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BBC Wants Iceland To Freeze Again

February 1, 2021

By Paul Homewood


Today’s second climate scare story from the BBC. (BTW- Looks like they’ve added another Environmental Reporter to their already bloated collection!)



Iceland’s Skaftafellsjokull is a spur from the nation’s Vatnajokull ice cap, which is Europe’s largest glacier.

In 1989, photographer Colin Baxter visited the glacier during a family holiday and took a picture of the frozen landscape.

Colin’s son, Dr Kieran Baxter, returned to the exact location 30 years later.


It had dramatically retreated, with scientists estimating it had shrunk by about 400 square kilometres, which is about the size of the Isle of Wight, as a result of climate change.

"I grew up visiting these amazing places and inherited an understanding of the quiet power of these landscapes," said Dr Kieran Baxter, a lecturer at the University of Dundee.

"It is personally devastating to see them change so drastically in the past few decades.

"On surface appearances, the extent of the climate crisis often remains largely invisible but here we can see clearly the gravity of the situation that is affecting the entire globe," Dr Baxter observed.

Globally, the world’s glaciers are considered to be among the most visual indicators of how the world’s climate is warming.



Dr Baxter is a lecturer in Communication Design, whatever that is. But he obviously does not know the first thing about glaciers or Icelandic history:



If he did, he might have known glaciers in Iceland used to be much smaller than now just a few thousand years ago. So much so that 3000 years ago forests used grow where glaciers now lie.

Iceland was still heavily forested in the Middle Ages when the Vikings arrived:




Following the Viking arrival, glaciers in Iceland reached their maximum extent since the Ice Age during the Little Ice Age ending in the 19thC:


The brutally cold climate of the Little Ice Age was a disaster for the inhabitants of Iceland, as HH Lamb relates:

In Iceland the old Norse society and its economy suffered a severe decline which set in first about AD 1200 and could be said to have continued over almost six centuries. The population of the country fell from about 77500, as indicated by the tax records in 1095, to around 72000 in 1311. By 1703 it was nearly down to 50000, and after some severe years of ice and volcanic eruptions in the 1780’s it was only about 38000. The people’s average stature also seems to have declined, much as in Greenland, from 5ft 8in to 5ft 6in from the 10th to the 18thC.

It is clear from the surviving records that years when the Arctic sea ice was close to the Iceland coast for long months (usually between January and August) played a big part in this. In such years, the spring and summer were so cold that there was little hay and thousands of sheep died. The shellfish of the seashore were also destroyed by the ice. Gradually all attempts at grain growing were given up. The glaciers were advancing.

The times of most ice and coldest climate in Iceland seem to have started suddenly in 1197-8 and 1203, and reached culminating phases around 1300, from about 1580 to 1700, especially the 1690’s, and again in the late 18th and 19thC.

HH Lamb: Climate, History and the Modern World – page 189

And temperatures in Iceland are no higher now than they were in the 1930s and 40s:


Fortunately for the Icelanders, their climate has returned to its pre Little ice Age norm. Apparently Dr Baxter, from the comfort of his home in Dundee, finds this “devastating”.

  1. Broadlands permalink
    February 1, 2021 6:27 pm

    Yet another scare attack in an effort to get the world to take “bold action” to save the planet. But what action can possibly be taken that will turn the climate around, overcome the effects of natural variability. Restore the climate to what it was in 1987 when CO2 was 350 ppm? There is none, no technology that can make a difference.

    “For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.”. – Richard Feynman

    • bobn permalink
      February 1, 2021 11:46 pm

      If the world has warmed (naturally) since 1987 then that is a good thing for humanity and the planet. It’s criminal to wish for a colder world where more of nature will die.

  2. February 1, 2021 6:30 pm

    Advance and retreat of glaciers is known to be cyclical. Dead trees are sometimes revealed during the retreats. What’s the problem?

  3. Mack permalink
    February 1, 2021 6:43 pm

    Kinver seems to have joined the Beeb after a stint as a researcher for Jonathon Porrit’s Green Futures magazine, following a degree in Broadcasting Studies. Say no more!

  4. MikeHig permalink
    February 1, 2021 6:55 pm

    It would be interesting to send Dr Baxter a link to this post: it might be some consolation that it’s a cyclical, natural process.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 1, 2021 7:02 pm

    Perhaps the BBC would prefer colder weather, more sea ice, so Polar Bears can raid again, so that fishing and port deliveries become difficult, so that livestock die and perhaps people starve (less likely these days thanks to fossil fuels and planes).

    One Niall Dollard has listed the varying sea ice conditions (i.e. warmer/colder times) at the link below that includes a pdf to some historic ice charts.

    The population of Iceland actually fears the cooler times, they do not mourn them like the people-hating BBC sadists.

    “A combination of certain circumstances causes the long dreaded “hafis” which meant very cold winters and harsh living in earlier centuries. Sometimes loss of livestock and local starvation followed, though rarely.”

    And of course apparent glacier advance and retreat is not just a simple reflection of current temperatures but variations in precipitation from perhaps hundreds of years ago.

    A slightly warmer world is better for human survival/flourishing/comfort – but it won’t last for ever.

  6. Ed Bo permalink
    February 1, 2021 7:06 pm

    We obviously must return to the times when advancing glaciers wiped out whole villages in the Alps and Iceland!

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 1, 2021 7:30 pm

    News January 2041:

    “BBC climate analysts celebrate successful Bill Gates Institute climate fix.”

  8. 3x2 permalink
    February 1, 2021 7:34 pm

    I have two problems with the BBC ‘piece’ …

    (1) We know that the raw, non homogenised, weather station data would tend to indicate that Iceland was just as warm as now back in the (19) 20/30/40 period. Part of a cycle? I think possibly. Walt Meier of NSIDC felt that it might not be. I respect his POV.

    (2) Why on earth would one wish for Ice? There is good reason that most of life on Earth is to be found at The Equator. Life in a freezer is no fun.

  9. Jack Broughton permalink
    February 1, 2021 7:46 pm

    The population of Iceland correlates better with global CO2 than with temperature as do most countries!

    Increased from 50,000 in 1800 to 350,000 now. Real growth follows end of LIA, but the growth rate is more or less the same as the UK, for the same reasons.

  10. Jordan permalink
    February 1, 2021 8:10 pm

    Slightly off topic (sorry), but a wonderful video from BBC Scotland last week linked below. A small inlet on Shetland called Voe was quite well covered in sea ice. The drone footage shows an ice breaker helping a fishing vessel get out to sea.

    • 3x2 permalink
      February 1, 2021 8:29 pm

      Not surprised at all. See my post upstream.

      Was asking Walt Meier, many moons ago (on WUWT) if the warming and freezing ‘up North’ was part of a cycle. He seemed to think that it could be but didn’t think so this time. I wasn’t convinced.

      The very last thing we need is a decades long ‘cold snap’. Then again that’s ‘climate change’ for you. All things to all men. Ice in Scotland or ice in Iceland … All ‘climate change’ …

    • LordeLate permalink
      February 1, 2021 8:29 pm

      lovley clip but one wonders what the warmists made of it?

      • Jordan permalink
        February 2, 2021 6:41 pm

        LordeLate – easy. “Mein Klima” says this is “weather”. Whereas (say) a peat fire on Shetland would be “climate”.

  11. Jackington permalink
    February 1, 2021 8:39 pm

    I can’t relate the 2 pictures; just 2 snaps of the dreary Icelandic landscape. What is needed is more sunshine to brighten the place up a bit.

  12. Harry Passfield permalink
    February 1, 2021 8:50 pm

    A rough estimation of the IOW (440 km2) v Iceland (103,000 km2) (couldn’t post the pic I’d built) but I figure the IOW is about the same size – or slightly larger – as the ‘o’ in Skaftafellsjokull on the map above (Iceland being 234 times larger).

  13. NeilC permalink
    February 2, 2021 2:42 am

    The BBC not having one single science correspondent with a scientific education proves, they are truly a propaganda outfit, not worth watching or listening to. Which may I add I haven’t for 5 years now.

  14. Phoenix44 permalink
    February 2, 2021 9:06 am

    Once again no context. What happened before his 30 years? Did it grow after 1935 having shrunk before then having grown before that? Maybe it’s been shrinking since the Ice Age.

    This is pure childish narcissism – what I saw when I was a child is how the world ought to be. He doesn’t consider that at the point hecm first saw it it was changing naturally anyway

    • February 2, 2021 10:52 am

      Of course. Our perceptions of timescales and changes are biassed towards our own lifespans, or even worse, fractions of our lifespans. We see vox pops after mild floods with residents saying things like “I’ve been here ten years, and I’ve never seen it this bad.”

      Whenever humans measure things twice and find change, we always find threat in that change. Whether glaciers are moving forwards or moving backwards, it will still be frightening to some of us, alas.

  15. February 2, 2021 10:47 am

    “Dr Kieran Baxter, a lecturer at the University of Dundee” – seems a slightly cunning way of establishing the witness’s authority while omitting the subject of his expertise (i.e. nothing to do with glaciers).

  16. February 2, 2021 11:20 am



  17. Alan Fields permalink
    February 3, 2021 8:10 am

    Bluster, another learned professor who cannot read

  18. Adam Gallon permalink
    February 3, 2021 9:43 am
    “University of Bristol historians have rediscovered incredible first-hand accounts of several freak weather events which rocked the UK’s western region hundreds of years ago. These including devastating floods, heavy snowfalls and frosts so severe they resulted in rivers frozen for months on end.”
    That mythical “Little Ice Age” pops up again.

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