A Plane That Landed On Greenland’s Surface In 1942 Was Found In 2018…Buried Under 104 Meters Of Ice

Is Greenland’s Ice Disappearing?

Image Source: AVweb, August 2018 

I. Emergency Landing In 1942

In July, 1942, a squadron of six U.S. P-38 fighter planes and two B-17 bombers embarked on a flight mission to England when they were suddenly bombarded by severe weather.

All 8 planes were consequently forced to emergency-land on the southeastern corner of the Greenland ice sheet, about 29 kilometers from the coastal edge.

While all 25 of the occupants were ultimately rescued, the 8 planes had to be abandoned atop the surface of Greenland as it existed in 1942.  Eventually the planes were buried beneath decades of ice and snow accumulation.

II. The first “Lost Squadron” plane rescued in 1992…buried under 268 feet of ice

Over the course of the next several decades, nostalgic interest in a search-and-recovery effort grew.  After all, the Lost Squadron planes were effectively new when they were abandoned and, if preserved well enough, they could potentially be restored to flying condition .

The first several attempts to locate the planes during the 1980s were unsuccessful, as the search crews had underestimated how deep beneath the surface the planes were after 40-plus years of ice sheet growth.  It ultimately took 12 tries before the first plane was spotted.

In 1988 the search crews were finally able to pinpoint the location of a P-38 that was ultimately named “Glacier Girl”.   She was buried 260 feet (79.2 meters) below the surface of the ice sheet as it existed in 1988.

By 1992 the 260-foot depth had grown to 268 feet (81.7 meters), and “Glacier Girl” was slowly (piece-by-piece) retrieved from the ice.

III. Another Lost Squadron plane was found in mid-2018…buried under 340 feet of ice

Accompanied by far less fanfare, another Lost Squadron P-38 was located in 2018 using drone technology.

This plane was found buried under another 72 feet – 21.9 meters – of ice relative to the 1992 recovery site for the first P-38 rescue (340 feet versus 268 feet).

IV. Potential implications and Greenland observations

Greenland’s interior ice is melting more slowly now than 95% of the last 9,000 years

Image Source: MacGregor et al., 2016 and AAAS press release

• An anthropogenic influence on Greenland’s ice melt is too small to be detected

Image Source: Haine, 2016

• The Greenland Ice Sheet surface area is larger now than 95% of the last 8,000 years

Image Source: Briner et al., 2016

• Greenland hasn’t warmed overall since the 1920s and 1930s

Image Source: Hanna et al., 2011
The annual whole [Greenland] ice sheet 1919–32 warming trend is 33% greater in magnitude than the 1994–2007 warming.”   (Box et al., 2009)

• Greenland ice melt has added just 1.5 cm to sea levels since 1900 – with no contribution during 1940-2000

Image Source: Fettweis et al ., 2017

• Greenland has been cooling during the last decade

“Here we quantify trends in satellite-derived land surface temperatures and modelled air temperatures, validated against observations, across the entire ice-free Greenland. … Warming trends observed from 1986–2016 across the ice-free Greenland is mainly related to warming in the 1990’s. The most recent and detailed trends based on MODIS (2001–2015) shows contrasting trends across Greenland, and if any general trend it is mostly a cooling. The MODIS dataset provides a unique detailed picture of spatiotemporally distributed changes during the last 15 years. … Figure 3 shows that on an annual basis, less than 36% of the ice-free Greenland has experienced a significant trend and, if any, a cooling is observed during the last 15 years (<0.15 °C change per year).” (Westergaard-Nielsen et al., 2018)

For the most recent 10 years (2005 to 2015), apart from the anomalously warm year of 2010, mean annual temperatures at the Summit exhibit a slightly decreasing trend in accordance with northern North Atlantic-wide cooling.  The Summit temperatures are well correlated with southwest coastal records (Ilulissat, Kangerlussuaq, Nuuk, and Qaqortoq).” (Kobashi et al., 2017)

• Greenland was much warmer than today throughout most of the last 10,000 years

Image Source: Kobashi et al., 2017

“Greenland temperature reached the Holocene thermal maximum with the warmest decades occurring during the Holocene (2.9 °C warmer than the recent decades) at 7960 ± 30 years B.P.”  (Kobashi et al., 2017)

Image Source: McFarlin et al., 2018

30 responses to “A Plane That Landed On Greenland’s Surface In 1942 Was Found In 2018…Buried Under 104 Meters Of Ice”

  1. Yonason

    From the nature geoscience link:

    Right after writing that…

    “The anthropogenic melt from the Greenland ice
    sheet is still too small to be detected(4,8)”

    they wrote…

    “And despite large changes in the freshwater budget
    of the Arctic, some of which are anthropogenic(10), there
    is no clear change…due to human climate forcing.”

    I don’t know what is in ref.10, but whatever it is I’d
    like to know where ELSE that “anthropogenic” fresh water
    could possibly have come from, if not Greenland.

    Perhaps in order to get published they had to cite a warmist
    paper, and appear to be puzzled by why they themselves
    couldn’t detect the dreaded human caused melting?

  2. Yonason
  3. ES

    The picture in the Avweb article is of a B-17, not a P-38.
    “On November 5, 1942, a US cargo plane slammed into the Greenland Ice Cap. Four days later, the B-17 assigned to the search-and-rescue mission became lost in a blinding storm and also crashed. Miraculously, all nine men on board survived, and the US military launched a daring rescue operation. But after picking up one man, the Grumman Duck amphibious plane flew into a severe storm and vanished.

    Frozen in Time tells the story of these crashes and the fate of the survivors, bringing vividly to life their battle to endure 148 days of the brutal Arctic winter, until an expedition headed by famed Arctic explorer Bernt Balchen brought them to safety. Mitchell Zuckoff takes the reader deep into the most hostile environment on earth, through hurricane-force winds, vicious blizzards, and subzero temperatures.

    Moving forward to today, he recounts the efforts of the Coast Guard and North South Polar Inc. – led by indefatigable dreamer Lou Sapienza – who worked for years to solve the mystery of the Duck’s last flight and recover the remains of its crew.”

    They are attempting to use the drone to find the duck aircraft but they are located in a crevice field. More at bottom of second lint:

    1. Yonason


      Not sure what you’re referring to, ES, but the photo at the top of the page from AVweb is a P-38. There’s no mistaking the dual bean fuselage, each with an engine, and the rear wing spanning them.

      Here’s a B-17 for comparison. It has a single fuselage and 4 engines on the forward wing.

      Also, here’s the AVweb article, and it is about the P-38 (same photo that Kenneth Richard posted above).

      Thanks for the other information. Very interesting. Dangerous places, the earth’s poles. Hard to keep from laughing at those who think a few extra fractions of a percent of CO2 are going to in any way tame them, or make them worse.

    2. The Indomitable Snowman, Ph.D.

      “The picture in the Avweb article is of a B-17, not a P-38.”

      Are you referring to the picture which is shown at the top of the post?

      The aircraft shown on the ice is definitely a P-38 – a single-seat fighter with twin engines and a distinctive twin rudder.


      The B-17 was a big four-engine heavy bomber but with a single rudder.


  4. ES

    A condensed version of Frozen in Time is here:

    1. Yonason

      Better photo of B-17.

      Sorry, but I missed the out-of-place propeller on the first one. It must be someone’s model. I was just trying to get a good view of it from above, and so hadn’t noticed that discrepancy at first, and I ignored that little voice saying “there’s something odd about this one”.

  5. Derg

    How is the planet warming when a plane that lands on ice in the 40s is subsequently buried in +200 feet of ice 60 years later?

  6. Fred Kuipers

    Can you do a comparison on the Antarctica ice sheet?

  7. joe

    the original article is disingenuous in using a picture of an aircraft sitting on the ice. Most people just look at the headline and a picture and get the impression that the ice melted revealing an aircraft, instead of 200′ of ice on top since the ’40’s.

    1. Yonason


      Looks like a photo of the plane shortly after it crashed, probably taken by the rescue party to document the event. Here’s a short news clip about the event.

    2. tom0mason

      At that joe is the problem.

      The vast majority of people pay more attention and imaginatively construct their own private fiction around a picture/story, rather than find out the actuality of the matter. That is why so many people are taken in by the cAGW (aka Climate Change™) nonsense. For them looking-up the last 500 to 1000 years of weather/climate events is just too much work.

      So many people are not very curious but are quite willing to quote the news media of “scientists say…”. They resign all their critical thinking to the authority of the news media outlets. They are unwilling to actually look at which scientists or what they actually say, whether or not it’s probable or aligns with their life experiences.

      1. Newminster

        And why would I waste my time on that sort of research? I’m a railway nerd, not a climate nerd. I leave it to the climate nerds to do that sort of stuff and assume they know what they are doing.

        It’s when I find they’ve been “bought” by the eco-nerds and they’re lying to me that I get p***ed off and start to do my own research (as best I can). And I know they’re lying because eco-nerds always lie. It’s what they do best. And they are the ones that are calling the shots because, as ever, they are all plausible and “sciencey” and those people who aren’t nerds and have no reason to think ill of them assume they are honest and on the side of truth.

        Which is why people skim-read articles like this and get it all ass-backwards.

        1. SebastianH

          And I know they’re lying because eco-nerds always lie. It’s what they do best. And they are the ones that are calling the shots because, as ever, they are all plausible and “sciencey” and those people who aren’t nerds and have no reason to think ill of them assume they are honest and on the side of truth.

          I wonder how the eco-nerds manage to make everything sound plausible when it is so obviously wrong to you that you think they are lying to you. On the other hand climate-nerds that you likely think are telling the truth don’t sound plausible at all to the rest of us. I’d say the problem with this kind of perception is entirely in your domain to fix.

          By – as tomOmason wrote – actually looking at the science, doing the research and not generally assuming that you are being lied to by anyone who says things are different than you imagine.

  8. tom0mason

    Also of note is that the ice melt in Greenland appears to be affected (if on controlled) by the Earth’s internal heat that enhances rapid ice flow and subglacial melting in Greenland.

    The press release from The University of Montana says
    Geothermal heat contributes to Greenland ice melt

    And as reported here https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-04/tuom-ghc040616.php

    The work was published in the April 2016 issue of Nature Geoscience. “The strength of this paper is that many different lines of reasoning about data lead to the same conclusion,” Johnson said. “I was able to demonstrate that the ice velocities observed by satellite are nearly impossible to explain without the geothermal anomaly discovered here. Glaciologists have long suspected the anomaly exists, but this work quantifies its location and degree and explains why it is there.”

    Deep under the Greenland Ice Sheet are regions of intense geothermal heat originating in the distant geological past. This heat causes Greenland’s ice to melt from below and flow rapidly. The new study identifies a west-to-east zone of northern Greenland having anomalously high heat.

    Johnson said this anomaly explains observations from radar and ice core drilling data of widespread melting beneath the ice sheet and increased sliding at the base of the ice that drives the rapid ice flow over a distance of 750 kilometers from the summit area of the Greenland ice sheet to the North Atlantic Ocean.

  9. MGJ

    I’m surprised nobody has tried to claim that the reason the plane was buried under so much ice is because the high temperatures made the ice all squishy so the plane sank into the ice.

    What high temperatures? I hear you say. Well there must have been, or the plane wouldn’t have sunk!
    (perfect circular logic).

  10. Lost WWII Plane Found Buried Under 340 Feet Of Ice…In Greenland – Menopausal Mother Nature

    […] Read rest at No Tricks Zone […]

  11. tom0mason

    Also of note is this report from 2013, https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-12/uou-gis121913.php and called Greenland ice stores liquid water year-round

    Dec. 22, 2013 – Researchers at the University of Utah have discovered a new aquifer in the Greenland Ice Sheet that holds liquid water all year long in the otherwise perpetually frozen winter landscape. The aquifer is extensive, covering 27,000 square miles.

    The reservoir is known as a “perennial firn aquifer” because water persists within the firn – layers of snow and ice that don’t melt for at least one season. Researchers believe it figures significantly in understanding the contribution of snowmelt and ice melt to rising sea levels.

    [my bold]

    So in any one year the measured outflow of water from Greenland may have little to do with the perceived snow and ice melt.

  12. tom0mason

    Most of Greenland ice melted to bedrock in recent geologic past, says study

    Ice comes and goes….

    The study is based on perhaps earth’s rarest geologic sample: the only bit of bedrock yet retrieved from the ice sheet’s base, more than two decades ago. The authors say that chemical isotopes in it indicate that the surface was exposed to open sky for at least 280,000 years over the last 1.4 million years. The reason would have been natural, probably tied to cyclic natural climate changes that have caused ice ages to wax and wane. The scientists say that in the most conservative interpretation, there might have been only one ice-free period that ended 1.1 million years ago. But, more likely, they say, the ice vanished multiple times for shorter periods closer to the present. Greenland contains about 684,000 cubic miles of ice–enough to raise global sea levels about 24 feet if it were to melt completely.

    “Unfortunately, this makes the Greenland ice sheet look highly unstable,” said lead author Joerg Schaefer, a paleoclimatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “If we lost it in periods of natural forcing, we may lose it again.”

    1. Yonason

      “Greenland melting has nothing to do with anthropogenic CO2” – Reality

      “Oh, no! Our cause is lost.” – warmists

      ““If we lost [Greenland ice] in periods of natural forcing, we may lose it again.” – paleoclimatologist

      “Now all we have to do is convince people they have to pay us to ‘do something’ about it, and our cause is saved. YAY!” – warmists

      Because you know they will never give up. There will always be a crisis, real or imagined, that the UN con artists will try to use to their advantage at our expense.

  13. tom0mason

    So the Arctic region has been warming up, eh.
    Now that’s happened before has it not…

    As reported HERE

    “Scientists have confirmed the fact that the Arctic regions around Spitzbergen are warming up at the rate of approximately one degree in every two years.
    Since 1910, when observations first started in those regions, the cumulative rise of winter temperature has amounted to nearly 16 degrees.”


    This report HERE

    Stockhold, Sweden, Dec 16 —
    All the glaciers in Eastern Greenland are rapidly melting, declared Prof. Hans Ahlamann, … his recent expedition to the Arctic sub-continent.
    “Everything points to the fact that the climate in the region has been growing warmer during recent years” the professor said.
    “It may without exaggeration be said that the glaciers, like those in Norway, face the possibility of catastrophic collapse.”

  14. A Plane That Landed On Greenland’s Surface In 1942 Was Found In 2018…Buried Under 104 Meters Of Ice – CO2 is Life

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