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Receding Swiss Glaciers Reveal 4000 Year Old Forests – Warmists Try To Suppress Findings

October 9, 2018

By Paul Homewood


I ran this story in 2014, but it is worth re-posting:


As many sources, including HH Lamb, have pointed out, back in the Bronze Age around 2000BC, the climate in the Alps was much warmer than now.

It is therefore no surprise to find direct evidence of this from geologist Dr. Christian Schlüchter, Professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Larry Bell at Newsmax has the story:

Dr. Christian Schlüchter’s discovery of 4,000-year-old chunks of wood at the leading edge of a Swiss glacier was clearly not cheered by many members of the global warming doom-and-gloom science orthodoxy.

This finding indicated that the Alps were pretty nearly glacier-free at that time, disproving accepted theories that they only began retreating after the end of the little ice age in the mid-19th century. As he concluded, the region had once been much warmer than today, with “a wild landscape and wide flowing river.”

Dr. Schlüchter’s report might have been more conveniently dismissed by the entrenched global warming establishment were it not for his distinguished reputation as a giant in the field of geology and paleoclimatology who has authored/coauthored more than 250 papers and is a professor emeritus at the University of Bern in Switzerland.

Then he made himself even more unpopular thanks to a recent interview titled “Our Society is Fundamentally Dishonest” which appeared in the Swiss publication Der Bund where he criticized the U.N.-dominated institutional climate science hierarchy for extreme tunnel vision and political contamination.

Following the ancient forest evidence discovery Schlüchter became a target of scorn. As he observes in the interview, “I wasn’t supposed to find that chunk of wood because I didn’t belong to the close-knit circle of Holocene and climate researchers. My findings thus caught many experts off guard: Now an ‘amateur’ had found something that the [more recent time-focused] Holocene and climate experts should have found.”

Other evidence exists that there is really nothing new about dramatic glacier advances and retreats. In fact the Alps were nearly glacier-free again about 2,000 years ago. Schlüchter points out that “the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned.”

Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is “indeed too short.” His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that “the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years."

Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.

Casting serious doubt upon alarmist U.N.-IPCC projections that the Alps will be nearly glacier-free by 2100, Schlüchter poses several challenging questions: “Why did the glaciers retreat in the middle of the 19th century, although the large CO2 increase in the atmosphere came later? Why did the Earth ‘tip’ in such a short time into a warming phase? Why did glaciers again advance in the 1880s, 1920s, and 1980s? . . . Sooner or later climate science will have to answer the question why the retreat of the glacier at the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850 was so rapid.”

Although we witness ongoing IPCC attempts to blame such developments upon evil fossil-fueled CO2 emissions, that notion fails to answer these questions. Instead, Schlüchter believes that the sun is the principal long-term driver of climate change, with tectonics and volcanoes acting as significant contributors.

Regarding IPCC integrity with strong suspicion, Schlüchter recounts a meeting in England that he was “accidentally” invited to which was led by “someone of the East Anglia Climate Center who had come under fire in the wake of the Climategate e-mails.”

As he describes it: “The leader of the meeting spoke like some kind of Father. He was seated at a table in front of those gathered and he took messages. He commented on them either benevolently or dismissively.”

Schlüchter’s view of the proceeding took a final nosedive towards the end of the discussion. As he noted: “Lastly it was about tips on research funding proposals and where to submit them best. For me it was impressive to see how the leader of the meeting collected and selected information.”

As a number of other prominent climate scientists I know will attest, there’s one broadly recognized universal tip for those seeking government funding. All proposals with any real prospects for success should somehow link climate change with human activities rather than to natural causes. Even better, those human influences should intone dangerous consequences.

Schlüchter warns that the reputation of science is becoming more and more damaged as politics and money gain influence. He concludes, “For me it also gets down to the credibility of science . . . Today many natural scientists are helping hands of politicians, and are no longer scientists who occupy themselves with new knowledge and data. And that worries me.”

Yes. That should worry everyone.


The only real surprise in this story is why the so-called “experts”, that he was up against, were so surprised by his findings. There is ample evidence from HH Lamb and others that temperatures in this part of the world were higher then than now. Apart from anything else, there is the body of Oetzi the iceman, which was discovered a few years ago in a glacier, high up in the Alps, near the Austro-Italian border, at an altitude of about 10,000 feet. Oetzi had attempted to cross the Alps about 5000 years ago.

  1. richard verney permalink
    October 9, 2018 12:46 pm

    See also the tree stumps in the Mendenall Glacier which shows something similar. Here is a picture;

    One should not be at all surprised since the Greenland Ice Cores show that the past was warmer.

  2. richard verney permalink
    October 9, 2018 12:53 pm

    I just had a quick look at Wikipedia, surprisingly it comments on the tree stump discovery. Her is a quote:

    “Recently, a new discovery has been made regarding the Mendenhall Glacier and its retreat. In 2012, tree stumps and logs with roots and bark still attached appeared from under the glacier as it has been retreating. They are being found in their original growth position, preserved by what was believed to be a protective gravel casing covering them. By uncovering these tree stumps and logs, scientists are able to uncover information on the ecosystem’s past, from a pre-glacial time. Scientists observing the area are able to determine how old the trees were when they died by looking at their preserved remains. One of the scientists, Cathy Conner, was reported as finding “The most recent stumps emerging from the Mendenhall are between 1,400 and 1,200 years old. The oldest are around 2,350 years old. Some have dated around 1,870 to 2,000 years old.”[10][15][16]”

    So one can see that Alaska was considerably warmer during the Roman Warm Period, and at the start of the Medieval warm period than it is today.

    Obviously, those tree stumps are rooted in what is presently perma frost and there will need to be considerably more warming before a forest would grow in such ground.

    Unfortunately, the past variability is kept hidden from most of the public.

    • dwalton1967 permalink
      October 9, 2018 1:12 pm

      And not only time for the trees to grow – there is another period of time for the soil to form via the actions of the pioneer species.

    • October 9, 2018 10:23 pm

      And, the Exit Glacier – the one that Obummer visited.

      “Park Service personnel recently discovered evidence of a buried forest dating back to at least 1170 AD high in the Forelands near the current glacier’s edge. Exit Glacier advanced from the Harding Icefield during the Little Ice Age, burying this existing forest and advancing to a maximum marked by the terminal moraine dated to 1815.”

      Trees were growing there as recently as 830 +/- yrs ago. How long will this warming cycle need to last in order for the trees to take root and grow into a forest, once again?


  3. October 9, 2018 1:00 pm

    Oetzi and his killer(s) were walking there 5000 years ago, which suggests lack of snow, but his body was preserved, which suggests snow. Not sure about the reconciliation.

    • October 10, 2018 12:55 pm

      It is rumored that Oetzi had been a Trump supporter.

  4. richard verney permalink
    October 9, 2018 1:11 pm

    “Schlüchter points out that “the forest line was much higher than it is today; there were hardly any glaciers. Nowhere in the detailed travel accounts from Roman times are glaciers mentioned.”

    Don’t forget we know (it is well documented) that Hannibal crossed the Alps with elephants in Roman times (218 BC). His route is well documented and we know that that route could not today be traversed with elephants, even if we were to fit them with crampons. It is very obvious that Europe was warmer in Roman times than it is today.

    Materially there is no explanation for the temperature changes of the Holocene. It bears no relationship with CO2, and we do not know what caused the Holocene, the Minoan Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period or the Medieval Warm Period. Until we understand these past warming episodes, we cannot possibly determine what has caused the recovery from the LIA and into the Modern Warm Period

    PS> Sorry for the mul

    • Emrys Jones permalink
      October 9, 2018 2:33 pm

      Hannibal’s route across the Alps remains uncertain. See Wikipedia, “Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps”. There are five possible passes, with the Little St. Bernard being the favourite; but as we don’t know what the snow conditions in the Alps actually were at that time, it is hard to be sure. Neither can we be sure of his criteria as to which pass he used; the Romans determinedly destroyed all written Carthaginian documentation they could find. It may have been chosen for easiest passage, but it may have been chosen for other strategic advantage. He was a careful man and would certainly have prepared his point of arrival in Italy for maximum achievable effect.

    • anng permalink
      October 9, 2018 4:51 pm

      However, the warming does correlate somewhat with the sun’s behaviour. I believe Nigel Lawson and Fritz Vaenholm produced a book showing this.

    • Doubting Peter permalink
      October 11, 2018 2:45 pm

      I am no wine expert, but I have been told by somebody who is, that in Roman times in England, (ie. around 2,000 years ago), vineyards were planted as far north as Yorkshire. That suggests a CET at least 2 degrees C higher than now.

  5. Gerry, England permalink
    October 9, 2018 1:49 pm

    Introducing facts into the fact-free zone of climate science fiction inevitably upsets them, either by contradicting their religion or threatening their soft stream of grant funding.

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      October 9, 2018 2:50 pm

      Yep plenty of the science fiction on our screens currently
      Was a couple of journos on Sky news late last night reviewing the papers going on & on & on about climate change.
      Do they ever investigate what they are being told or would it put their jobs in jeopardy ?

      • sensferguson permalink
        October 9, 2018 7:25 pm

        I sit among politicians all of whom are desperately worried about climate change.They all accept the IPCC rubric as gospel and none of them have done their own research to look at both sides of the evidence. I wouldnt mind but they want to spend money to combat climate change………

  6. October 9, 2018 2:37 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  7. October 9, 2018 2:38 pm

    In Alberta Canada, the retreating Saskatchewan Glacier reveals a 3,000 year-old forest.

    BTW, most of these are stagnant ice masses, relict pieces of glaciers. Glaciers flow. Ice masses are what is left when the ice is too tjin to flow. Big ice cubes. The glaciers “died” about 150 years ago.

    But that spoils the alarm about global warming.

  8. Tony Budd permalink
    October 9, 2018 3:03 pm

    Thinking of monitoring atmospheric CO2: is the Mauna Loa Observatory on Hawaii a good location? At 3,400m or 11,000 ft above sea level, it sits downwind of China, which has been disproportionately producing rapidly-increasing amounts of CO2 in recent decades. Not to mention that the Hawaiian islands are an actively-volcanic region, and volcanoes do tend to release rather a lot of CO2 as well.

    • Broadlands permalink
      October 9, 2018 9:43 pm

      The Observatory monitors CO2 at stations across the hemisphere, not just at Hawaii. The correlation is almost perfect with global human population, as pointed out by Newell & Marcus thirty years ago. Their short paper was entitled “Carbon Dioxide and People”. The high correlation is with the sum total of human activities and remains almost perfect 30 years later. Volcanos have not had any effect.

      • Brett Keane permalink
        October 10, 2018 9:34 pm

        The satellites, Broadlands, tell a different story. Much to Nasa’s dismay. Brett

  9. October 9, 2018 3:27 pm

    More evidence of warmer periods of the past

  10. David permalink
    October 9, 2018 4:03 pm

    Oetzi was running for his life, I don’t think his case can be taken to mean anything as we don’t know why he was there.
    Saying that I do think these trees are interesting.

  11. Don J. Easterbrook permalink
    October 9, 2018 4:57 pm

    Dr. Schlucter is one the world’s most respected scientists. His research has always been supported by strong physical evidence and he is considered among the world’s most notable scientists.

    My own research strongly supports Dr. Schlucter’s conclusions and is documented in the Elsevier book “Evidence-based Climate Science.

  12. October 9, 2018 5:36 pm

    Reblogged this on Science is distorted by progressive philosophy.

  13. Coeur de Lion permalink
    October 9, 2018 6:26 pm

    Translating Livy when a schoolboy I noted that it was snowing during the battle of Lake Trasimene.

  14. October 9, 2018 10:26 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Schlüchter criticizes his critics for focusing on a time period which is “indeed too short.” His studies and analyses of a Rhone glacier area reveal that “the rock surface had [previously] been ice-free 5,800 of the last 10,000 years.”

    Such changes can occur very rapidly. His research team was stunned to find trunks of huge trees near the edge of Mont Miné Glacier which had all died in just a single year. They determined that time to be 8,200 years ago based upon oxygen isotopes in the Greenland ice which showed marked cooling.

  15. October 10, 2018 1:26 pm

    A lot of this is likely due to the sudden cooling known as the Younger Dryas which is still being argued as a cosmic hit or sudden release of fresh water from the Laurentide Ice Sheet formed lakes.

    However, what is now being found is that changes can be abrupt and they can be localized. For example, here is a quote from a well documented account in Wikipedia:

    “Vegetation in the central Appalachian Mountains east towards the Atlantic Ocean was dominated by spruce (Picea spp.) and tamarack (Larix laricina) boreal forests that later changed rapidly to temperate, more broad-leaf tree forest conditions at the end of the Younger Dryas period. Conversely, pollen and macrofossil evidence from near Lake Ontario indicates that cool, boreal forests persisted into the early Holocene. East of the Appalachians, in the Ohio River Valley and south to Florida rapid, no-analog vegetation responses seem to have been the result of rapid climate changes, but the area remained generally cool, with hardwood forest dominating. During the Younger Dryas, the Southeastern United States was warmer and wetter than the region had been during the Pleistocene because of trapped heat from the Caribbean within the North Atlantic Gyre caused by a weakened Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC).”

    I must note one glaring error in the above quote. The Ohio River Valley is WEST of the Appalachians. Whereas the Ohio River forms the western boundary of West Virginia, the Appalachians form much of the eastern boundary of West Virginia. I just did a change on the Wikipedia page from “East” to “West.” We will see if anyone howls. Geography is on my side.

    • richard verney permalink
      October 10, 2018 3:01 pm

      As I mentioned in my earlier post, there is presently no explanation for the temperature profile of the Holocene. The temperature profile of the Holocene, at least as far as the NH is concerned, can be seen from the Greenland ice cores’ His is the chart:

      It is claimed that CO2 during the Holocene, save for the modern post industrial era has remained all but constant not varying by more than about 10ppm. That being the case, there is no explanation for the temperature variations which appears to be up to about a 4 degC change in temperature,

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