became part of the newly formed NOAA in 1970.

The opening sentences have been corrected to reflect this fact.

  1. March 10, 2018 5:32 pm

    NOAA was created on October 3, 1970. There’s no way they “knew” anything in 1922, they wouldn’t come into existence for another half-century …

    Sorry, amigo, but that dog won’t hunt.


  2. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 10, 2018 6:26 pm

    There is a tendency to attribute “knowing” to an organization. In the current case, the Monthly Weather Review began (believing Wikipedia) with the US Army Signal Corps in 1872. Likely there are numerous interesting articles in those early reviews. I’ve not read those. I have read a few when the US Dept. of Agriculture’s Weather Bureau became the organization of record.

    On a personal note I have created {IBM Selectric II} a few reports for organizations. These were done in the period 1970-1974. Multiple copies were printed and provided to relevant parties. I suspect that over time the bookshelves, filing cabinets, and people have been “disappeared”, such that, the only copy of my reports are any I have in a dusty (location unknown) box in the barn. I could not find them in a week, if I wanted to.

    John L. Daly [Here: Royal Society quote ] provides another early report of the Arctic area.
    Do current members of the Royal Society know of this?

    • dave permalink
      March 10, 2018 7:21 pm

      Homer nodded.

      Paul should have clarified that the item originated with the United States Weather Bureau, which was one of the predecessors to the modern NOAA. The writer was George Nicholas Ifft described as American Consul – so his scientific credentials were not specified.

      The piece is actually in the online archive of the NOAA. – but appears to have been published by the American Meteorological Society. This body was only formed in 1920, and so was probably a bit short on material to publish.

      The main point is that it is a genuine item.

    • mwhite permalink
      March 11, 2018 9:49 am

      There appears to be records going back as far as the 1920s.

      • dave permalink
        March 11, 2018 10:24 am

        An international ice watch was organized after the loss of the Titanic. The contribution of the United States was two Coast Guard cutters, which each did two weeks on followed by two weeks off.

        That is why the records go back to the 1920s.

  3. Derrick Byford permalink
    March 10, 2018 6:39 pm

    “the favourable ice conditions” Now we seem to live in mortal fear unless the whole of the Arctic is covered by thick multiyear ice.

    • dave permalink
      March 11, 2018 10:48 am

      The old “death spiral” meme. An even older idea in human history is that the Frost Giant can not be permanently slain.

  4. Gamecock permalink
    March 10, 2018 9:52 pm

    I didn’t think anybody lived up there.

  5. Dave Vought permalink
    March 10, 2018 10:59 pm

    They all know it, they just won’t admit it, their pay packets rely on make believe.
    There only kidding themselves, everyone will eventually see the coverup of past research and fake facts (news). It would be interesting to see if they can then find a real job in the real world.

  6. Ben Vorlich permalink
    March 11, 2018 8:41 am

    I worked at the same site, different buildings admittedly, for 25 years. During that time I worked for 5 possibly 6 companies and 3 pension schemes (the less said about that daylight robbery the better). The knowledge of the history of businesses and who did what, and who had done what wasn’t lost at each change. It was only lost when old hands were replaced by young go-getters, with fresh new ideas, by management out to make a reputation for themselves as modern industrialists.

    A bit like climate science and what seems to have happened here.

  7. March 11, 2018 8:57 am

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    Arctic warming up – 1922 edition. Has climate science got anything to say about it?

  8. Wellers permalink
    March 11, 2018 9:00 am

    I have a retired friend who has a complete set of UK weather almanacs going back to the 1930s. They belonged to his father who worked for the Met Office I believe. He doesn’t know what to do with them and his wife wants him to chuck them out.
    Any suggestions on what to do with them?

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      March 11, 2018 11:04 am

      This is a serious question, does the British Library have copies? I think they are supposed to receive a copy of every book published in the UK. If they don’t have copies of these then they might want them?

    • bob permalink
      March 12, 2018 6:57 pm

      Wellers. Obviously these almanacs need to be preserved. I’m certain you have found a proper scienfic home for them (not a wramist home where they can be hidden and adjusted!) If not, them I will gladly take custody of them and seek a suitable library (I live near Oxford) to take them.

  9. March 11, 2018 12:00 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  10. March 11, 2018 11:19 pm

    The same was noticed by the Russian scientist Zubov even going as far as to say the melting
    of Spitzbergen was catastrophic in 1922.

  11. Kenneth Adrian permalink
    March 13, 2018 7:25 pm

    In 1922 they reached 81 north in a summer expedition. This year you can sail that far north of Svalbard today, at the end of winter and just a couple of weeks from artic sunrise. Also what is there to suggest that the effects in 1922 were not the consequence of fossil fuel burning during the first hundred and fifty years of the industrial revolution?

    • March 13, 2018 8:14 pm

      In 1922, they did not have GPS. Nor did they have any reason to sail up there.

      And if there was evidence that “the effects in 1922 were not the consequence of fossil fuel burning during the first hundred and fifty years of the industrial revolution”, then no doubt you can provide it!! [CLUE- It was much warmer in the MWP than in the 19thC]
      [CLUE 2 – It then proceeded to get much colder than the 1920s in the 1970s, despite much more fossil fuel burning!]

      Meanwhile, back in the real world, we know that temperatures around the eastern Arctic were just as high in the 1930s and 40s as now. For instance Greenland:

    • March 13, 2018 9:02 pm

      Kenneth Adrian
      March 13, 2018 7:25 pm

      … what is there to suggest that the effects in 1922 were not the consequence of fossil fuel burning during the first hundred and fifty years of the industrial revolution?

      Um … the data?

      Note that from 1750 to 1922, 172 years, only 30,000 Gt of CO2 were emitted … and from 1922 until 2014, less than a century, ten times that amount was emitted.


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