Arctic Message in a Bottle Predicted Climate Change in 1959 (Video)
Arctic researchers have discovered the proverbial message in a bottle, only this message from 1959 predicts climate change from a past where the idea was unimaginable. The message was found in a sample bottle by researchers exploring Ward Hunt Island in Canada. The bottle was found among rocks in a remote location that is almost 500 miles from the nearest town, where the average temperature measures approximately zero degrees Fahrenheit.
The message inside of the bottle is written in pencil and includes instructions for the person ultimately finding the bottle. Also written on the note were the names and addresses of those who wrote the message. The names belonged to well-known polar researchers Albert Crary and Paul Walker. The men were in arctic north Canada studying future movement or melt of a large ice sheet, and built two rock piles that would help in the measurement process. The bottle was discovered in one of the rock formations they built.
The message inside the bottle instructs the discoverers to measure between the edge of an ice shelf and a rock formation, both located nearby. The note directs the measurement to be retaken and the resulting information to be mailed to Walker’s address.
Sadly, Walker never received the Arctic climate change information he predicted from the message in a bottle left in 1959. He was airlifted to a hospital shortly after due to a massive stroke, which left him paralyzed and ultimately took his life on Nov. 11, 1959. Although just 25, Walker had gained renown as an explorer and glaciologist, having taken part in expeditions near both the North and South Poles.
Walker’s partner, Crary, boasted an impressive resume of his own. Prior to his expedition with Walker in 1959, he successfully trekked to the North Pole seven years. In 1961, he led his own mission to the South Pole.
The note was discovered by pure accident by a team of scientists that included the director of the Center for Northern Studies at Laval University in Quebec City, Warwick F. Vincent. Vincent and his fellow researcher, Denis Sarrazin, landed in the location after straying from their main route while heading back to their camp, which they did because they thought that the area was a good spot for the collection of microbes. While Vincent was busy collecting samples, Sarrazin walked around until he found the pile of rocks near the edge of the glacier. After Vincent and Sarrazin took the rock pile apart, they discovered the bottle with the prophetic message inside.
The team followed the instructions on the note and were surprised to discover that the distance between the rock and the ice shelf had increased by 200 feet since the note’s date in 1959. Not only that, but the distance between the two rock piles had increased as well.
The present team of researchers added their own message and measurements to the bottle and placed it back where it had been found. Vincent expressed amazement that Walker had been impelled to leave the bottle where he did, “because in the 50’s, it was unthinkable that this would melt.” Unthinkable, it would seem, to all but Walker, who in 1959 must have had some inkling of the Arctic climate change he predicted by requesting the data via a message in a bottle from future researchers.
By Jennifer Pfalz