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Are summers getting warmer up North?

The Story

"One thing we have found is that it appears the summers have been slightly warmer in the past 20 to 30 years. This is rather a small difference, but it seems to be significant," says Dr. Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith in this 1961 radio clip. The scientist is being interviewed about his recent research trip to Ellesmere Island in Canada's Arctic, where his team conducted radiation tests. This is one of the earliest clips in the CBC Archives mentioning a subject that will become a worldwide fixation four decades later. 

Medium: Radio
Program: Assignment
Broadcast Date: Sept. 21, 1961
Guests: Geoffrey Hattersley-Smith
Interviewer: Mildred MacDonald
Duration: 4:37

Did You know?

• Similar findings of a warming trend were mentioned in a 1960 CBC-TV report about a research team working in the Northwest Territories. Though it wasn't the focus of his report, announcer Norman Depoe said researchers "have found out that the ice is slowly melting," and said the ocean seemed to be warming up - "its coat of ice is now only about 60 per cent as thick as it was at the turn of the century."

• A 1961 Globe and Mail article forecasted slightly colder winters for the following four years, but said there would be "no real reversal of the slow warming trend of the past 60 years." The article also warned about potential hazards of increased warming: "British climatologist C.E.P. Brooks estimates an additional worldwide rise of only two degrees in average temperature would melt enough Arctic ice to send the sea flooding into much of New York and London as well as countless seaside towns."

• Later data showed that there was indeed a warming trend in the first part of the 20th century (up to 1945), but average world temperatures fell slightly between 1945 and the early 1970s.


Turning Up the Heat: Four Decades of Climate Change more