“Expert Says Arctic Ocean Will Soon Be an Open Sea; Catastrophic Shifts in Climate Feared if Change Occurs“. Yes, it’s 1969.
What else has changed?
Well, one thing is that at the time, Walter Sullivan of the New York Times could still afford to write “Other Specialists See No Thinning of Polar Ice Cap” in mid-size letters near the title. As for the rest:
- Arctic sea ice cover is “vulnerable“
- An ice-free Arctic Ocean is presented as harbinger of European “deserts” with “great ice sheets…farther north“
- “Focal point” in the research is “the use of giant computers to simulate the world’s weather patterns“
- Climatologists keep following the latest trends, wildly extrapolating them in the future. For example, there is a Soviet-American consensus among specialists around prediction of “continued cooling in step with an expected decline in sunspot activity through the nineteen-eighties“, after a “climate cooling during the last decade or two“. Likewise, “until recently there was a suspicion that the warming trend of the century preceding 1940 was a by-product of the industrial revolution” (yes, CO2 emissions)
However, there are other interesting details:
- Sullivan presents as common knowledge ideas such as “progressive shrinkage of the Arctic pack ice over the last century“
- “About one quarter of the Arctic pack melts each summer“…that would be very peculiar, since according to Cryosphere Today even in 1979 it was more like two thirds
- Nortber Untersteiner is interviewed about a report of his in Naval Research Reviews showing that “the climatic trend in the Arctic has turned toward cooling“
- There is a mention of a 1893 Fridtjof Nansen report of “43 feet thick” Arctic pack, followed by others “indicating a steady thinning of the pack that, the data suggest, could vanish by 1970 or sooner“. These conclusions are not supported by “under-ice journeys of American nuclear submarines” (why don’t they use submarines nowadays, instead of clowning around for Catlin?)
Whilst reading recommended material by “Climate Crocks”‘ Peter Sinclair about the “record melt” SEEN in Greenland in 2010 (my main curiosity being collecting evidence that somebody somewhere has actually SEEN the “record melt“, rather than just modeled about it), I have found this little gem at the end of a 1939 NYT article (titled, needless to say, “True Winters Are Not What They Used To Be“):
Whether sleigh-bells will make winter-music for our grandchildren, let no man dare to forecast
Ever the green campaigner, Granddad Jim will be happy to know he has recycled his concerns from a past generation’s.
Yes it’s another old New York Times article, this time from July 12, 1953. Stories of unusual weather, retreating ice caps, extreme events (at the time it was tornadoes). Yada yada yada.
Couple of interesting details. Journalist Leonard Engel provides a list of past attributions to human activities:
Unusual weather inevitably stirs up speculation as to the cause, in part, no doubt, because we like to talk about the weather anyway. And prominent event coincident with the exceptional weather is apt to be blamed. Heavy rains during World War I were popularly attributed to artillery bombardments in France. During the Twenties and Thirties it was fashionably to lay abnormal weather (along with other odd occurrences) to changes in the sunspot cycle. Today the popular villains of freak weather are atom-bomb tests and the activities of rainmakers.
Engel mentions also greenhouse gases and in particular the concentration of CO2
In 1850 the air contained somewhat less than thirty parts of carbon dioxide per 1,000 parts of air. In the hundred years since, industrialized, urbanized man has poured unprecedented quantities of carbon dioxide out of home and factory chimneys [...] As a result, there are now thirty-three parts of the gas per 1,000 in the atmosphere instead of thirty.
Assuming Engel was just victim of some conversion mistake, and he meant 330ppm, it is curious to note that the figure is somewhat off Keeling’s original 1955 value of 310ppm.