1970’s Global Cooling Concern, A Myth?

After being in the environmental field for quite some time now, you can imagine that I have had my fair share of “Global Warming” debates. One of the most commonly used lines I hear from the global warming skeptics is, “These scientists can’t get their facts straight, first they said global cooling back in the 70’s and now they say global warming, which one is it? This just goes to show you that they don’t know what they are talking about.”

Until recently, I never really researched this common belief among global warming skeptics. A few months back, I found that only a hand full of journalists from the National Geographic, Times and the New York Times reported on this “global cooling” issue, but it was pure speculation as to the reason for the unusually cold decade. It was NOT a scientific consensus that global cooling was happening and that we would soon see a second ice age, it was basically journalistic speculation from a few key sources.

As Thomas Peterson from the National Climatic Data Center recently pointed out, only 7 of the 71 peer-reviewed scientific articles regarding climate issues between 1965 and 1979 supported the global cooling theory, while 44 of them actually predicted global warming (the last 20 were neutral at assessing climate trends). Peterson’s study not only focused on the peer-reviewed scientific articles of the time, but on the news media coverage of the issue as well. Peterson found that as in the scientific community, there was NO consensus on global cooling among journalist either.

A senior fellow in environmental studies, Pat Michaels, explained that what really happened in the ‘70s was that a few scientists were trying to explain the reason for the sharp cooling from the mid ‘40s to the mid ‘70s. They explained that excess pollution in the atmosphere was preventing solar radiation from hitting earths surface. Michaels further explained that, “At the time, scientists thought the cooling effect of pollution was greater than the warming effect of carbon dioxide.”

While most global warming skeptics believe that the prevailing scientific consensus of the late 70s predicted a new ice age, the facts show that this simply is not true. Global warming was the dominant subject in the peer-reviewed literature of the time. Even in the mid ‘70s the majority consensus of climate scientists, predicted global warming due to excess carbon dioxide, and this still holds true today.

Via USA Today

Posted in Global Warming.

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