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Global Cooling Consensus Not A Myth

2008/10/08 22 comments

Timely but alas flawed contribution by Thomas Peterson of NOAA, William Connolley of the British Antarctic survey and science reporter John Fleck, reporting on the “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” about the apparent lack of peer-reviewed papers predicting global cooling, between 1965 and 1979 (it’s reported here in Nature’s Climate Feedback blog).

Unfortunately, it really does look like Messrs Peterson, Connolley and Fleck simply have not looked well enough… or have conveniently restricted their search just enough to miss a 1961 article describing a Global Cooling consensus among scientists at a meeting supported also by…the American Metereological Association.

The article, written by Walter Sullivan for The New York Times (cited by Peterson et al. for his 1975 climate-related articles), refers to a 5-day Conference co-chaired by Rhodes W. Fairbridge of Columbia University and Charles G. Knudsen of the United States Weather Bureau, in the January of 1961.

Perhaps the AMA’s own archives could clarify what climatologists exactly talked about at the time.

Notably, the 1961 Conference is described as as varied and multidisciplinary as any today. And yes, scientists at the time were aware of the “greenhouse effect” of carbon dioxide.

UPDATE OCT 10: Nigel Calder’s comment was particularly interesting, so I managed to find online the Proceedings of the 1961 UNESCO Symposium he was referring to. The contents do appear to indicate a global cooling consensus, as suggested, that was important enough to be mentioned in the concluding Lecture.

Global Cooling Consensus in the Past: the Evidence

2008/10/05 9 comments

Much has been written both in favor and against the notion that in the 1970’s, the consensus among climatologists was that “global cooling” was on its way (strangely, foretelling similar disasters as with “global warming” nowadays, including refugees in the millions, crop failures, droughts and extreme weather throughout).

So far the evidence is inconclusive, so perhaps there was not really a consensus, in the 1970’s, as much as a willingness for news media to latch on anything mentioning refugees in the millions, crop failures, etc etc (thereby explaining why global warming has vastly beaten Pamela Anderson in popularity).

Here’s a little new contribution then: global cooling consensus from 1961.

SCIENTISTS AGREE WORLD IS COLDER; But Climate Experts Meeting Here Fail to Agree on Reasons for Change – By WALTER SULLIVAN
January 30, 1961, Monday – Section: BUSINESS FINANCIAL, Page 46, 1326 words
The New York Times
After a week of discussions on the causes of climate change, an assembly of specialists from several continents seems to have reached unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder

For those with no access to Times Select: Sullivan was reporting about a weeklong meeting of “specialists from several continents” reaching “unanimous agreement on only one point: it is getting colder“. Techniques at the time included “observation with earth satellites“, “palinology” (pollen studies), “dendrochronology” (tree rings’) and “the deciphering of ancient oriental scripts“.

So it appears the one thing we have lost, 47 years later, is those “oriental scripts”…

Theories presented were about “celestial mechanics“, “changes in the transparency of the atmosphere“, “changes in the sun” and a cycle of ice/no-ice conditions in the Arctic. Note how nobody tried to blame humans: this was before 1968, the year leftist thought lost its hope on humanity along with Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy.

Sullivan does mention greenhouse gases, but also studies from Sweden, the USA and the USSR that “would seem to weaken the contention that industrial smoke can alter the climate“.

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One wonders now if there’s ever been a climatology conference where the participants reached the one missing consensus: that about a “global thermostat keeping the climate as it’s ever been”.

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