Friday, February 22, 2008

Propaganda watch: Global cooling a 1970s myth

A recurring meme in the climate debated goes like this: Fickle scientists believed in global cooling in the '70s, and then switched fads to global warming. The next time you hear it, refer them to this story, from Terra Daily, via UPI: A U.S. climatologist said there was no consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed for a new ice age. Thomas Peterson of the National Climatic Data Center said a survey of scientific journals of the era showed that only seven supported global cooling, 44 predicted warming and 20 others were neutral, USA Today reported Thursday.

"An enduring popular myth suggests that in the 1970s the climate science community was predicting 'global cooling' and an 'imminent' ice age, an observation frequently used by those who would undermine what climate scientists say today about the prospect of global warming," Peterson said in the report, co-authored by William Connolly of the British Antarctic Survey and John Fleck of The Albuquerque Journal.

The study, which will be published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, said a review of the literature suggests that greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists' thinking.

Winter sea ice terrain of the Beaufort Sea, Alaska North Slope, 1949 photo taken by Rear Admiral Harley D. Nygren, NOAA Corps (ret.), from Wikimedia Commons

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