Global Warming global cooling ice

Published on November 29th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

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Global Cooling Myth Dies Again

November 29th, 2010 by

ice melting, no global cooling

Joe Romm, PhD, of Climate Progress recently shared the climate science video from 1956 I shared on here earlier today. But in addition to this great video, he shared some other studies debunking the climate science myth of global cooling, which I thought were worth putting in a separate post.

Dr Romm reports:

I still recommend an excellent review article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) by Thomas Peterson, William Connolley, and John Fleck, which concluded:

There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed, the possibility of anthropogenic warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.

The BAMS piece examines the scientific origins of the myth, the popular media of the 1970s who got the story slightly wrong, the deniers/delayers who perpetuate the myth today, and, most importantly, what real scientists actually said in real peer-reviewed journals at the time. Their literature survey, the most comprehensive ever done on the subject, found:

The survey identified only 7 articles indicating cooling compared to 44 indicating warming. Those seven cooling articles garnered just 12% of the citations.

The authors put together this figure on “the number of papers classified as predicting, implying, or providing supporting evidence for future global cooling, warming, and neutral categories”:

bams-cooling.jpg

The article ends with a powerful discussion of what the National Research Council concluded in its 1979 review of the science:

In July 1979 in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, Jule Charney, one of the pioneers of climate modeling, brought together a panel of experts under the U.S. National Research Council to sort out the state of the science. The panel’s work has become iconic as a foundation for the enterprise of climate change study that followed (Somerville et al. 2007). Such reports are a traditional approach within the United States for eliciting expert views on scientific questions of political and public policy importance (Weart 2003).

In this case, the panel concluded that the potential damage from greenhouse gases was real and should not be ignored. The potential for cooling, the threat of aerosols, or the possibility of an ice age shows up nowhere in the report. Warming from doubled CO2 of 1.5°–4.5°C was possible, the panel reported. While there were huge uncertainties, Verner Suomi, chairman of the National Research Council’s Climate Research Board, wrote in the report’s foreword that he believed there was enough evidence to support action: “A wait-and-see policy may mean waiting until it is too late” (Charney et al. 1979). Clearly, if a national report in the 1970s advocates urgent action to address global warming, then the scientific consensus of the 1970s was not global cooling.

And, to complete the circle, nearly a quarter century before then, Popular Mechanics warned us:

Actually, Time magazine reported on Plass’s work in May 1953, in an article titled “Invisible Blanket,” which ends “for centuries to come, if man’s industrial growth continues, the earth’s climate will continue to grow warmer.”

The New York Times reported on Plass’s work in 1956 with this strong headline:

1956-nyt.jpg

There’s more, but the point is, we seem to be slow learners… or perhaps, fast learners but slow actors.

Related Stories:
1. 7 Myths about Climate Change Science [& FUN VIDEOS]
2. Addressing “Global Cooling”
3. Climate Science in 1956 [VIDEO]

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Photo Credit: circulating via flickr (CC license)


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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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