[Coral-List] 3. Climate Science in the 70's (Ben Richards)

David Wheeler davidwheeler at doctors.net.uk
Sun Dec 20 13:36:15 EST 2009

Hi Ben

May I as another old timer have my say.   You are right, there was a 
fairly serious concern, at least in the media, about the onset of a new 
ice age in the 1970's.  Temperatures (almost all surface records) were 
not much different from the previous century and climate modelling was 
in a very primitive state.  Such computers as existed were incredibly 
slow and clunky by modern standards and of little help in building such 
sophisticated climate models as we now have available.

Things are very different now of course.  Nevertheless, most of us 
listers are mere amateurs when it comes to climate (pace, Mark Tupper).  
For instance, I am a physician who got into this on the back of several 
Coral Cay expeditions and Gene Shinn is a geologist.  I suspect that 
most of us are convinced of the reality of anthropogenic climate warming 
and that Gene is fighting a gallant but ultimately hopeless rearguard 
action (and that even he secretly realises this).  Nevertheless, we need 
people like Gene as science can only advance, step by dogged step, in 
the teeth of a blizzard of scepticism which will, we hope, blast away 
all flaky ideas leaving what passes, for the time being at least, as 
revealed truth.   Even so, we should never forget that major paradigm 
shifts often come from far in left field.  Alfred Wegener (a 
meteorologist) is a classic example!

Let Gene put up his stalking horses and let us endeavour to strike them 
down as best we may.  If, at any time, we are unable to do so, then we 
must think even harder and always be prepared to modify our position.  I 
am sure we would all rather wish that Gene is right and that 
catastrophic climate change will turn out to be a horrible dream to 
vanish in the light of day.  The complete failure of Copenhagen gives us 
the opportunity to find out the ultimate truth over the next 20 years or 
less.  Are we to see Marx justified at last?  Truly the World Leaders 
are helpless in the face of the real Masters of the Universe, greedy, 
selfish, scientifically illiterate and ultimately stupid as they are.  
Even Marx did not forsee the total disaster that the Gadarene Swine are 
now galloping blindly towards.

Look on the bright side.  In the warming seas, surely corals will move 
polewards and, freed from man's malign influences, exploit the brand new 
environments to be found in the shallow epicontinental seas of Europe 
and the western Americas where evolution will proceed spurred by the 
increased mutation rate resulting from the effect of the detritus of the 
ultimate nuclear war.

Now, there's a really dyspeptic Vison of the Future to consider over 

Happy Christmas to all listers from a deep frozen Carlisle UK.

David Wheeler

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