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Yet More Evidence Of Global Cooling Consensus In 1961

As pointed out by Nigel Calder in a comment to my “Global Cooling Consensus Not A Myth” blog, UNESCO hosted in October 1961 a Symposium on Climate Change.

The Proceedings of that Symposium indicate the existence at the time of a general (mild) consensus about world temperatures getting cooler, thereby confirming what reported by Walter Sullivan in The New York Times at the end of January that very same year. And thereby also further undermining the results of the Peterson, Connolley and Fleck paper “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus” in the Bulletin of the American Metereological Society.

(Yes: I do know that Peterson et al claim to be referring to the 1970s. However, they did include, or claim to have included, the analysis of all scientific research from 1965 onwards, a mere four years before the Symposium here discussed took place)

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First of all, many thanks to renowned science popularizer and formed editor of New Scientist Nigel Calder for writing this comment:

In October 1961, following the US meeting you describe, the World Meteorological Organization and UNESCO organized an international Symposium on Changes of Climate, in Rome. The discussions were led by H.H. Lamb of the UK Met Office, who went on to found the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

The dominant theme of the meeting was the threat posed by the all-too-evident global cooling to world food supplies. The proceedings were published by UNESCO (Arid Zone Research Series XX, 1963).

I know all this because I was at that symposium. An advantage of old age in this subject is to know just how often the global warmers try to rewrite history, in the Orwellian way.

From Mr Calder’s information, I have managed to find the whole Proceedings of the Symposium on Changes of Climate with Special Reference to Arid Zones online:

CHANGES OF CLIMATE Proceedings of the Rome Symposium organized by Unesco und the World Meteorological Organization – ARID ZONE RESEARCH – XX
Published in 1963 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

The 473-page PDF is here, for a total of around 45MB.

Admittedly, it is easy to miss something in a document so big, but I am fairly confident the following are the most relevant findings for the present discussion (note that “some 115 scientists from 36 countries took part in the symposium“):

(page numbers in the following refer to the PDF’s, not the original)

(1) At page 182, an intervention by E. Kraus of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Mass., U.S.A., commenting a presentation by J. Murray Mitchell Jr. United States Weather Bureau, Washington, D.C.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the evidence presented by Dr. Murray Mitchell, Dr. Rodewald and some of the other speakers is the way in which it falls into a pattern. Not only air temperature, but also subtropical rainfall, the tendency of hurricanes to move along certain tracks or seasurface temperatures, show a reversal of the preceding [warming] climatic trend during the last one or two decades. The true physical signiñcance of Dr. Murray Mitchell’s result lies perhaps in the combined evidence, based on so many different variables.

(2) On the same page, another comment by C. C. Wallén of the Swedish Hydrological and Meteorological Office

I wish also to state how much I agree with Dr. Kraus that this downwards trend in temperature should be considered significant from a physical point of view although it may not be so from a statistical point of view. It certainly renders itself extremely well to studies of the relationship between changes in climate elements on one side and fluctuations in the general circulation

(3) From the presentation mentioned above, at page 162, “On the World-Wide Pattern of Secular Temperature Change” by J. Murray Mitchell Jr.

it has been extremely difficult by this means to avoid the conclusion that the warming trends [up to the 1940s] for the world as a whole, and for the Northern Hemisphere in particular, are truly planetary in scope. On the other hand, it cannot yet be demonstrated in this way beyond a reasonable doubt that the net cooling since the 1940s has likewise been planetary in scope. That this cooling is of such nature, however, seems reasonable and this should be verifiable if the cooling in the data areas were to continue for another decade or two in the future.

(4) C. C. Wallén must have been a scientist of repute, as he was asked to take care of the concluding lecture for the Symposium, “Aims and Methods in Studies of Climatic Fluctuations” (page 449), that included this:

All authors have been able to show, by using records dating back to the end of the eighteenth century that the warming up of large parts of the world from the middle of the nineteenth century until recently has been statistically significant. However, as pointed out especially by J. M. Mitchell and also shown for sea temperatures by M. Rodewald this increase in temperature has recently declined. The decreasing trend is significant if we consider the last 20-50 years or even further back but may lose most of its significance by applying several of the statistical methods commonly used to show fluctuations during a longer period.

There we have it then: several speakers presenting work on “a reversal of the preceding [warming] climatic trend” about which everybody atteding the Symposium appeared to be “physically” sure but “statistically” less certain. Still, they thought it reasonable for that aspect to be considered valid too.

Is that enough for a “global cooling consensus”? I think it is.

  1. knightrain
    2012/02/12 at 13:35

    The fear of global cooling was enough for two scientists to warn Pres. Nixon at the White House, and for researcher, Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Stanford, to write a book, Population Bomb, that predicted billions of people would die in the 1980s because the globe would be too cool to grow enough crops to feed everybody.

  2. 2009/10/04 at 13:44

    I remember lots of talk about new ice ages in the 1970s – all of it in Astounding Science and similar SF mags. Usually as the topic of a short fictional story. . .

  3. Murray
    2009/09/27 at 17:29

    I was alive & well & in Canada during the 60’s. I don’t recall much talk at all about global cooling, especially in the way it is discussed, emphasized, & excepted by most intelligent people around the world today. Besides, should the discussion really be about the folly’s of “crying wolf”, or about actual evidence & confirming events -such as disapearing ice etc.?

  4. Luke Warmer
    2009/05/26 at 11:14

    Maurizio – I think it’s dangerous to use the word consensus around any of this. Consensus currently means “as decreed by the IPCC” and so is not really a scientific criterion.

    For my comments on the stoat’s paper see:

    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2009/03/were_number_1.php#comments

    Their slight of hand was to shift the “they said in the 70s it was going to cool” comment to “there was a peer-reviewed consensus that it was going to cool” before demolishing that straw man. No need to compound their approach by referring to “consensus” – the key point is the uncertainty at the sharp end, until identikit computer code came along to ‘prove’ it only one way.

    • 2009/05/26 at 14:13

      Luke W

      If you play a game and you see your opponent cheating, one way to reset the situation is to show what that cheating is about…

      If you check on Stoat now you will see Mr C admit that the consensus in the 1960s and (much of the) 1970s was that the world was cooling. And there has been no reply to my challenge on where “global cooling” has been defined in the “number 1” paper.

      One would be forgiven to think as the pinnacle of naivety (or its opposite), the attempt to disprove a myth without bothering to properly define what that myth is supposed to be…

      It’s good anyway to see that I haven’t been the only soul seeing C’s “straw man” for what it was… 8)

  5. 2008/10/18 at 22:39

    Tony wrote this:

    “I’m not attempting to mislead anybody. In 1974, Calder did speculate about an Ice Age in his documentary. Some scientists agreed with him. In the decades since then he appears to have convinced himself that this was something comparable with the current mounting consensus on global warming.”

    LOL,

    Here you make it clear that Nigel Calder believes that there is a COOLING TREND.

    So actually you failed to disprove a global cooling consensus.That OMONOLOGOS claimed in this blog posting.

    Those few scientists who agrees with Calder also has to believe in a global cooling trend too.Otherwise speculating on an impending ice would not make sense.

    Please wake up.

  6. 2008/10/18 at 22:30

    Tony Sidaway writes:

    “sunsettommy, clearly you’re not familiar with the format and purpose of Question Time, a fairly common institution in Parliamentary systems. Those questions are intended to facilitate open communication of government positions on important questions. Thus from the above we get the position of the Met. Office in 1974 on climate change.”

    This is what I specifically wrote about the lack of details:

    “That is all we read.No details offered to support their claim.Just an opinion statement.”

    Meaning that opinions does not work well when someone wants to factually advance a claim.

    Then you write this:

    “I’m not attempting to mislead anybody. In 1974, Calder did speculate about an Ice Age in his documentary. Some scientists agreed with him. In the decades since then he appears to have convinced himself that this was something comparable with the current mounting consensus on global warming.”

    I was writing about that

    “Secretary of State for Defence” stated,

    “I am advised by the scientists in the Meteorological Office that there have been no changes in the climate, or in factors affecting it, in recent years which suggest that an ice age might be imminent.”

    But if you go back to what OMNOLOGOS posted.He plainly shows that many scientists were concerned about a COOLING TREND.Not about an ice age.

    Nigel Calder in the 1970’s was in agreement that there is a cooling trend.Just as most scientist of the day believed.The main point of OMNOLOGOS posting.Nigel went further by discussing future ice age possibilities.

    So actually you have again failed to prove that there was no cooling consensus.In fact there are plenty of evidence to show that there was indeed a real cooling trend worldwide in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

    So why not drop your attempt to DEFLECT and allow for the possibility that yes back in the 1960’s.There was a possibility of a cooling trend believed by almost everybody who was a scientist on the climate.

    Your attempt to bring up a government official is a really funny way to inject what was NOT commonly considered in the mid 1970’s.

    “§ Mr. John I am advised by the scientists in the Meteorological Office that there have been no changes in the climate, or in factors affecting it, in recent years which suggest that an ice age might be imminent.”

    HE IS TALKING ABOUT AN IMPENDING ICE AGE POSSIBILITY!

    Not at all what this cooling consensus blog was even considering.It was all about if there was a cooling trend consensus or not back in the 1960’s.

    Here is the title again:

    Yet More Evidence Of Global Cooling Consensus In 1961

    LOL

  7. 2008/10/12 at 22:29

    sunsettommy, clearly you’re not familiar with the format and purpose of Question Time, a fairly common institution in Parliamentary systems. Those questions are intended to facilitate open communication of government positions on important questions. Thus from the above we get the position of the Met. Office in 1974 on climate change.

    I’m not attempting to mislead anybody. In 1974, Calder did speculate about an Ice Age in his documentary. Some scientists agreed with him. In the decades since then he appears to have convinced himself that this was something comparable with the current mounting consensus on global warming.

  8. 2008/10/12 at 16:21

    I notice that not one of the excerpts from the PDF you posted.Stated that we are going into an ice age.

    They were only talking about a COOLING trend.

    Tony’s attempt to create a diversion with his ice age prediction link is a common one.An attempt to mislead what the scientists of the 1960’s and 1970’s were saying.

  9. 2008/10/12 at 16:09

    From Tonys article:

    “Meteorological Office (Ice Age Predictions)”

    A tiny interview that is all opinion and bereft of any science details.

    Plus the man’s interviewed title is:

    “Secretary of State for Defence”

    This man refers to the “I am advised by the scientists in the Meteorological Office that there have been no changes in the climate, or in factors affecting it, in recent years which suggest that an ice age might be imminent.”

    LOLOLOL,

    That is all we read.No details offered to support their claim.Just an opinion statement.

    Not only that it is all misleading anyway.Since the bald predictions that we are going right into a new ice age.Was rarely made.It was mostly a product of the late 1970’s and that the media was fanning it.Recall Lowell Ponte’s book THE COOLING (I read that by the way in the late 1970’s).Where he pushed the idea that evidence showed ice ages can be full blown in a little as a decade.

    The scientists of the 1960’s and 1970’s were concerned about the obvious cooling trend.That it was causing problems for agriculture and power production.Significant Ice age discussions showed up late in the 1970’s.Right about the time the cooling trend stopped.

    I find this part ironic.In the view of what are being said to day.About a catastrphic warming is underway today.

    “Viewed generally, however, the climatic fluctuations in recent years have been no greater than those experienced in recent centuries, and there is little to suggest that extreme weather events are more frequent now than in the last 1,000 years or that there has been any significant downward trend in temperature that might presage an ice age.”

    Todays warming trend is no faster than the one from around 1920 to 1940.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  10. 2008/10/12 at 15:51

    Tony seems to have forgotten that Nigel was not a climate change skeptic in the 1960’s,1970’s and 1980’s.

    I was there in the late1970’s.Reading books about the then much talked global cooling.A number of scientists were indeed saying that the cooling trend is a concern.

    They were indeed concerned about it.

  11. 2008/10/12 at 06:44

    thank you Tony. Finally something to talk about!

  12. 2008/10/12 at 04:59

    It seem the documentary was written by none other than our friend Nigel Calder, the climate change skeptic!

  13. 2008/10/12 at 04:55

    In my previous comment, I described David Stoddart as a one-time Chief Whip. I apologise for the error. He was in fact a government whip from 1975 to 1978, but not to my knowledge the Chief Whip.

  14. 2008/10/12 at 04:53

    Cthulhu is correct. The attempt to construct some kind of narrative of a global consensus on global cooling (whether in the fifties, sixties or seventies or any other recent decade) falls short for lack of convincing evidence. I do believe that somewhere I’ve seen a citation from British Hansard (the Parliamentary record) in which a question was asked in the House of Commons. However this seems to have been the zenith of the whole speculation.

    Ah, here it is!

    Mr Stoddart in that exchange is David Stoddart, MP for Swindon, Labour Party. Although in 1975 he accepted the post of Chief Whip, I believe he was a backbencher at the time he asked this question, in 1974.

    Mr John is Brynmor John, also a Labour MP, at that time a junior Defence minister in Harold Wilson’s government. The Meteorological Office is part of the Ministry of Defence.

    So basically somebody asked a question based on a highly speculative television documentary.

    I haven’t made a comprehensive search so there could be other mentions of global cooling. However that is the citation I have seen touted around.

  15. 2008/10/12 at 00:45

    You are right Cthulhu. There were no computers in the 1960’s, only computing machines. No vehicles in the Middle Ages, only people-carrying wheeled “things”. And just a couple of climatologists in the 1950’s, all the others were climate-studying persons not interested in CO2.

  16. Cthulhu
    2008/10/11 at 21:30

    Saying the Earth is cooling is not the same thing as predicting it will continue doing so. A global cooling theory analagous to today’s global warming theory would predict significant future cooling, not simply note cooling had recently happened.

    Did the Earth cool over the period 40s-60s? Yes. Was it thought to continue for the forseeable future? I see little from that 61 article suggesting those scientists believed so, they didn’t even seem to agree on the cause, let alone whether it would continue.

    In contrast today it’s easy to pull quotes from leading scientific bodies like the AGU and AMS that not only state the world is warming but also additionally (and this is the imporant part) attribute the warming to a cause that means that warming will continue for the forseeable future.

  17. Michael Asher
    2008/10/10 at 15:35

    > “Whether one defines those who held that view as a consensus or not becomes a matter of semantics”

    Very true…and the same thing can be said of today. Is there a “consensus” that catastrophic AGW is occurring? Very few peer-reviewed papers state this explicitly, though thousands of popular articles seem to attest otherwise.

  18. David_Ws
    2008/10/10 at 13:49

    I, too, remember the 1960’s and 1970’s. As a PhD student in 1968, I used to kid my friends that they would soon need fur coats as global cooling and a new Ice Age was upon us. I cannot now remember the exact sources of my information, but they would have been popular scientific journals. I have no doubt that there was a group of scientists at that time who believed and put forward the view that there was substantial global cooling occurring. Whether one defines those who held that view as a consensus or not becomes a matter of semantics, but at the time I have no recollection of them being denounced as a fringe group. I do find this attempt to re-write history very disturbing.

  19. 2008/10/10 at 07:04

    Tony

    I agree, your comment is pathetic. I have put links, names, papers, comments, quotes, etc etc whilst all you can do is make unsubstantiated statements. Feel free to read one or two of the articles I have provided URLs for, and good luck in backing up your stance.

    And by the way: there is no need to “accuse” you of misreading. The evidence is plain for all to see: you state that I presented a “reference to a single paper”. In reality, I have referenced two papers, one of which is the concluding Lecture.

    Unless of course you consider unimportant the concluding Lecture where the main results are summarized and groundwork established for the future (more about it later).

    I’d say, since Wallén found it important to mention the “decreasing trend” in the concluding Lecture, that’s all more the reason to believe the participants to the 1961 UNESCO-WMO Symposium agreed the world was getting cooler.

  20. 2008/10/10 at 03:54

    This is rather pathetic. Yes, I know you’ll accuse me of misreading everything, but you have here presented one or two comments and a reference to a single paper as evidence for a consensus on global cooling.

    The misinterpretation of J. Murray Mitchell Jr.’s comments is particularly laughable.

    Pull the other one.

  1. 2012/03/21 at 01:35
  2. 2012/02/05 at 06:48
  3. 2008/10/15 at 13:07
  4. 2008/10/15 at 13:06
  5. 2008/10/15 at 13:04
  6. 2008/10/10 at 00:39

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