Profound Implications of a Completely Salt-Free Arctic Ocean as Recently as 60,000 Years Ago

Profound Implications of a Completely Salt-Free Arctic Ocean as recently as 60,000 Years Ago // Feb 28, 2021

A ground-breaking new finding in climate recently just occurred, and it seems blindingly obvious, in retrospect. In fact I became very close to figuring this out all by myself, many years ago.

During extremely cold, long duration ice ages, at two different periods in the last 150,000 years; namely (a) 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, and (b) 130,000 to 150,000 years ago; the entire Arctic Ocean was fresh liquid water, entombed underneath a thick ice layer, and separated from the Pacific Ocean by land, and from the Atlantic Ocean by a combination of land and grounded ice shelves, with only small passages where fresh water would exit, keeping salt water from entering. How was this possible?

During these exceptionally cold, long duration cold periods there was so much water stored within the glacial ice that global sea levels were lower by 130 meters (430 ft). With sea levels this low, the Bering Strait sea floor became dry land, as well as all the gaps within the Canadian Archipelago and the Nares Strait. There was no water channel connection to the Pacific Ocean at all.

  • On the Atlantic Ocean side of the Arctic, the ocean passages become greatly reduced by the lower sea level exposing the continental shelves.
  • Very thick ice sheets on Greenland and Europe created extensive ice shelves on the coastlines that extended far out into the Arctic Ocean, and these ice shelves, up to 900 meters thick (90 meters above sea level, 810 meters below sea level) almost completely blocked off the remaining ocean passages between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, between Greenland and northern Scotland.


Lots of fresh water still entered the Arctic Ocean, from meltwater, northern rivers, rainfall, and snow melt. Therefore, over time freshwater built up in the Arctic Ocean basin, floating above and eventually forcing out the remaining salt water near the ocean floor.

  • Clearly, this led to an entirely fresh Arctic Ocean.

When these ice ages ended due to Milankovitch Cycle changes in Earth’s orbit around the Sun, and the Earth started warming, the sea level rose again and the ice shelves thinned, releasing huge amounts of fresh water back into the Atlantic Ocean and then the Pacific, causing enormous wrenching temperature swings and abrupt climate oscillations until the climate system again reached stability.

  • The Arctic Ocean once again became a salty ocean.


One of my subsequent videos goes through the peer reviewed paper [1] on this with a fine toothed comb…

Ref:  [1]  The Arctic Ocean was covered by a shelf ice and filled with freshwater, February 3, 2021. Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research:

The Arctic Ocean was covered by up to 900 m thick shelf ice and was filled entirely with freshwater at least twice in the last 150,000 years. This surprising finding is the result of long-term research. With a detailed analysis of the composition of marine deposits, the scientists could demonstrate that the Arctic Ocean as well as the Nordic Seas did not contain sea-salt in at least two glacial periods.

‘Instead, these oceans were filled with large amounts of freshwater under a thick ice shield. This water could then be released into the North Atlantic in very short periods of time. Such sudden freshwater inputs could explain rapid climate oscillations for which no satisfying explanation had been previously found.

Ref 2:, similar link.

Ref 3:  Thorium-230.
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Beckwith Updates and Lead-in to an Amazingly Awesome New Finding on a Completely Fresh Water Arctic // Feb 27, 2021

I just filmed a whole bunch of videos on the Arctic.

This video is kind of an overall series introduction, where I discuss some personal stuff in my life, the awesome books that I am reading, and then the Arctic. Basically I am just shooting the breeze, but I think you will find some interesting nuggets and hints on an enormously significant new finding. Namely, from about 60,000 to 70,000 years ago, and from 130,000 to 150,000 years ago, the Arctic Ocean basin was composed of completely fresh water, with the frozen ice on the surface.

How is this possible. Stay tuned; lots of videos to follow!!

Ref: Stephan King, Sleeping Beauties, The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must, Bill Gates, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, Our Final Warning: Six Degrees of Climate Emergency,

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Please consider donating to support my work. I put a lot of time and effort into researching, studying and producing my videos so that you can learn how quickly our world is changing. Donating does not need a PayPal account, but simply a credit card. Please click here.
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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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