Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Vindication for the global cooling alarmists?

"All regions near to or below normal temperature." So reads a report on October 2006 weather from the federal government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (via Drudge).

Is this vindication, at last, for those in big media who warned us of the dangers of global cooling? Some may accuse the global-climate-change-will-lead-to-worldwide-catastrophe crowd in big media of being scare-mongerers who selectively and unskeptically repeat questionable scientific conclusions in order to produce sensational stories. But the NOAA data may provide some evidence that the global-climate-change folks were more right than we knew. Did we let their warnings of three decades ago go unheeded?

Here is what big media was writing:
  • From a June 24, 1974, article in Time entitled "Another Ice Age?":
    [W]hen meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age.

    Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F....

    Whatever the cause of the cooling trend, its effects could be extremely serious, if not catastrophic. Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth's surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years.
  • From a an April 28, 1975, article in Newsweek entitled "The Cooling World":
    There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production – with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth.... The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it.... The central fact is that ... the earth’s climate seems to be cooling down. Meteorologists... are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. ...resulting famines could be catastrophic....

    A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
Update: Apparently my humor is not transparent to everyone. Yes, I understand that one month does not make a trend. And yes, I understand that NOAA essentially believes in global warming. (Here is what NOAA writes on the matter: "Most striking is the fact that each record reveals that the 20th century is the warmest of the entire record, and that warming was most dramatic after 1920.")