Friday, 6 February 2015

Did ‘they’ predict an Ice Age in the 1970s? - not really, it's an Urban Myth

It seems to be a common saying..... but it's very misleading.

"Why are scientists talking about global warming? In the 1970s they were warning us an Ice Age was coming.  They can't expect to be taken seriously if they keep changing their minds."  

It's not as simple as that ... and science has learned a lot since the 1970s.
Muir Glacier, Alaska. Left: August 13, 1941. Right: August 31, 2004.

Credit: 1941 photo taken by Ulysses William O. Field; 2004 photo taken by Bruce F. Molnia. Courtesy of the Glacier Photograph Collection, National Snow and Ice Data Center/World Data Center for Glaciology.

So why does this story keep appearing in so many places?

The magazine "New Scientist" has looked at this myth….
From the article -

A survey of the scientific literature has found that between 1965 and 1979, 

44 scientific papers predicted warming, 

20 were neutral and just 7 predicted cooling.
So while predictions of cooling got more media attention, the majority of scientists were predicting warming even then.
So 'global cooling' was a minority idea, and was never the mainstream idea in science.

Peter Gwynne says 
"The vast majority of climatologists now assure us that Earth's atmosphere is not cooling.  Rather, it's warming up.   And the main responsibility for the phenomenon lies with human activity."

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