[Coral-List] Climate talks in the 1970s

Lenny Antonelli thevillagegreen at gmail.com
Sat Dec 19 18:47:22 EST 2009

The whole "they said there would be global cooling in the 70s" seems to proportion by the media and that's why this story still endures, not because of the science, as far as I can tell.

Ben is right to ask about what the peer reviewed research from the time said. According to New Scientist: "A survey of the scientific literature has found that between 1965 and 1979, 44 scientific papers predicted warming, 20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling. So while predictions of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were predicting warming even then."

That's from this debunking of the 'global cooling myth' by New Scientist: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11643-climate-myths-they-predicted-global-cooling-in-the-1970s.html

I think this is the review paper (it's a PDF): http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/131047.pdf

Here's a series of links to further discussions on this from RealClimate.org: http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=They_predicted_global_cooling_in_the_1970s

Real Climate's own discussion of the topic

I think it's also worth noting that the few predictions of cooling there were were based on the assumption that warming caused by CO2 would be offset to a greater degree by cooling caused by air pollution, so there was still an implicit assumption that human CO2 emissions cause warming. According to the New Scientist link above, one of the main sources of the cooling notion was a 1971 paper by NASA's Stephen Schneider, but soon afterwards Schneider realised he had overestimated the cooling effect and underestimated the warming potential of CO2. 

Lenny Antonelli

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