Study debunks ‘global cooling’ concern of ’70s

Just a quick post, since I’m at work, to note our appearence in USA today. This is an upcoming BAMS paper, but clearly making USA today is far more important 🙂

It grew from but Tom and John finally did what I never managed to do, which was to put it into coherent paragraphs with a storyline.

Mind you, I’m not sure its up there with As climate change warms the nation, giant Burmese pythons could colonize one-third of the USA….

[Update: is nice]

44 thoughts on “Study debunks ‘global cooling’ concern of ’70s”

  1. I can’t wait to see this paper. I think I mildly disagree with it.

    It is absolutely true that there was not a consensus that we were about to plunge into the ice age, and it is true that Global Warming Deniers are wrong to say that science could never make up its mind (and the insidious though technically correct use of the term “climate change” instead of “global warming” is exactly the political crap you presumably claim it is) and so on.

    But cooling was in fact a concern. I was there, and I remember it. Most reasonable models strongly suggested warming was more of a concern than cooling.

    There is one area of literature and research that clearly documents the global cooling concern. After I’ve seen your paper, I’ll be very excited to write about this!

    [Thanks for your comment. It nice to meet a reasonned skeptic (in the right sense of the word) for once. If you can’t find the paper, I can send you a copy. Meanwhile, which is your “one area”? -W]


  2. It sounds like the argument is not that there was no concern, only that the concern was fueled by the media and immediate observations of the general public, despite the majority of scientific opinion running in opposition.


  3. Good old Pat Michaels, always there to “put things in the proper context.” Also, it’s a bit of a stretch to describe the ’70s as “unusually cold.” It’s always unusually cold somewhere.

    I think it’s safe to say that any swings in the climate are reason for concern, regardless of their cause. In one of the famous “Science News” articles, Murray Mitchell expresses concern over how long the cooling trend would last, even though he believed that warming would dominate absent huge increases in aerosols.

    In any case, I’m still hoping for input into the section of my presentation covering this subject:
    (Quicktime 7+ required)

    [The bad news is, my reaction was: “I don’t want to sit through this at your pace, I’d rather read it at mine”. Webpages not quicktime movies -W]


  4. CCE, I think it’s more representative of the journalists that they even bothered looking for skeptics to report a ‘balanced’ reply on this. (Hell, I’d be impressed if they ever hunted down a skeptical response from someone other than the usual suspects — or if Joe Public finally connects the dots and goes “wait, it’s always the same dozen guys speaking out against all these studies…”). And the US claims the media has a liberal bias.

    (If I had something to add to your presentations, I’d suggest it, but as it stands I like them a lot. Just the sarcastic tone rubs me the wrong way — no one ever changed their mind because they were being attacked, meaning no skeptic will listen through some of your (excellent) summaries.)

    William, I can’t wait to read this study myself. I’ve been involved in one too many arguments with people who refuse to look past Rasool & Schneider when this comes up. (The ironic part is, after they cite R&S, most of them usually go on to deny any human impact on climate altogether, speaking out against regulation, as if they never read what they’re citing or what eventually stopped the aerosol rise.)


  5. Brian,

    That’s good advice. I’m going to make another pass at it to correct remaining mistakes, and I will try to remove the most agregious examples of sarcasm. My intent is not necessarily to convince the skeptics themselves, but to summarize most of the arguments made by the skeptics, so that people on the fence, or people who are generally supportive of the AGW side are familiar with those arguments.


  6. Brian D –

    I’m normally a critic of the “false balance” approach of getting a quote from a random skeptic to balance a story. But in this case, it was reasonable, as Michaels is not a random skeptic, but rather is one of the people called out in the paper for repeating the myth.


  7. John Fleck:

    Thank you. Had I known that Michaels had been singled out, I wouldn’t have raised it here. (As I implied above, I don’t have access to the full paper yet; just the news report linked above which doesn’t say anything about him being contested.)


  8. The local stoat population will want to know that the following reader comment appeared under the python story:

    “What a joke. If it gets below 50 degrees for any length of time they’re dead. That eliminates 75 % of the area they’re talking about. And the people screaming about “global warming” are the same idiots that were screaming ” a new ice age” 30 years ago. It will start to cool again if it hasn’t already,(no increase or decrease has been measured in 10 years) and they’ll start that all over again.”

    Thus does the Great Circle continue to turn on itself.


  9. William,

    Thanks for the input. It is a presentation after all, and there are plenty of web pages on all of these subjects. This can be uploaded to Google Video, and I intend to make all of these materials online, including the powerpoint itself (minus the narration). I’m primarily looking for factual errors, or confusing, or misleading lines of thought. If something is overly redundant (or pointless) I can remove it or shorten it.

    Also, is this the version of your paper that will be published in BAMS?

    Click to access 131047.pdf

    I will use your two graphs, unless you object.

    [Yep. Different things for different people. The preprint is fairly similar to the BAMS one. You’re welcome to use the graphs, informally. Formally they are probably copyright someone, but I can’t see any of us objecting -W]


  10. cce, you could make a Flash version of it with a speed setting for the increment of each slide. There then could be an option to turn narration on and off. Obviously this would require the use of a Flash programmer which I realise may be s show stopper.


  11. Since there are many current scientists who insist there is an aerosol-caused global cooling which is masking the CO2-induced warming, it means that exactly the same over-hype, based on exactly the same biased guesswork, is still with us now. I don’t believe I read anywhere that skeptics said the scientific consensus was that an ice-age was coming, except in the sense that there is definitely one coming in the fullness of time. However it is 100% clear that the public, via the media, were deliberately misled and it’s utterly ridiculous to suggest (as both Schneider and yourself have done) that they should have looked at the original papers for balance. The media though are not completely to blame – they themselves were being misled by over-eager scientists who sent out press releases with no mention of the caveats of the original papers and who gave interviews without mentioning the huge uncertainties involved. It happened then and it’s still happening now much more. Do I really need to point out the many current examples? Such fame-seeking scientists are NOT so innocent as you like to pretend. I can respect someone being wrong and admitting it, but someone who is wrong, then blames others for not reading the weasel-worded, small print tucked away in an obscure journal is fooling himself and deserves only derision.


  12. One day perhaps you guys will realize that if you made a point of highlighting the uncertainties in all of this analysis, rather than the current attitude of defending the indefensible and over-hyping dodgy statistics and computer models, then the consensus would still stand but the critics would have nothing to criticize. After all, most of the world wants to be green – they just can’t afford the upfront costs. Mandating cuts is a dead duck, but so what? The only policy really required is to make the currently available money-saving, green alternatives, such as geothermal energy, LED light bulbs etc, affordable and everyone will naturally play along. Cheaper fuel bills – you’d be daft not to!


  13. “It’s still with us now” because it is true, aerosols (on balance) do cause cooling. The debate in the ’70s was which influence would dominate.

    If pro-warming papers outnumbered pro-cooling papers 6:1 in the ’70s, and the media focussed on the pro-cooling papers, then the media was wrong to focus on the pro-cooling papers.

    Today, the pro-warming papers outnumber “skeptical” papers by at least 100:1, and yet people are still treated to the idea that the jury is still out. The jury is not out. The consensus reports are loaded to the gills with uncertainty. But all of that uncertainty does not present a case that somehow, we are not responsible for most of the warming. The best case scenario is not good, and the worst case scenario is very bad. Skeptics would like us to believe we don’t know anything (“biased guesswork!”), and we shouldn’t do anything until every facet has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.


  14. Two comments from JamesG and, from what I can gather, a large contradiction between the two. But perhaps I’m missing something.

    In the first we have:

    I can respect someone being wrong and admitting it, but someone who is wrong, then blames others for not reading the weasel-worded, small print tucked away in an obscure journal is fooling himself and deserves only derision.

    And then in the second we have:

    One day perhaps you guys will realize that if you made a point of highlighting the uncertainties in all of this analysis, rather than the current attitude of defending the indefensible and over-hyping dodgy statistics and computer models, then the consensus would still stand but the critics would have nothing to criticize.

    Scientific papers, and even the IPCC reports which collate that previously peer-reviewed literature, will invariably see scientists in writing couch everything in anything but certainty. Yes, that “weasel-worded, small print tucked away in an obscure journal” about assumptions, observational errors and ranges on trends, etc. is the very stuff in your second comment you want more of!

    And but one readily available example that I don’t have to go searching for concerns the uncertainties on the climate sensitivity issue to a doubling of CO2, which is invariably reported as 1.5-4.5°C, with a best estimate of 3°C. How much uncertainty do you want? Is a range of +/-50% on the best estimate too weasel-worded or not weasel-worded enough?

    It is a pipe dream to think that by highlighting the uncertainties that sceptics (for that is what you clearly refer to) will have nothing to criticise. It is precisely because of uncertainties that the critics (and I do mean critics) have something to criticise. Which is as it should be.


  15. P Lewis: There was no contradiction. Highlighting uncertainties means not ignoring them while preparing your alarmist press release, talking to the press or making speeches. It means pointing out where you might be wrong so that people are not given a false impression of the state of the science. The caveats are all there both in the original papers and in the IPCC reports but the press releases and policy summaries change possibilities to probabilities and makes uncertainties into certainties. Even an IPCC description of “very unlikely” morphed into “may” for the BBC. I wasn’t talking about climate sensitivity but about the low certainty we actually have about possible droughts, famines, floods, extinctions, storms, gulf-stream shifts etc. versus the impression given to the media and the public. This is pure alarmism which is often criticized even by other climate scientists (even William sometimes) – the trouble is that if the issue is not alarming the journalists ignore any rebuttal, and even ignore legitimate papers which debunk the alarm – such as the recent aerosol and hurricane papers which got zero press. You may think such alarmism has achieved something but I don’t see what: It seems to me it just confuses and divides people.

    cce: You cannot know that aerosols cause overall cooling if the aerosol experts don’t even know – and they certainly don’t. Of course you got that idea from some over-zealous scientists who aren’t aerosol experts – which was exactly my point. You just demonstrated more “biased guesswork”. The best case scenario is 1.1 degrees I believe, and past predictions seem to have always followed or been under the best-case scenario. But anyway, most, if not all, skeptics are very careful to stress that we should be funding renewable energies and we should pollute the planet less. All they are against are attempts to put excess burdens on business because, like it or not, business funds everything we do and pays for all the science. It is possible to be green and clean without collectively cutting our throats.


  16. AR4 gives radiative forcing since 1750 of -0.5 watts per square meter (-0.9 to -0.1) for the direct effect of aerosols, and -0.7 watts per square meter (-1.8 to -0.3) for the cloud albedo effect. High uncertainties for sure, but all negative.

    I have now stated the conclusions of experts and quantified the uncertainty.


  17. cce: Well done but out of date. See this article from Nature: “The even darker side of brown clouds”
    So aerosols are warming us after all. Or are they?

    I just got a copy of the latest National Geographic and read this beautiful example of what I mean:
    “Wild Weather
    ..In the span of a year there’s been …90 degree heat in Moscow, snow blanketing much of temperate South Africa, hurricane-force winds in Europe, and a vast patchwork of record droughts and floods. Climate modelers had predicted an uptick in intense weather as a response to global warming but could not forecast exactly where and when anomalies would hit, explains Jay Livermore, chief of climate modeling at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. What’s next? Likely more of the same, says researcher Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. “But it will move around: Droughts will move, flooding will move, where storms hit will change. But they will occur.”

    Now what’s wrong here?
    a) If skeptics use 8-years of apparent temperature stability they are told 8 years isn’t long enough to judge climate but for some people even one year seems long enough.
    b) Last year started with an el niño and ended with a la niña which everyone knows has caused the climate chaos. If these guys don’t know then they should be sacked. But of course they DO know!
    c) No model has ever predicted short-term variability in weather because it isn’t possible. So that’s a downright lie. Of course many scientists have said global warming will cause climate chaos but that is not backed by statistics, models or even theory. It is more biased guesswork.
    d) Three out of the four global temperature charts say last year was cooler than the year before so warming couldn’t have caused last years events by any standard.
    e) The last quote by Trenberth effectively says whatever we get it’ll be caused by global warming. But the only studies which showed a statistical uptick in storms have said there was about 5% increase in frequency from AGW. This study was later contradicted but nevertheless it still meant that only every twentieth storm could have arisen from AGW – Not every single storm event!

    So what do you warmers call the above interview with climate scientists? Deliberate disinformation? Plain dishonesty? It’s clearly way beyond just raising the alarm isn’t it? We need honest scientists, not con merchants!


  18. 1) We’ve known for a long time that aerosols both cool and warm, but that the net effect is one of cooling. It is one of the reasons for the large uncertainty. The idea that no one knew this until after AR4 is a bit silly.
    2) Likewise, we’ve known that global warming will cause more extreme weather. The distribution of temperatures will change as the frequency is shifted warmer and squashed. Precipitation will occur less often but more severe when it does happen due to the increased moisture in the atmosphere. They are using 2007 as an example, not as proof.


  19. Why do not people emphasize ocean pH more? I should think this would be far more stable than temperature, for example. The trend ought to be as clear as the trend in atmospheric CO2.

    Is this because there is not a sufficiently long and reliable record?

    [I’m not sure… try Tamino perhaps. *Global* measurements would be tricky, to get the coverage… -W]


  20. David, all it really tells you is that CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.

    JamesG, unsurprisingly a fair amount of work has been done on weather extremes. You should try reviewing the literature before spouting off about it. I advise looking at the AR4 WG1 full report and then following the specific references via Google Scholar.


  21. David, I haven’t found mention of pH measurements being taken that would provide the information needed. ARGO doesn’t do it, I don’t think.

    This is too new a concern to have much data yet — and too straightforward a calculation (chemistry lab problem, rather than cutting edge quantum radiation physics) to require the amount of proof the atmospheric change has called for. Which is probably bad news, the scientists recognized it as soon as it was pointed out but the political response will be just as delayed. And to nonscientists, “This is blatantly obvious as soon as you think about it, assuming you passed high school chemistry” isn’t convincing.
    “Argo collects salinity/temperature profiles ….”'s_new_EO9.htm
    “A new section on the recent increase of ocean acidity accompanied by a new graph showing historical and projected pH and dissolved carbon dioxide” —


  22. Ocean pH has been #1 on the list since 2004:

    1. Forcing factors
    The most obvious forcing factor on the ocean in a high-CO2 world is increased atmospheric pCO2, which will increase the surface ocean (and eventually deep ocean) pCO2 and lower pH. A major research priority will be to conduct research and modeling that will allow predictions of changes in ocean carbonate chemistry, and on how these changes will differentially affect calcitic and aragonitic organisms. As pCO2 is increasing, other environmental variables will also change as a result…..
    from the Research Priorities Report

    It takes a while to qualify instruments; I found mention that adding pH devices to the ARGO system will happen eventually as they’re upgraded.

    The previous generation of moored scientific instruments like Triton did not fare well:

    Click to access login.jsp

    ARGO instruments should be harder to steal.


  23. Proving that there wasn’t a consensus in the 1970s does not counter the skeptics, very few of whom actually suggest it was a consensus.

    [I disagree. Many of the skeptics do indeed assert a consensus, or prevalence of view, towards cooling. We’ve demonstrated thats wrong -W]

    Surely, the long term expectation was, and perhaps still is, that the earth would eventually enter another ice age.
    Don’t forget that Arrhenius was trying to show that variations in carbonic acid concentrations could be responsible for ice ages. In Worlds in the Making (Eng. 1908) according to Wikpedia he suggested that “the human emission of CO2 would be strong enough to prevent the world from entering a new ice age, and that a warmer earth would be needed to feed the rapidly increasing population.”

    [Err, no. Unless you’re thinking of the very long term. With no omre intervention than we’ve already done, there is unlikely to be an ice age for 50 kyr -W]

    Also peer reviewed papers from the 1970s in the days before the internet and public access to information hardly constitutes the public psyche. I’m sure a search on serious population-related peer-reviewed papers would not find a Ehrlichian consensus but this doesn’t mean that it wasn’t part of the zeitgeist. Citation indexes do not match a good headline in terms of getting a message out there whether right or wrong. Be careful not to waste time re-writing history. One Sunday Times report or a World in Action TV programmme carried far more weight in the UK than scientific journals.

    [The media is of course regularly full of nonsense. But the scientific literature isn’t. I’m interested in what the scientists had to say, mostly. You’re welcome to do a similar survey on the media if you’re interested in them. Had the septics tried to assert that the papers were full of ice age, rather than that the sci literature was, I wouldn’t have started this -W]


  24. RJG- have you spent any time in the trenches, as it were?

    Global warming denialists I know routinely bring up the “They told us we were going into an ice age” canard. Many of them were at school then, and seem to have been deeply traumatised by something. Hence certain sections of the public psyche are parroting the usual lies, enough to confuse many otherwise well intentioned members of the public.
    I’ve just had one of my pet denialists bring up the “it hasn;t warmed since 1999” lie. He probably meant 1998, but mistyped. Myself and others have pointed out to him several times that this is a lie, but he willfully ignores it.


  25. guthrie

    it’s not about trenches but facts. Trenches comes dangerously close to “entrenched”.

    Who are the “they” the skeptics/denialists talk of – the media mainly and one or two scientists, I’ve not seen any serious mention of consensus.

    My point is that the argument that “the skeptics argue that there was a consensus of cooling” is a clay canard/ straw man and no benefit is achieved from smashing it. The paper linked to on this page shows that there were scientists forecasting cooling albeit a minority.

    Einstein was a minority, as were Aristarchus, Copernicus, Galileo, Darwin etc etc. Consensus has only become an issue since IPCC, the first time in science’s history, and is not necessarily a virtue.

    In my opinion consensus is now actually harming the debate as it is being used to hammer home ludicrous and conflicting solutions.


  26. cce: I’m pointing out that new information is coming in all the time that contradict the previous assumptions. I’d contend that most scientists believe that up to date experimental findings are rather more useful than out of date theories. All you have done is to repeat what I said earlier: aerosols cause both warming and cooling. And I’d agree that these new findings – that the glaciers and the Arctic are far more likely to have been warmed by soot than by CO2 – make much more sense. I think you mean “we *think* global warming *may* cause more extreme weather” don’t you? Because that is the current state of the science. People are still trying to prove it! And then perhaps we should conclude that global cooling should likely bring less extreme weather? Or perhaps not. The only sensible conclusion is that some weather events may be more extreme and others may be less extreme. Many people have said global warming will do many things but they have been often proven wrong. Evidence is needed before you state your conclusions. People are perhaps more aware of extreme events because of more media coverage but the historical stats tell the real story. In particular I am thinking about Bangladesh, where I studied the stats to find that no trends of anything weather-related are detectable in the last 50 years, including the regional temperature, which has basically flat-lined.

    Steve Bloom: Don’t bring up Tsonis’s randomness again please! I’ve read enough papers to see that most of them so far have reached no significant conclusions. I also notice that many of them eschew looking at local statistics and instead assume that the climate models are actually correct for the region under study – something which no climate modeler would support. There is also the tactic of using multiple models, noting they all agree, and calling it a “robust result” despite none of these models correctly hind-casting the temperature for the region under study. Hence 20 wrongs can somehow make a right. Seems to me we need to get the basics right before we make any judgments.

    Guthrie, I think your question should be directed at those for whom a heat wave is immediate evidence of global warming but who change their tune when we get a cold-spell. Then we get the creative types (like Trenberth) who just blame everything on global warming, even when it is demonstrably due to el niño/la niña. Will nobody here bother to criticize that tactic? The end justifies the means does it? And what about blaming CO2 for something that soot has likely caused. Doesn’t this demonstrate that honest, sound science is much better than just spouting dogma?


  27. I have quoted AR4 which says that aerosols cause cooling. I have quoted two papers on Atmospheric Brown Clouds which say that aersols cause cooling of the surface while warming the atmosphere. Aerosols cause cooling and they cause warming. They cause more cooling than warming.

    If you would like a citation for the statment that global warming causes more extreme weather, you can read AR4 FAQ 3.3 “Has there been a Change in Extreme Events like Heat Waves, Droughts, Floods and Hurricanes.” No one suggested that all events must become more severe everywhere on earth.

    Re: Cooling consensus.

    When people start comparing skeptics to Darwin and Einstein they have gone off the deep end. The reason why establishing “consensus” has become such a big deal today, is because there has been a huge effort on the part of vested interests to sow doubt. The idea that scientists were “predicting a new ice age in the ’70s” is repeated ad nauseum by skeptics of all stripes for no other reason than to cast doubt on the current consensus, and thus delay action for as long as possible.


  28. cce

    If you re-read my post you’ll see that I’m not comparing skeptics to Darwin or anyone else. I’m merely making the point that consensus is in of itself an over-rated virtue. Clearly many times in the history of science a new model (dare I say paradigm) has come forward via a scientific revolution which has challenged a pre-existing consensus (whether formalised or not).

    So if your general, long-term test for validity is consensus then you’re way off. However, in the short term it is part of normal science, although as noted before I don’t think having a UN Intergovernmental Panel is the right way to go.

    My last post – this isn’t realclimate or climateaudit!


  29. I’m afraid RJG, that facts are not enough. You have to deliver them, and repeat them and oppose the liars and educate the confused. That is what I mean by trenches. We could start a debate about the role of intermediaries in changing public opinion, which would be interesting- perhaps William could start a thread?

    I can understand that you think it is not worth destroying a straw man, but as I said before, it is not a matter simply of facts. The straw men are used to sow doubt amongst ordinary members of the public (mops henceforth) and therefore shredding them every time they put in an appearance neutralises the issue.
    What kind of cooling were you thinking of? All I have read on the 70’s cooling scare says that most scientists agreed we would slide back into an ice age in a few thousand years, but there was nothing to worry about in the near future.

    What do you see as luducrous and confluicting solutions that are being proposed since the consensus we are talking about is on the reality of AGW. I know of no consensus on exactly what we should do about it.


  30. How ridiculous. Like most such ‘studies’, they only reveal the biases of those who compiled them. Here’s one paper you seem to have missed in your ‘rigorous literature review’, found easily with a quick search on google scholar (others might like to try this also).

    Return of the ice age and drought in peninsular Florida?
    Joseph M. Moran
    Geology 3 (12): 695-696 1975
    The recent lull in North Atlantic tropical storm activity apparently is contributing to a significant reduction in rainfall in peninsular Florida. The same phenomenon probably characterized climatic patterns of glacial ages and may have been partially responsible for the aridity indicated by the late Quaternary pollen record of south-central Florida. This parallel between recent climatic trends and reconstructed Ice Age conditions in Florida supports the notion that the Ice Age is returning.

    [We weren’t looking in Geology-type journals. It seems an odd place to publish such a piece. Would be interesting to see the whole paper, because the abstract on the face of it is making a wild leap that is utterly unjustified. That might explain why it didn’t make a climate journal -W]


  31. RJG,

    It’s true that many times in the history of science people have come forward with revolutionary ideas. It’s also true that this is irrelevent to policy decisions, because no rational person would see agreement as a reason to doubt the recommendations of experts. The NAS and IPCC were established for a reason. This isn’t an abstract game of scientific purity we’re playing. The IPCC isn’t the Catholic Church, and Richard Lindzen isn’t Galileo.


  32. cce: You simplify too much. The surface of the Arctic and of glaciers, according to these papers, are warmed by aerosols. Of course other parts of the global surface are cooled but since the Arctic warming is the main component of warming in the surface record as stated by GISS and the Arctic and Glaciers are the most visible evidence of global warming on the planet, then I’m only pointing out that this warming effect has been understated thus far by the IPCC and by climate modelers. Hence the idea that aerosols cause more cooling than warming is out of date, overstated and doubtful. This is science though. It keeps moving according to the latest data. Read again the IPCC documents and notice the weasel words they use that cover them for new discoveries. These are not tablets of stone – the way they are written allow for experiments expanding or changing the theories. The same fall-back ifs, buts and maybes are also written in the IPCC section on extreme weather consequences of global warming. The only bold statement you can take out of IPCC is that man is having an effect on earth temperatures. Much of the rest is conjecture which has yet to be properly proven.


  33. “We weren’t looking in Geology-type journals”

    For information on the possible return of ice ages? Doh!

    What an admission, sadly the paper seems rather incongruous now.

    [I’m not sure if you’re serious or not. Did you read the abstract you found? Its really not very good. Any search for useful info that found that paper would discard it. Can you find any others? -W]


  34. Guthrie: You talk about delivering facts, opposing the liars, educating the confused and sowing doubt amongst ordinary members of the public (MOP’s). Yet I gave you a concrete example above of two climate scientists, at least one of which is a prominent member of the IPCC, going way beyond what the IPCC actually agreed on and presenting fiction and speculation as facts, being dishonest and attempting to confuse and sow doubt amongst members of the public. And you had nothing to say about it, so don’t play the innocent card. There are clearly two sides to this propaganda war and I take Mike Hulme’s view that much of this pessimistic propaganda, which overwhelms the skeptical stuff, is counter-productive. Yes it’s clear that a lot of the public are skeptical of the rhetoric but not because they are reading skeptic arguments – it is because they are bombarded by ridiculously over-the-top weather predictions which always turn out to be wrong. The public think quite logically “what does that tell us about their predictions for 100 years into the future?” I contend that the only issue that separates warmers from coolers is the issue of carbon taxes, credits and trading. On the environment and on alternative energies there seems to be substantial agreement. But since it’s quite clear that the politicians will do nothing concrete (whist pretending they have) and will likely only enrich their stockbroker friends who are gasping to trade a commodity that doesn’t exist, has no established value and which enriches both the buyer and seller. The question then is: why on earth are we arguing at all? Shouldn’t we agree to differ on CO2 and just get on with using clean, green alternatives.


  35. *Shrug*
    I can’t see who you mean in amongst all the verbiage.(I do wish this place put proper paragraph breaks in)

    However I do take severe issue with your claiming I had nothing to say about it, since I couldn’t be bothered to try and engage with you after I asked you how you were defining weather and climate. Hence the fact I have not engaged with you again is because I consider it a waste of time.


  36. Just checked out the citations for the “Return of the ice age and drought in peninsular Florida” paper. Apparently it didn’t get many scientists talking about the return of an ice age. These papers cited it (can’t be bothered referencing them properly):

    Author(s): ALFORD JJ, HOLMES JC
    Source: ANNALS OF THE ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN GEOGRAPHERS Volume: 75 Issue: 3 Pages: 395-403 Published: 1985
    Times Cited: 11
    Context Sensitive Links View full text from the publisher JSTOR

    Author(s): COLEMAN JM
    Source: QUATERNARY RESEARCH Volume: 18 Issue: 2 Pages: 144-151 Published: 1982
    Times Cited: 3
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): COLEMAN JM
    Source: QUATERNARY RESEARCH Volume: 13 Issue: 1 Pages: 75-79 Published: 1980
    Times Cited: 3
    Context Sensitive Links

    Source: TELLUS Volume: 31 Issue: 1 Pages: 28-38 Published: 1979
    Times Cited: 6
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): ROBBIN DM, STIPP JJ
    Source: JOURNAL OF SEDIMENTARY PETROLOGY Volume: 49 Issue: 1 Pages: 175-180 Published: 1979
    Times Cited: 23
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): WENDLAND WM
    Source: JOURNAL OF APPLIED METEOROLOGY Volume: 16 Issue: 5 Pages: 477-481 Published: 1977
    Times Cited: 38


  37. It sounds like the argument is not that there was no concern, only that the concern was fueled by the media and immediate observations of the general public, despite the majority of scientific opinion running in opposition.

    Posted by: Jp | February 21, 2008 9:01 AM

    I think this could be said for many of the issues we will see in our lifetimes! The media’s power is a pretty astonishing thing a lot of the time!
    Dave Briggs :~)


  38. A Google Scholar search up to 2005 of the phrase “Black Carbon” with the required word “forcing” returns 1,360 hits. The same search with “atmospheric brown clouds” and “forcing” returns 19 hits. The former falls on snow, changing the albedo and accelerating melting. The latter heats up the lower atmosphere, warming high altitude glaciers.

    That’s my take. Let’s ask our expert.

    William, do you think that the warming effect of aerosols overturns the consensus that aerosols have a net cooling effect?

    [Errrm, I’ve always thought that they were a cooling, and the AR4 fig SPM.2 says so, so I don’t see why anyone would think they had an overall warming effect. You’d also be hard-pressed to explain the 20th century climate history if they were a warming -W]


  39. William,
    I don’t have access to the rest of the paper by Moran. But the statement ‘supports the notion that the ice age is returning’ indicates that this view was indeed current at the time.
    Here is another one, by a polar scientist – do they count in your book? 🙂
    Again I don’t have the whole paper yet.
    Convection in the Antarctic Ice Sheet Leading to a Surge of the Ice Sheet and Possibly to a New Ice Age
    T. Hughes
    Science 170, no. 3958, 630 – 633 (1970)

    [I’ve seen that one. It wins a prize for most misleading abstract ever. Read the paper – its nothing to do with a new ice age -W]


  40. The paper “Convection in the Antarctic Ice Sheet Leading to a Surge of the Ice Sheet and Possibly to a New Ice Age” doesn’t appear to have led to a flood of publications regarding a new ice age. Here are the citations:

    Author(s): HUGHES T
    Source: REVIEWS OF GEOPHYSICS Volume: 13 Issue: 4 Pages: 502-526 Published: 1975
    Times Cited: 89
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): HUGHES T
    Source: JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH Volume: 78 Issue: 33 Pages: 7884-7910 Published: 1973
    Times Cited: 101
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): WHILLANS IM
    Source: SCIENCE Volume: 182 Issue: 4111 Pages: 476-479 Published: 1973
    Times Cited: 15
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): HUGHES T
    Source: JOURNAL OF APPLIED PHYSICS Volume: 43 Issue: 6 Pages: 2895-& Published: 1972
    Times Cited: 3
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): HUGHES T
    Source: GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY Volume: 27 Issue: 2 Pages: 215-& Published: 1972
    Times Cited: 9
    Context Sensitive Links

    6. Title: GLACIERS
    Author(s): BENSON C, WELLER G, SHREVE R, et al.
    Source: TRANSACTIONS-AMERICAN GEOPHYSICAL UNION Volume: 53 Issue: 3 Pages: 248-& Published: 1972
    Times Cited: 0
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): HARRISON CH
    Source: GEOPHYSICAL JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY Volume: 24 Issue: 4 Pages: 383-& Published: 1971
    Times Cited: 1
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): HARRISON CH
    Source: SCIENCE Volume: 173 Issue: 3992 Pages: 166-& Published: 1971
    Times Cited: 2
    Context Sensitive Links

    Author(s): HUGHES T
    Source: SCIENCE Volume: 173 Issue: 3992 Pages: 167-& Published: 1971
    Times Cited: 0


  41. I’ve reorganized my “global cooling” presentation and created an html version. The new “video” version will be based on this:

    The new version includes William’s paper in BAMS. Speaking of which, is the proper citation known yet?

    [To appear in September; don’t know exact cite yet -W]


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