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« Confirmation bias | Main | Conflicted climatologists »

In the beginning


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And as has been fully shown, papers predicting Global cooling were in a small minority. Most science papers on climate at the time were preditcting Global warming.

Either Andrew has no understanding of the subject, in which case, that book he's flogging must be absolute rubbish, or he's fully prepared to try and give a highly partial and distorted take on climate science to suit his own agenda, for which we know he is paid money.

I've seen you do better than this Andrew, are you trying to turn into the climate blog version of the Sun?

Jun 7, 2011 at 7:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

An excellent article 7th June 2011 in Financial Post. Please take the time to read it

David Evans consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modelling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. He is a mathematician and engineer, with six university degrees, including a PhD from Stanford University in electrical engineering. The comments above were made to the Anti-Carbon-Tax Rally in Perth, Australia, on

Jun 7, 2011 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterPerry

Classic: More CO2 = global cooling!

Fascinating to confirm that scare stories never go away, they just change shape, (and also to see Stephen Schneider in there).

Crying 'the end of the world is nigh' has always been the preserve of a certain section of humanity. The problem is now that too many people take them seriously, instead of mocking them as is their due.

Jun 7, 2011 at 8:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

It speaks volumes for our host's tolerance and fair mindedness that you are allowed to peddle your fact-free diatribes here without being banned, snipped or insulted in asides by the moderator, ZDB. As a natural contrarian, you might try posting comments in the same tone, but from a sceptical point of view, on RealClimate (which you will remember is sponsored and run by some of the leading lights in climate science and effectively funded by the US taxpayer through Schmidt's day job at NASA) or Comment is Free, and see how long you last. Also, you might try reading HSI and then debating privately with Mr Montford if you can find any factual errors in it. Either activity would have the incidental benefit of distracting you from clogging up this site.

Jun 7, 2011 at 8:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid S

The basic premise of this 1980s video is that the most important factor controlling climate is albedo rather than the busted flush CO2 theory. That's correct but it's cloud albedo which matters most.

This is where present climate models are very wrong: they use the two-stream approximation optical physic devised by Sagan and others. They got it very wrong. Instead of cloud albedo being controlled by just optical depth [more diffusely scattered light is magically backscattered], there is a second process, direct backscattering, highly dependent on droplet size. That means the albedo of thicker clouds becomes much higher when droplet size increases.

So, the next ice age comes when cloud droplet size increases and stays high. To do that you need a dramatic reduction of aerosol content.

Jun 7, 2011 at 8:34 AM | Unregistered Commenteralistair

But tornadoes haven't increased over recent years. A recent study showed they are declining slightly in spite of higher levels of reported observations.

Jun 7, 2011 at 9:18 AM | Unregistered Commenterferdinand


Would you please be good enough to provide a list of references for and against the proposition for when this documentary was made?.

Jun 7, 2011 at 9:26 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

The video had an aura of wrongness to me, which I won't pursue simply because I don't know enough to do so. However, I do wonder how those rocks that got ground to dust under the glaciers were magically blown about far and wide, re-mineralizing the soil so trees could grow and CO₂ could get sucked out of the atmosphere, making the Earth warm and the glaciers melt.

But, what do I know?


Jun 7, 2011 at 9:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterGary Turner


We are still waiting an answer to Mike Edwards question on the other thread:

ZDB - I'm interested to understand what sort of evidence you think would provide 'effective falsification' of AGW as a theory. Which predictions of the AGW theory would imply the demise of the theory if observational evidence did not match those predictions?

Jun 7, 2011 at 9:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

Can there be any doubt that this little movie will be dusted down and/or remade by the alarmist industry if indeed we are moving into a cooling phase for another 20 years or so? They have seen the PR harm a few cold winters did their cause amongst the public. They have honed their skills as fear-mongers on the hot hot hot scenario, and will easily deploy them on a cold and getting colder one. Consistency and coherence is not a requirement. Nor is integrity. Nor even the basic adult responsibilities of protecting the young from spirit-sapping fears, and of facing uncertain futures with a degree of boldness and confidence.

Jun 7, 2011 at 9:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

I thought current climate rapturists had proved that their 1970's and 80's predecessors had never predicted a new ice age, and any personal recollections of mine from the time, were clearly dillusions on my part

Jun 7, 2011 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Does anyone know who made this film and why? I can find no info on YouTube or the FilmArchive site.

Jun 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterTonyN

Interesting how they used a 5 year period to determine the likelihood of a climate shift, pointing out that 4 out of 5 years crops froze, even a 30 year period is way too short to determine any significnat climate pattern! It may indeed be true that we are heading for a new Ice-Age, we probably are as the last one ended 12,000 years ago now, so why everyone's underwear is being twisted to the point of discomfort about warming I have no idea. Looked as though it was made in the late 80s or thereabouts. I'll enjoy the interglacial for the time being!

Jun 7, 2011 at 10:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

"It speaks volumes for our host's tolerance and fair mindedness that you are allowed to peddle your fact-free diatribes here without being banned, snipped or insulted in asides by the moderator, ZDB."
Jun 7, 2011 at 8:25 AM | David S

I wouldn't be so sure about that if I were you, this isn't the 1st IP address I've used on this site, Andrew's not been above banning the ones I've been using before.

As for fact free, I do generally ignore the more ridiculous or unnecessary requests for responses from me here, like the one from jones at 9.26, but it staggers me that you should imagine my initial post today to be fact-free.

'Survey of 68 Scientfic Studies on "Gobal Cooling" Literature from 1965 to 1979' by Peterson et al (2008) is the definitive work on this. And it's absolutely unequivocal - only 10% of papers at the time predicted cooling, and that number plummeted as the science improved.

Anyone not aware of this, is either displaying bias-confirmation to a very high degree, or is simply being disingenuous. I suspect there's quite a bit of both on show on this website.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

@ Jun 7, 2011 at 9:26 AM | jones

Zed doesn't do facts, references or honesty.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterJustice4Rinka


Yet you have singularly ignored perfectly reasonable requests for dialogue on many occasions in the past as you are well aware.

Don't play the wounded victim at this point.

I am still very happy to engage in private dialogue with you at any time. It would be a very reasonable interaction without attempts to score any points. I once had your stance Zed.

I will predict there will be no reasonable response from you Zed as per the pattern. However, never mind.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

Zed pops up, spraying silly comments and snide attacks, then ducks again, ignoring any requests for answers or communication, no doubt sniggering to itself in it's hand-dug bomb shelter while it stays hidden. Then it repeats its routine. Again and again. I have come to the concluion that engaging with trolls merely inflates their sense of importance, which is actually nil apart from nuisance value.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K


Sorry. Was just trying to be reasonable.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterjones

As a blatant attempt to rewrite both the historical and scientific records, is Peterson et al more or less unequivocal than Mann's Hockey Stick?

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Pierre Lehman - Atmospheric Physicist Switzerland

"There seems to be quite a consensus about the fact that variability of climate is on the increase, and if this is so, the differential Co2 effect becomes more credible than the general warmup that's advocated by those who model climate in computers.
And this is a great service... to consider the whole first, and try to understand how all the parts included into it, like the atmosphere, the oceans, the biosphere, the ice parts of the globe and all these things,
how they interact in order to make the climate understandable."

I don't think it's a more credible theory than the model warmists, more elegant because it tries to address the whole, but credibility would depend on confirmation by observation. I think both hypothesis have cause and effect regarding Co2 backwards.

Jun 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

The global cooling scenario was visible and worrying enough at that time for the CIA to write an alarmist report to the US government, the opening lines which are very redolent of the current AGW bedwetting:

The Western world's leading leading climatologists have confirmed recent reports of a detrimental climate change. The stability of most nations is based on a dependable source of food, but this stability will not be possible under the new climatic era. A forecast by the University of Wisconsin projects that the earth's climate is returning to that of the neo-boreal era (1600-1850) -- an era of drought, famine and political unrest in the western world.

Jun 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford


"just trying to be reasonable"

Most of us have, but it never generates any answers. Best not to try - and I will hold myself to this!

Jun 7, 2011 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

I think the scientificallypolitically correct way to summarise this video would be:

"Global cooling is not inconsistent with global warming"

Jun 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpence_UK

ZDB: I afraid you are wrong. The paper by Peterson showing that warming was a majority concern in the 70s, is proven false by several facts:

1. The paper did not cite Lamb once. He was the leading proponent of cooling, and in fact Lamb founded Hadley as a climate COOLING research unit.
2. Kukla, another leading proponent of cooling (inter-glacial end), was quoted only once.
3. The most damning proof was that Peterson could not find this gem of a paper, in his own organization:

This paper shows how the cooling scare proceeded through several administrations. The zinger is this summary of mine:

1972 - Kukla-Mathews publishes in Science, an article about the end of the current inter glacial. Also writes a letter to Nixon in 1972, specifically warning about global cooling.
1973 - First Climate office started in Feb 1973 (ad hoc Panel on the Present Inter Glacial). This was after a meeting of 42 of the most prominent climatologists, and apparently there was consensus about cooling. Especially as the NOAA, NWS and ICAS were involved.
1974 - Office of Climate Dynamics opened.
1978 -Carter signs Climate Program Act, partly due to the SEVERE WINTER experienced the preceding winter.

4. Nor is this UNESCO conference cited in Peterson's paper:

Cooling was the worry, mate. Peterson was cherry picking his papers.

Jun 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Jun 7, 2011 at 1:59 PM | Les Johnson

So if it's a flawed paper - you'll be able to point me to a published peer-reviewed paper rebutting it. Do you have such a paper, or just a C and P'd list of minor quibbles that don't rebutt anything?

Jun 7, 2011 at 2:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterZedsDeadBed

ZBD: Peterson didn't quote Lamb nor Kukla (but once). Both have published extensively on cooling in the 60s and 70s.


Do you have such a paper, or just a C and P'd list of minor quibbles that don't rebutt anything?

I didn't cut or paste. You didn't read the NOAA paper, either, did you? Naughty boy...

Plus, "rebut" has only one T. Spell check is your friend.

Jun 7, 2011 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Even though you are feeding the troll, I do appreciate your references. Thank you for posting them. They are most informative IF they are read.

I clearly remember the panic some were in back then, worried that the world would freeze into a giant ice ball again. Some even proposed spreading coal dust over the polar regions to help warm the ice and melt it. So I guess increased carbon can be used to increase global warming.

All this 30 or 40 years ago. My how time changes things around.

Jun 7, 2011 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

Just as now, any perceived climate anomaly was regarded in the 1970s as confirmation of the global cooling theory.

From the 1970s CIA report:

One nation after another experienced the effects of the climatic change:

Burma (March 1973) - little rice for export due to drought

US (April 1973) - flood of the century along the Great Lakes

Japan (1973) - cold spell seriously damaged crops

Pakistan (August 1973) - worst flood in 20 years affected 2.8 million acres

China (June 1974) - droughts and floods

India (June 1974) - monsoon late

US (July 1974) - droughts and floods cause record loss to potential bumper crop

Anyone with a combination of reasoning power, and some open-mindedness can see the parallels between these eras -- cultist zealots and other knuckledraggers will still insist that today is somehow different.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:09 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

This video demonstrates the importance of one of the most fundamental tenets of climatology:

Never make predictions that can be tested during your career.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

Look at the author of this gem:

“I have cited many examples of recent climatic variability and repeated the warnings of several well-known climatologists that a cooling trend has set in-perhaps one akin to the Little Ice Age-and that climatic variability, which is the bane of reliable food production, can be expected to increase along with the cooling.” Stephen Schneider, The Genesis Strategy, (New York: Plenum Press, 1976), p. 90

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

For the full CIA report on cooling:

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

One other thing which should also be considered is that climate research was a minor research backwater in the 1960s and 70s with very little funding and very little publicity. Today it receives billions of dollars in funding and has many media outlets ready to publicise whatever it says.
The fact that it was able to get documentaries made and the MSM to publicise the global cooling scare is, by itself, a demonstration of how seriously they considered it a problem.

Zed, if you are considering responding to this could you include a reply to Mike Edwards question in your response please.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterTerryS

National Science bodies were worried about cooling:

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:41 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

1/2 dozen climate scientists were interviewed about cooling in 1974. The consensus was that it was cooling, and it was a bad thing. I also love Schneider's comments on how bad models were.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Cooling causes warming, much as warming causes cooling.

“But as Dr. Lamb pointed out calmly, such heat waves have accompanied every past global cooling and are to be expected. A high-pressure zone blocked warm air and chilled the North Atlantic. Now another high-pressure zone was blocking cold air and bringing extremes of heat into Europe. But such blocks were both symptoms of a cooling climate. Such cooling, he said, ‘means more volatile weather. It will be more hot, more cold, more wet and more dry, just as it was in the seventeenth century.’” Lowell Ponte, The Cooling, (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1976), p. 40 "

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

I think Zed's reference to Sun is brilliant.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterJosh

Look on page 3 of this newspaper. Apparently the NAS issued a report in 1975, worrying about cooling.

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterLes Johnson

Would you agree that climate science should have falsifiable tests for Enhanced Greenhouse Effect, after all, its how real science works?

If your answer is yes then answer this question: Why the failure to measure or detect the tropical lower tropospheric hot spot, as Ben Santer's climate physics work predicted in AR4?

Please (for once) supply references and links and show your own work, not something your mates have provided.

As for your insult to Andrew, well, quite frankly he has been pulled up by bigger guns than you and come off better using accurate facts

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterPete H


Have you any shame? When the Himalayan nonsense was published in the IPCC report, did you look for 'peer-reviewed references' which substantiated that finding? Or when the IPCC said that about half the Amazon will fall off from even a little bit of loss of rain?

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Jun 7, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Les Johnson

Great article. Lots of scares. Less than a degree change. 12% increase in arctic ice area. Famine. Drought. Could be CO2?

The idea of a cooling planet is much more scary than a warming one.

On the basis of the precautionary principle, we ought to maintain CO2 emissions.

Really useful to be reminded about that Peterson paper and the major quibbles though

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:40 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Can somebody remind me exactly what guarantees come with the fact that a paper has been 'peer-reviewed' are please? And who get's the bullet when a 'peer-reviewed' paper is shown to be complete BS?

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Peter H wrote: "ZDB. Would you agree that climate science should have falsifiable tests for Enhanced Greenhouse Effect, after all, its how real science works?"

Peter, you should know that ZDB has already gone on record as saying “Why would a report on the physical science basis be required to contain falsifiable hypotheses?”... (Mar 9, 2011 at 7:56 PM)
...which speaks volumes about his/her understanding of the Scientific Method.

Jun 7, 2011 at 4:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Salt

Rick Bradford @ 8.17:

Classic: More CO2 = global cooling!

Some time back there were a few comments on this blog about an interview that Bill Turnbull and his presenting partner Sian were having with a warmist. This was on the BBC1 morning news show and I think that this happened just after 0900hrs.

At trhe time, the weather was unusually cold and the warmist was asked what was causing this coldness.

Without blinking, the Warmist said.."Global Warming".

Bill and Sian turned and looked at each other with very surprised looks on their faces.

Does anyone else here remember this?

Jun 7, 2011 at 5:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterRETEPHSLAW

Bill and Sian turned and looked at each other with very surprised looks on their faces.

Jun 7, 2011 at 5:17 PM | RETEPHSLAW

Do you think that one or both of them had just won/lost a bet with each other/the producer?

Jun 7, 2011 at 5:43 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I found this 4 part video very interesting. Some parallels with today:

It was alarmist as things are now ( an ice age within 7 years!).
Carbon Dioxide was still the villain but the mechanisms for release were said to be different (de-forestation rather than burning of fossil fuels - although they do get a mention). I guess tree hugging was the very much the vogue then.
The result of excess CO2 was tropical heating but the indirect effect was more snowfall at the poles and a creeping ice cap. This seems to be the main difference to the current hypothesis.

Speaking as a skeptic, I was struck by the similariities of many of the arguments. Only certain key conclusions differed, although quite a few of the processes were the same as those claimed today. A key difference was that the proposed mitigation measures were completely different to those of today's - remineralization of the soil rather than curbs in man made CO2.

Interesting stuff though.

Jun 7, 2011 at 6:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobB

@peter walsh

I remember it too and it was a lady from the Met Office. Just about finally annihilated their credibility in the eyes of zillions of the public. And possibly even a couple in Auntie beeb.

They really really must think we are all stupid.

Jun 7, 2011 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

I'm interested in how well supported the graph near the beginning of the film is. Whatever the cause of the natural cycles turns out to be, if the graph showing 90,000 years of ice age punctuated by 10,000 years of more temperate climate in a fairly regular pattern is anywhere close to being accurate then the next ice age is overdue. The fact that these cycles have been carrying on for millions of years without us suggests that there is little that we can do to stop it if it happens. Of course deliberately flushing our economy down the bog will make it much more difficult to deal with if it does.

Jun 7, 2011 at 7:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Latimer Adler

Thanks for the additional comment. Bill & Sian were flabbergasted by the response from the Met office idiot's response.


Jun 7, 2011 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterRETEPHSLAW


"Spell check is your friend."

Not Zed's. He thinks he doesn't need it.

Jun 7, 2011 at 7:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Cooling or warming is actually irrelevant to the Greens: they can always ditch their current useful idiots and find claims for a negative feedback for atmospheric CO2 (they are out there waiting their moment to come). Greens see CO2 as a by-product of wealth creation which therefore must be resisted.

Take Caroline Lucas (please) at the hay festival where she called for a return to a more simple life when we made do with old clothes, shared baths and grew our own vegetables and stated “we need to stop writing books and get on with it!”

Its a hairshirt thing with added zealots.

Jun 7, 2011 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

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