Sunday, January 23, 2011

Data interpreted both ways.

Contrary to claims of many modern Holocene denying climate hysteriacs, the 1970s did have a number of writers who beleived that the world was going to cool down. Among these were Stephen Schneider, the founder of the Climate Project at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He wrote:

" 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

Notice that Schneider says climate variability is caused by the cooling. Schneider eventually became a global warming alarmist but back in the 1970s when he wrote the above, he also wrote:

"The Dramatic importance of climatic changes to the world's future has been dangerously underestimated by many, often because we have been lulled by modern technology into thinking we have conquered nature. But this well-written book points out in clear language that the climatic threat could be as awesome as any we might face and that massive world-wide actions to hedge against that threat deserve immediate consideration. At a minimum, public awareness of the possibilities must commence, and Lowell Ponte's provacative work is a good place to start." Book jacket endorsement of Lowell Ponte's, The Cooling, (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1976)

I point this out to show that at that time the hysteria was on cooling, at least as far as Schneider was concerned. I also point this out to verify that this book was within the mainstream of climatological thought at that time. This makes the following passage from Ponte's book interesting, at least to me.

In countering the claim that a heat wave disproved global cooling, Ponte relates:

"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 hihg-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

Back then global cooling explained everything, hot, cold, wet or dry. Cooling was everything.

But today things are soooo different. we are so much better. Today global warming explains cold, hot, wet and dry.

The alarmists have just changed horses, not the need for alarm.

Here is the concluding statement from a climate blog advocating global warming alarmism.

According to the scientists at NOAA, the extreme weather of 2010 may very well be the “new normal.” Hotter, colder, wetter, drier. And way beyond inconvenient.

Yep now instead of global cooling causing every kind of weather imaginable it is now global warming. As Ecclesiastes says, there is nothing new under the sun.

Even academic literature is littered with the idea that global warming is a universal causation of everything, hot cold, wet and dry.

" Our
results indicate that fine-scale snow albedo effects influence the
response of both hot and cold events and that peak increases in
extreme hot events are amplified by surface moisture feedbacks.
Likewise,we find that extreme precipitation is enhanced on the lee
side of rain shadows and over coastal areas dominated by convective precipitation. We project substantial, spatially heterogeneous
increases in both hot and wet events over the contiguous United
States by the end of the next century, suggesting that consideration of fine-scale processes is critical for accurate assessment of
local- and regional-scale vulnerability to climate change"

Noah S. Diffenbaug, et al, "Fine-scale processes regulate the response
of extreme events to global climate change," PNAS, 102(2005):p. 15744

That article was edited by Stephen Schneider.

"Conservation group WWF has blamed climate change for the coldest August in Sydney for more than 60 years.
The freezing temperatures are proof of the urgent need to cut carbon pollution, according to WWF development and sustainability program manager Paul Toni."
"We can expect more extremes in climate," Mr Toni said.

"A senior engineer from National Climate Center, Ren Fumin told Beijing Times:

"The severe coldness this winter can be called an extreme weather event. The direct reason for this is the atmospheric circulation anomaly. The main reason is the emergence of new EI Nino Phenomenon caused by global warming."
"Weather expert: Extreme cold weather in N China caused by global warming" January 7, 2010

As if no El Nino's ever occurred before the 1900s. What a laugh.

"'Even though this is quite a cold winter by recent standards it is still perfectly consistent with predictions for global warming,' said Dr Myles Allen, head of the Climate Dynamics group at Department of Physics, University of Oxford." Richard Alleyne"Snow is consistent with global warming, say scientists" The Telegraph Jan 23, 2011

The article this is from has the following as the teaser,

"Britain may be in the grip of the coldest winter for 30 years and grappling with up to a foot of snow in some places but the extreme weather is entirely consistent with global warming, claim scientists." Richard Alleyne"Snow is consistent with global warming, say scientists" The Telegraph Jan 23, 2011

But cold as well as hot as well as wet as well as dry can be due to global cooling or global warming, whatever explanation is needed.


  1. Cooling; warming, what does it matter. The agenda is to rob Peter to pay Paul. The Paul's of the world are starting to get a little pissed at all this denial by all of you Peter's. So all you Peter's stop being Dick's and pay up or the earth will end.

  2. Actually between 1965 and 1979 there were 42 peer reviewed publications discussing global WARMING versus only 7 predicting global cooling.

    In the 1970's the focus was on understanding the relatively new concepts around global climate. The science was in its infancy. The mid-century "cooling" (1940's-1970's) was being investigated (now largely thought to be a temporary depression due to aerosols), but early models were relatively clear on the role of greenhouse gases as a driver for warming.

    Geologists, quite apart from the future were looking into understanding the past and what caused glaciation in the past and how those cycles might play out through earth's natural course.

    As early as 1965 the Presidents Science Advisory Committee was talking about human-caused global warming. Keeling's CO2 data was becoming available showing an increase in something we knew to be a greenhouse gas.

    Even the "mid-century cooling" event was seen as early as the mid 1970's to be dominated by northern hemisphere temperature readings whereas southern hemisphere temperature trends were showing warming. As one would expect from an impact from industrial pollution.

    In short: during the 1970's there was little consensus as to an overall global "cooling" or oncoming ice age. There may have been very limited speculation and certainly popular press coverage (Newsweek and Time), but the dominant science, even then, seemed to be focused on the very real possibility of global warming.

    I cannot recommend enough reading Peterson 2008 (

  3. I have read Peterson AND read books published in the 1970s including Schneider's book, proclaiming a coming cooling. Those books can't be ignored for the sake of a pre-digested conclusion.

    And I must comment. I didn't say there was consensus in the 1970s. There wasn't. But consensus isn't science. That is dogma and religion. Only religion requires consensus.

  4. Actually I didn't make any comment on "consensus" but your initial paragraph did seem to draw attention to the general ideas of the time, as if that had some bearing on the discussion (I believe you wished to point out how at the time the "hysteria" was on "cooling" and that the book on cooling was within the "mainstream of climatological thought"), so I merely pointed out that there were actually very few people actively predicting cooling as compared to those who were discussing warming when it came to the science.

    But more appropriate to the point: while it is true that consensus is not a basis for science, it is equally true that a robust and well-developed hypothesis can be expected to generate a consensus.

    Otherwise the only thing the "agw skeptics" would believe is stuff that no one believed in (otherwise they'd risk being part of a dreaded 'consensus') :)

  5. Yes, you did say something about consensus. See your Jan 27th post. I suspect that post was yours also but since you are anonymous you are free to deny it.

    "In short: during the 1970's there was little consensus "

    My interest in the people who were arguing for global cooling is that they were making the same kind of government control arguments, the same kind of idiotic arguments as made today by warmists. Al Gore and others say that warming will cause cooling. Back then the coolists were saying that cooling would cause warming. If cooling and warming can both predict that anything will happen, then one doesn't actually have a theory.

    The guy who wrote the cooling book, is someone in the same position as Michael Shermer, who runs a skeptics magazine. That was who Lowell Ponte was.

    And Stephen Schneider was in a very influential position when he wrote his book on global cooling, The Genesis Stragegy. His arguments for cooling and the effects it would have were identical to his arguments for what warming would cause. And he thought both needed governmental action. Clearly he was wrong about cooling, but why then should we believe that he became smart enough to know what to do about warming?