Saturday, January 11, 2014

Author of 1975 global cooling scare article now says 'It was accurate at the time'

The author of an infamous 1975 Newsweek global cooling scare article has been quoted this week saying about the article, "I stand by it. It was accurate at the time."

Global warming alarmists constantly deny that there was an actual global cooling scare in the 1970's, but has complied an archive of global cooling alarmism found in major newspapers, magazines, books and on television, clearly demonstrating the global cooling scare was the 'consensus' at the time, well before the temperature data was tampered. 

How Newsweek's 'global cooling' story got its legs

Jan. 10, 2014

Nine paragraphs written for Newsweek in 1975 continue to trump 40 years of climate science. It's a record that has the author amazed.

By Doug Struck The Daily Climate
BOSTON – Temperatures have plunged to record lows on the East Coast, and once again Peter Gwynne is being heralded as a journalist ahead of his time. By some.
Gwynne, now 72, is a bit chagrinned that a long career of distinguished science and technology reporting is most remembered for this one story.
Gwynne was the science editor of Newsweek 39 years ago when he pulled together some interviews from scientists and wrote a nine-paragraph story about how the planet was getting cooler.
Ever since, Gwynne's "global cooling" story – and a similar Time Magazine piece – have been brandished gleefully by those who say it shows global warming is not happening, or at least that scientists – and often journalists – don't know what they are talking about. 
Gwynne-200Fox News loves to cite it. So does Rush Limbaugh. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., has quoted the story on the Senate floor.
Gwynne, now 72, is a bit chagrinned that from a long career of distinguished science and technology reporting, he is most remembered for this one story.
"I have, in fact, won prizes for science writing," he said, with just a whiff of annoyance, in an interview this week.

Popping up - again and again

His April 28, 1975 piece has been used by Forbes as evidence of what the magazine called "The Fiction of Climate Science." It has been set to music on a YouTube video. It has popped up in a slew of finger-wagging blogs and websites dedicated to everything from climate denial to one puzzling circuit of logic entitled "Impeach Obama, McCain and Boehner Today."
From the latest crop:
Lou Dobbs on Fox News: "This cycle of science… if we go back to 1970, the fear then was global cooling. "
Rush Limbaugh: "I call [global warming] a hoax… A 1975 Newsweek cover was gonna talk about the ice age coming. So they're really confused how to play it."
Sean Hannity on Fox News: "If you go back to Time Magazine, they actually were proclaiming the next ice age is coming, now it's become global warming… How do you believe the same people that were predicting just a couple decades ago that the new ice age is coming?"
Donald J. Trump: "This very expensive global warming bullshit has got to stop. Our planet is freezing.…"

'Accurate at the time'

Most of the time, Gwynne, who still writes on technology and science from his home in Cape Cod, Mass., takes it good-naturedly.
"It's part of the game, once you get from science to politics, that's the way it's played," he said. "I just hope people don't think I think that way."
And still, Gwynne notes of his story, "I stand by it. It was accurate at the time."
The story observed – accurately – that there had been a gradual decrease in global average temperatures from about 1940, now believed to be a consequence of soot and aerosols that offered a partial shield to the earth as well as the gradual retreat of an abnormally [naturally] warm interlude. 
Some climatologists predicted the trend would continue, inching the earth toward the colder averages of the "Little Ice Age" from the 16th to 19th centuries. 
"When I wrote this story I did not see it as a blockbuster," Gwynne recalled. "It was just an intriguing piece about what a certain group in a certain niche of climatology was thinking." [such as Steven Schneider, who was for global cooling before he was for global warming]

Pushing the envelope 'a little bit'

And, revisionist lore aside, it was hardly a cover story. [It was a cover story on Time Magazine twice] It was a one-page article on page 64. It was, Gwynne concedes, written with a bit of over-ventilated style that sometimes marked the magazine's prose: "There are ominous signs the earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically..." the piece begins, and warns of a possible "dramatic decline in food production."
"Newsweek being Newsweek, we might have pushed the envelope a little bit more than I would have wanted," Gwynne offered.
But the story was tantalizing enough that other variations – somewhat more nuanced – were written by the New York Times and National Geographic, among others. The theory picked up support from some pretty reputable scientists: the late, esteemed Stephen Schneider of Stanford endorsed a book on the issue.
But there also was a small but growing counter-theory that carbon dioxide and other pollutants accompanying the Industrial Age were creating a warming belt in the atmosphere, and by about 1980 it was clear that the earth's average temperature was headed upward.
Even today, "there is some degree of uncertainty about natural variability" [such as what caused warming from 1850-1940's, cooling 1950's-1970's, and the 'pause' over past 17 years, none of which could have been caused by man-made CO2] acknowledged Mark McCaffrey, programs and policy director of the National Center for Science Education based in Oakland, Calif. "If it weren't for the fact that humans had become a force of nature, we would be slipping back into an ice age, according to orbital cycles." [False - see 100,000 year problem of Milankovitch theory and completely dismisses the Sun as the cause]

Missing the point

But earth's glacial rhythms are "being overridden by human activities, especially burning fossil fuels," McCaffrey noted. The stories about global cooling "are convenient for people to trot out and wave around," he said, but they miss the point: 
"What's clear is we are a force of nature. Human activity – the burning of fossil fuels and land change – is having a massive influence. We are in the midst of this giant geoengineering experiment." [so claims the journalist]
And, Gwynne protested: "I wrote this in 1975!"
Born in England, Gwynne has written for a slew of American and foreign outlets. He left Newsweek in 1981, he ran Technology Review at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, covered space for High Technology, worked for The Scientist in Washington, moved to Hong Kong to run Asia Technology for Dow Jones, and returned to the United States to freelance in 1994. 
He remains the North American correspondent for Physics World, based in England, from which perspective he views the "weird and wonderful" American relationship with science. "It's been American science and scientists – particularly NASA – that showed the climate is changing," he noted. Yet, unlike in most of Europe, American politicians remain divided over climate science.

Political vs. science reporting

The unsavory afterlife of his 1975 story clearly has not soured his journalistic fervor. "I've been able to write for a lot of different audiences, physicists, engineers and the general public," Gwynne said. "I've been willing to accept that some of that is misused and misinterpreted."
By and large, he added, the U.S. science press has done "a pretty good job" of covering climate change. But "the political press doesn't check. It tends to do 'on the one hand, on the other hand.' A lot of reporters simply will not go into issues like global warming with any understanding that the sides are not equal."
Journalists should not ignore climate deniers, he cautioned. "You have to give all sides a fair hearing." But that does not mean they have to be treated equally "if they don't have the data." [climate skeptics DO have the data, before and after it has been tampered] To do so, he said, is false balance "that leaves readers out on a limb."
"Your job as a journalist is to give each side its best shot," said Gwynne. Even if the ammunition is four decades old. [So did Gwynne ever write any article giving any skeptic their "best shot" or opportunity to present data? highly doubtful]


  1. Another compilation of articles from the 1970's global cooling scare shows it was very real:

    [T]he weather in the first part of this century has been the warmest and best for world agriculture in over a millenium, and, partly as a result, the world's population has more than doubled. Since 1940, however, the temperature of the Northern Hemisphere has been steadily falling: Having risen about 1.1 degrees C. between 1885 and 1940, according to one estimation, the temperature has already fallen back some 0.6 degrees, and shows no signs of reversal. Specific areas, of course, may experience changes markedly different from the average. During the warming period, temperatures in parts of Norway rose five times more than the hemisphere average, and since the cooling trend began again, Iceland's temperature has dropped nearly 2.0 degrees, threatening continued existence of some crops.
    In the last decade, the Arctic ice and snow cap has expanded 12 per cent, and for the first time in this century, ships making for Iceland ports have been impeded by drifting ice.
    Glaciers are growing, warmth-loving animals are moving south…The last climatic warming ended in the early 1940s. The planet has been steadily getting colder ever since.”

    “Dr. Lenoa M. Libby and Dr. Louis Pandolfi of Los Angeles forecast continued bitterly cold winters all over the globe past the mid-1980s.”
    “We are in the middle of or long overdue for some kind of ice age.” “We are in the midst of a large glacial buildup.”
    “The 46 scientists who gathered at Brown University for a symposium on the ‘End of the Present Interglacial’ agreed that there is the presence of an ominous world-wide cooling of temperatures in the last two decades. They also expressed fear that man, through air pollution, may be hastening the natural process.”

    Dr. J. T. Andress: “the Arctic has been getting cooler since the 1940s” and “year-round snow banks cover Baffin Island that were free of snow in the summer when the island was first explored.”

  3. Scientists mentioned in print advancing global cooling arguments during the 1970s as found in the below poptech's summary:
    Dr. Arnold Reitze
    Dr. Earl W. Barrett (NOAA)
    William Cobb, NOAA meteorologist
    Dr. S. I. Rasool of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Columbia University
    Dr. Tadashi Yano, Japanese meteorologist
    Professor Hubert Lamb, Director of Climate Research at the University of East Anglia
    Francis Stehli, Professor of Geology at Case Western Reserve University
    Dr. Paul W. Hodge, Professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington
    Dr. George Kukla, Lamont-Dougherty Geological Observatory, Columbia University
    Dr. F. Kenneth Hare, Climatologist, University of Toronto
    Dr. Reid Bryson, Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin
    James C. Fletcher, Administrator of NASA
    Dr. Hurd C. Willett, Meterologist, MIT
    Dr. Stephen Schnieder, Deputy Head, Climate Project, National Center for Atmospheric Research
    Dr. Madeleine Briskin, Geologist, University of Cincinnati
    Dr. Cesare Emiliani, University of Miami
    Dr. J. T. Andress, University of Colorado
    Professor Vojen Lozek, Czecholsvak Academy of Science
    Dr. C. B. Shultz, University of Nebraska
    Dr. Walter Broecker, Lamont Geological Observatory, Columbia University
    Dr. Lenoa M. Libby, Geologist, UCLA
    Scientific papers (1970s) advancing global cooling arguments:
    Since 1940, the effect of the rapid rise of atmospheric turbidity appears to have exceeded the effect of rising carbon dioxide, resulting in a rapid downward trend of temperature. There is no indication that these trends will be reversed, and there is some reason to believe that man-made pollution will have an increased effect in the future.
    By more completely accounting for those anthropogenic processes which produce both lower tropospheric aerosols and carbon dioxide, such as fossil fuel burning and agricultural burning, we calculate an expected slight decrease in surface temperature with an increase in CO2 content.
    It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.

    Charlson, R.J., H. Harrison, G. Witt, 1972: Aerosol concentrations: Effects on planetary temperatures. (Exchange of Letters) Science, 175, 95-96.

    Chýlek, P., and J. A. Coakley, Jr., 1974: Aerosols and Climate. Science, 183, 75-77.

  4. Below are excerpts from the National Academy of Science’s 1975 summarizing presentation to Congress entitled “Understanding Climatic Change: A Program For Action." Notice the downplaying of anthropogenic influences, the admittance of not understanding how the climate changes, and the pronouncements about a cooling climate, and the "finite probability" of entering into the next glacial within 100 years.
    While the natural variations of climate have been larger than those that may have been induced by human activities during the past century, the rapidity with which human impacts threaten to grow in the future.

    Aside from local climatic effects, such as those due to urbanization, these studies have not yet established the existence of a large-scale anthropogenic climatic impact. Like their numerical simulation counterparts, such studies are made more difficult by the high levels of natural climatic variability and by the lack of adequate observational data.

    [T]he mechanics of the climatic system is so complex, and our observations of its behavior so incomplete, that at present we do not know what causes any particular climatic change to occur. What we cannot identify at the present time is how the complete climatic system operates, which are its most critical and sensitive parts, which processes are responsible for its changes, and what are the most likely future climates. In short, while we know something about climate itself, we know very little about climatic change.

    From the analysis of the limited data available, we can identify a number of areas in which man's actions may be capable of altering the course of climatic change. Chief among these is interference with the atmospheric heat balance by increasing the aerosol and particulate loading and increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere by industrial and commercial activity. While present evidence indicates that these are not now dominant factors, they may become so in the future.

    A striking feature of the instrumental record is the behavior of temperature worldwide. As shown by Mitchell (1970), the average surface air temperature in the northern hemisphere increased from the 1880's until about 1940 and has been decreasing thereafter. Starr and Oort (1973) have reported that, during the period 1958-1963, the hemisphere's (mass-weighted) mean temperature decreased by about 0.6 °C. In that period the polar and subtropical arid regions experienced the greatest cooling. The cause of this variation is not known, although clearly this trend cannot continue indefinitely.

    One may still ask the question: When will the present interglacial end? Few paleoclimatologists would dispute that the prominent warm periods (or interglacials) that have followed each of the terminations of the major glaciations have had durations of 10,000 ±2000 years. In each case, a period of considerably colder climate has followed immediately after the interglacial interval. Since about 10,000 years has elapsed since the onset of the present period of prominent warmth, the question naturally arises as to whether we are indeed on the brink of a period of colder climate. Kukla and Matthews (1972) have already called attention to such a possibility. There seems little doubt that the present period of unusual warmth will eventually give way to a time of colder climate, but there is no consensus with regard to either the magnitude or rapidity of the transition. The onset of this climatic decline could be several thousand years in the future,although there is a finite probability that a serious worldwide cooling could befall the earth within the next hundred years.

    The question remains unresolved. If the end of the interglacial is episodic in character, we are moving toward a rather sudden climatic change of unknown timing, although as each 100 years passes, we have perhaps a 5 percent greater chance of encountering its [the next glacial's] onset.

    1. Nice bit of work. I've had warmists tell me that it was only the journalists who were pushing that. This is a lot more than I had to answer him with. Thanks.