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Was There Less Arctic Ice in 1932?

Arctic Becomes an Island for the first time in human history“…really???

On Dec 5, 1932, The New York Times reports the “feat, accomplished for the first time” of circumnavigation of Franz Josef Land (actually, an Arctic archipelago). The same expedition (led by a Professor N.N. Subkov) was also described in March 1933 in the pages of Nature.

Arctic Map
Arctic Map

(Franz Josef Land is between the North Pole and Novaya Zemlya in the map above)

Notably, in the words of the NYT, that circumnavigation had been “heretofore regarded as impossible“. It actually took just 34 days, from Aug 17. It was warm enough for the “Eva” and “Liv” islands to be recognized asĀ one, joined by “a low stretch of land” and thereby renamed “Evaliv”.

Fast forward to 2008. Cryosphere Today shows two tongues of ice still clinging to Franz Josef Land as of Aug 31.

Prof. Subkov would not have been so lucky this time around.


ADDENDUM: The map of end-Aug 1979 clearly shows that at the time, Prof Subkov’s trip would not have been possible

Arctic Sea Ice 1979 08 30
Arctic Sea Ice 1979 08 30