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Global cooling, again

Filed under: — group @ 27 October 2006

The ice age is coming, the sun’s zooming in / Engines stop running and the wheat is growing thin /A nuclear error, but I have no fear /’Cause London is drowning, and I live by the river (chorus from London’s Calling, by Strummer/Jones, 1979).

These lines rather sum up the confused media response in the 1970′s (the sun zooming in would *not* be causing an ice age; sea level rise would be associated with warming); engines stop running mixes up the oil crisis. At that time (and particularly the early to mid 70′s) climate science was ambiguous about predicting the future, although the 1975 NAS report summarised the state of the science pretty well: that we didn’t know enough to make useful predictions and needed to study more. And since that time we *have* studied more, with the result that we have some firm conclusions pointing to warming.

But, we’ve done this all before. So whats new?

Not much, but Senator Inhofe has been speaking about climate change again, and predictably enough dredged up the 1975 Newsweek article headed “A cooling world”. Which appears to have prompted Newsweek to re-examine their old article. They concede that the article was so spectacularly wrong about the near-term future but defend themselves with In fact, the story wasn’t “wrong” in the journalistic sense of “inaccurate”, which seems rather self-serving. Whilst the article does manage to reference the NAS report, it does so in a minor paragraph – the headline and most text implies cooling and severe problems with the food supply. Inhofe raises other various stories from way back (see here for more) but fails to point out that a few stories culled from over a century doesn’t compare at all with the media attention nowadays paid to global warming.

The lesson to take from this is the obvious one: not to take your science stories from the mass media if you can possibly find better sources. Which nowadays are readily available: the IPCC report for a solid review of the state of the science; and RealClimate for more topical stuff.


99 Responses to “Global cooling, again”

  1. 51
    Hank Roberts says:

    Olly, ask your librarian for help — you seem to be missing a whole lot of easily found information.
    Just one example, the reports here (each of which has a long list of references that your school or city library can help you find and read):
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2006-10/agu-ajh102606.php

  2. 52
    Roger Smith says:

    Re: 33 and the Oregon Petition Project, we took the time to look up some of the signers in Connecticut.

    “It had some minor credibility problems, mostly automatic ad hominems from the folks who didn’t like the 17,000 or so scientists (predominately) who expressed doubt with GHGs causing global warming. [Though the same folks are fully supportive of the 1200 or so (mostly) politicos who put out the IPCC reports.]”

    We found very few scientists- mainly engineers and grad students, and the scientists were in totally unrelated fields. The only academic climate scientist we found (and contacted) was aghast that his name was on it and asked to be removed. The list doesn’t include city, title, or institution, making it pretty much useless.

    Its scientific neutrality is compromised by a. poor science and b. policy statements like:

    “Mankind is moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from below ground to the atmosphere and surface, where it is available for conversion into living things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and animals as a result of the CO2 increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth with far more plant and animal life as that with which we now are blessed. This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution”

  3. 53
    James says:

    Re #33: OK, I know you all don’t discuss economics here, but I wish that you, or SOMEONE, would try to apply the same sort of rational analysis to the economic issues as this site does to the science. On the one hand, I see statements like “…to cost our economies probably $40 trillion to fully implement Kyoto…”; on the other, I find that my personal anti-CO2 efforts (which range from CFL light bulbs to driving a Honda Insight instead of an SUV or – more likely! – 911 Porsche) mostly wind up saving me money. This disconnect really puzzles me. Can anyone point to sites or sources that discuss it?

    Also re #46: Witches do exist. I’ve known several, and in fact used to date one.

  4. 54
    Richard Ordway says:

    Where I work, this 1970′s idea of global cooling is brought up by the public almost weekly. I personally state that if you read the peer-reviewed journals, that “global cooling” never had even close to a scientific concensus. However, by comparison, global warming in the peer-reviewed journals, has a strong scientific consensus. The difference is between day and night.

  5. 55
    Mark A. York says:

    William those Wikipedia links come up empty. Something may need a redirect. I’ve had to do that often in my work there.

    [Response: I found and fixed one (the graph) that had the sentences full stop in it (wordpress is not as clever as mediawiki) - William]

  6. 56
    lars says:

    I prefer global warming to ice ages….. so did the dinosaursâ?¦. Until those pesky glaciers formed and made much of the earth uninhabitableâ?¦.
    From the research I have seen there appears to be slowly rising co2 from some source even before man that then peaks and for some reason falls rapidly ushering in a new ice ageâ?¦.

  7. 57
    Zeke Hausfather says:

    Re: 53 (James)
    For a good current economic analysis of the costs of climate change and GHG abatement, see the Stern Review by the former chief economist of the World Bank, Nicholas Stern.
    http://www.sternreview.org.uk/

  8. 58
    Timothy says:

    Tim Hughes at #49:

    Yawn, yes, people have measured the isotope ratios for CO2, and there are changes consistent with the increases in CO2 being caused by fossil fuel burning. For example see this RealClimate post which I found by putting the words “CO2″ and “isotope” in the handy search box in the top right of all RealClimate pages. I would have thought that would have been relatively easy to do [and it was].

    Also, if you find the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements [sorry too lazy myself to provide the link], then you find they have also been measuring O2 levels, which show a decrease [presumably due to combustion]. I think you could also find those graphs in the IPCC report [which although now about to be replaced is still an invaluable starting point for climate-related questions. After all if you've thought of it, it's likely that someone else already thought of it and wrote a paper on it...]

    As to the diffusion, thing, well… Lets just say that you are *massively* wrong about there being “very few winds that cross the equator

    The geography textbook picture of the Hadley Circulation has ascent at the equator with the circulation splitting at the top to go north and south and then descending in the sub-tropics, before completing the loop back to the equator in the form of the trade winds. This simple picture would suggest that there are no winds that cross the equator since the winds either meet, divide or ascend at the equator. However, it is a gross simplification.

    Generally speaking the Hadley circulation ascent occurs at the latitude where solar heating is at a maximum. Due to the tilt in the Earth’s axis, this latitude varies, north and south of the equator, during the year. You basically only get one half of the Hadley Circulation at a time, and it *crosses* the equator. No diffusion required.

  9. 59
    Robert says:

    #37 – Typical Northern Hemisphere bias. When it is summer in the NH it is winter in the SH.

    That’s where most of the water is…

    An immediate return to an Ice Age does not look likely.

    cheers,
    Robert

  10. 60
    mark schneeweiss says:

    #44 aargh, i only really meant that it is just about possible, in London, to say ‘an ice age is coming’ (due to Gulf Stream shutdown), whilst sea level is rising (due to a warming world) and ‘london is drowning’.

    Obviously, its a bit of a stretch to suggest Mr Strummer was that expert, although I think he was a very bright bloke.

    My GS shutdown idea was prompted by the mildly surprising news that the GS did shutdown partially, for all of 10 days, in November 2004 (as reported in the British press on friday of last week, based on a report in Nature).

    regards, Mark

  11. 61
    Paul G says:

    ==== Post # 46 said: ====
    A few hundred years ago the scientific consensus was the world was flat and also that witches existed. Looking at it this way makes you wonder what the value of scientific consensus is worth.
    Just my two pennies worthy of comment for what itâ??s worth.
    =========================

    Scientific consensus in modern times has been wrong on issues far less complex then GW.

    One fine example of a consensus being a group of wrong-thinking experts is in the treatment of ulcers. The medical, and scientific “consensus” was that stress, diet or alcohol caused ulcers and that changes to diet, medication, lifestyle changes, and in some instances, surgery, were the appropriate treatment.

    When Drs. Barry Marshall and Robin Warren demonstrated that a bacteria,
    H. pylori, was the cause of nearly all ulcers, their evidence was ridiculed and ignored by the majority of gastroentology specialists and other medical experts for years.

    A consensus can have value and often does; still some uncertainty must be attached to any consensus.

  12. 62
    Rod Brick says:

    A hodgepodge of replies:
    1) It’s fine that this site is not concerned with economics, but individuals should be. Maybe meeting Kyoto would cost far far less than “$40 trillion” if all of the wishful new technology would magically fall into place — highly unlikely though I suppose possible. Short of that it will cost societies a bundle, in the tens of trillions, though any precise estimate can neither be proven nor refuted: “40″ sounded close.
    2) yeah, a few of the 17,000 signatures in The (Oregon) Project were bogus — insignificant; Most, as readily admitted by the sponsors, were credentialed academics but not necessarily from climatology. I think that is much better than the 50% politicos in IPCC (probably 2/3 with some scientific bent, 1/3 just activist hacks — and I’m being generous here.) I think it hurts the credibility of the scientific proponents to support the latter with a yawn and then squeal like a stuck pig because a few of The Project signers have PhDs in Math or History.
    3) While I tend toward the “deniers” (I prefer lay iconoclast) and think this site does too much blind cheerleading, I also think this site is far and away the best, most thorough, and academic climatology site out there. The biases at least stem mostly from scientific inquiry, not gut feel.

  13. 63
    Richard Ordway says:

    # 56 “From the research I have seen there appears to be slowly rising co2 from some source even before man that then peaks and for some reason falls rapidly ushering in a new ice ages”

    First, check this real climate website for “carbon cycle”. Second, how I understand how the carbon is naturally added or taken away from the atmosphere is that the oceans are likely responsible for a huge amount of this natural increasing and decreasing of CO2 naturally.

    If I am not right, someone please correct me. Let’s walk through it.

    We can prove (through ~one million year-old ice cores, ~50 million year old ocean bed sediment cores, 11,800 year tree ring segments, ~200,000 year old lake bed sediment cores, stalagmites and sheer rocks [geochemistry] that the natural carbon cycle goes up and down for at least 320 million years in natural cycles of about 26,000 and 41,000 and 100,000 year cycles and permutations therof. This is due most likely to the Earth’s wobbling (26,000 year cycle), tilting (41,000 years) and changing its orbit around the sun (100,000 years). (The mathematics were worked out around 1917 by Milankovitch)

    This changes the amount of sun energy reaching Earth and where on Earth it hits strongest and during what season. So now let’s warm the Earth up naturally (from the northern hemisphere in this case although it could possibly also start in the southern hemisphere due to a heating equator -makes more water vapor and moving the pacific warm pool, which might change ENSO “part of El Nino” which might change high low pressure systems which might change warming winds around Earth, etc.).

    No matter what, the sunlight hitting the Earth changes according to at least these three natural cycles of 26,000 years, 41,000 years and 100,000 years. Now Earth starts warming up a little in the northern hemisphere, in this case. Ice melts and exposes dark land and dark ocean. Now, 90% of sunlight is absorbed by the dark surfaces instead of 90% being reflected. the atmosphere and ocean heats up a little.

    1. The warmer ocean cannot hold as much CO2 (like a warm pop drink), and more CO2 stays in the atmosphere acting as an increasingly thick greenhouse gas and the tempeature increases even more.

    2. With the warming, huge ice sheets melt and the winds subside alot (when formerly cold, the ice caps would force the cool wind to suddenly get cold, descend and pick up speed. The formerly cold winds used to carry dust. It contained iron. Plant plantkon ate the iron and massively expanded in the oceans. Plant plankon also absorbs CO2 out of the air (it is a plant) and sinks to the bottom carrying CO2 with it. 70% of the Earth’s surface is ocean.

    In this process, the equator gets warm, drastically increasing water vapor, which is a warming greenhouse gas and possibly changing the position of the pacific warm pool.

    Now the permafrost (covering ~ 20% of the Earth’s land surface) gets warm. It holds a heck of a lot of CO2. Permafronst largely consists of frozen plants up to 8000 feet deep. Afterall, plants absorb CO2 and release it when they die…even if it is 11,000 years later. So if you warm up the permafrost…you release a lot of CO2.

    Another completely different way to increase CO2 and cause global warming is to naturally increase carbon dioxide by having volcanoes about the size of the United States that last for 100,000s of years that dump what is called flood basalts up to sometimes an estimated 18,000 feet deep (siberian traps for example). Volcanoes now dump about 1% of the CO2 every year into the atmosphere that humans do. Carbon 12 to carbon 13 isotope ratios tell us this.

    Volcanoes then according to many peer-reviewed journal articles such as Geology, Science, Nature, Geotimes, Oceanography, etc., possibly caused CO2 levels to drastically rise and very possibly caused catastrophic global warming leading to four out of five of the Earth’s mass-extinctions.

    New geochemical evidence of this is being discovered from a long-sought missing link- …ie. biomarkers of anaerobic bacteria (chlorobiaceae) that also had to have sunlight to live -biomarkers such as isorenieratane.

    The proposed CO2 kill mechanism is that volcanoes produced CO2. CO2 caused warming. Oceans could not “hold” 02. 02 normally keeps massive amounts of nasty hydrogen sulfide bacteria and hydrogen sulfide at a “chemocline” layer in the ocean…hydrogen sulfide is normally destroyed by mixing with 02. The warm ocean surfaces don’t sink- so o2 does not go into the ocean at the poles. Hydrogen sulfide level (chemocline) rises to the surface killing most O2 breathing life below it. An ocean mass extinction now results.

    Hydrogen sulfide enters the atmosphere in massive amounts and reacts with (destroys) O2 taking a fatal amount of O2 out of the atmosphere. Now a mass extintion starts on land due to anoxia. Hydrogen sulfide reacts with the ozone layer (O3)(a form of oxygen) and depletes it to the point much life now dies also due to ultra violet radiation (UV) and now a mass extintion results. Possible evidence of this has been found through altered fossil spores that resemble current UV-damaged fossil spores.

    Geochemical evidence indicates that this process on Earth probably starts at around 1000 PPM CO2 in the past.

  14. 64
    Paul Tremblay says:

    re # 63. It wasn’t just that a few of the signatures of the Oregon Petition were bogus. See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_petition

    As wikipedia points out, the petition can’t be taken seriously because virtually *none* of the signatures could be confirmed.

    Here is what wikipedia says about the attached article to the Oregon petition:

    The senior author of the article was Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, a biochemist (not a climate scientist) and a Christian fundamentalist. The second and third authors were Drs. Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Both of these individuals have strong ties to the George C. Marshall Institute, which has taken a skeptical position on global warming since the 1980s and has received extensive financial support from the oil industry. The fourth and final author was Zachary W. Robinson, Arthur Robinson’s 22-year-old son.

    Here’s what it says about the signatures:

    One newspaper reporter said, in 2005:

    In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided. Why the lack of transparency?

    You make it sound like all but a few of the 17,000 signatures could be confirmed, when in fact, virtually none of the 17,000 could be.

  15. 65
    Tom Fiddaman says:

    Re 62

    The biases at least stem mostly from scientific inquiry, not gut feel. This statement is somewhat ironic given that you seem to have picked a number by gut feel, “40″ sounded close. Nevertheless $40T is not wildly off if you take the highest cost estimates you can find and multiply them by a 100 year horizon with no discounting. But then you should be comparing the $40trillion to global GDP over that period, which would be on the order of 100x as big.

    Bogus signatures on the Oregon Petition were not insignificant, they were the norm. I once did a spot check of about 100 phds myself. After winnowing out hopelessly common names I was left with a sample of about 30, out of which I was only able to identify one as having remotely relevant credentials (a meteorologist as I recall).

  16. 66
    Jim Cross says:

    RE 63

    I’ve read this scenario before about astronomical influences triggering CO2 release that leads to warming and melting.

    Does the scenario work in reverse during cooling?

    Cooling triggers oceans to absorb C02, causes ice to accumulate. Wait a minute! I thought CO2 was largely responsible for the warming. How did the cooling begin with all that CO2 in the atmosphere?

  17. 67
    James says:

    Re #65 and previous: Seems to me another problem with the $40 trillion or so estimates is that there’s too much opportunity for funny accounting, which counts costs but not benefits, and places numbers in different columns of the ledger depending on the goal of the person making the estimate. To go back to the personal for an example, the “economist” who wants a high number for the cost of addressing GW looks at me buying a Honda Insight (about $20K new) instead of a Hummer ($90K?), and says Aha! Chalk up that $70K difference as a cost of global warming!

  18. 68
    David (Average Joe) says:

    Re #63
    Thank you Richard. You have allowed me some more understanding of this very complexed subject. I am trying to decipher the Anthropogenic component of GW. By your account that spans eons, Anthro influences have in the past (at least pre industrial revolution) been minimal. And further back than 6M years ago been non exsistent since by all accounts man was non exsistent.

    To the respones I got to my #40 post, I thank you. I gleamed some more insight from the graph labelled “Global Carbon Cycle” which is at the following link. http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html .

    If I’ve done my math correctly, and if the graph has valid data, then the current Anthropogenic contribution to CO2 emmisions is 2.863%. Can someone enlighten me if I am incorrect in assuming that if all 6 billion humans ceased to exist tomorrow, global CO2 emmisions would reduce by only 2.863%.

    [Response: Well, you are only about a factor of 10 wrong. Anthropogenic CO2 is around 30% of current concentrations - but even if emissions ceased today, you wouldn't return to pre-industrial conditions for thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of years. See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/calculating-the-greenhouse-effect/ and http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/how-long-will-global-warming-last/ - gavin]

  19. 69
    David (Average Joe) says:

    Thanks for the feed back Gavin but the below is a direct cut and paste from the link you posted which refutes a conclusion like mine.

    POSTER: “Therefore, the probable effect of human-injected carbon dioxide is a miniscule 0.12% of the greenhouse warming”. RESPONSE: That’s just 0.03*0.0365 of course – but even that is calculated wrong (it should be 0.11% by my calculator). But from our numbers, it would be between 3 and 8%.

    Yikes there’s that pesky 3% number again.
    I’m still wondering about cyclically high levels of CO2 that have been record in ice sheets etc. that pre date man which had nothing to do with industrial emmissions. Perhaps some of that CO2 has been hanging around for the “hundreds of thousands of years” you quoted.

    [Response: 3% to 8% of the total greenhouse effect (that's around 33 C and growing). The ice age cycles in CO2 are principally due to CO2 coming into and out of the ocean - those timescales go up to around 1000 years or so. However, we are not taking CO2 out of the ocean, we are adding it in to the system from fossil fuel reserves. This is 'new' carbon and the final balance will only occur when that new carbon has been removed completely - the timescale for that is deep carbonate sequestration and chemical weathering which is on the order of 100,000 years. The best proof of that is from the PETM (55 million years ago) where it took about that long to remove the spike of carbon associated (possibly) with a huge methane clathrate event. -gavin]

  20. 70
    David (Average Joe) says:

    I’m catching on now. Anthropogenic emissions are new introduced carbons that have been sequestered in fossil fuels and have not been introduced into the atmosphere until recently. In the past ( pre industrial revolution) naturally occuring events (like the possible methane clathrate event you mention) were the cause of high CO2 build ups.

  21. 71
    Jim Cross says:

    Re #69, #70

    I’m still not quite catching on.

    Yes, I think anthropogenic CO2 is increasing CO2 and is having a warming influence.

    If we could eliminate human influence, I think that CO2 is a secondary player in the bigger picture of climate change. In other words, it augments warming when it rises and augments cooling when it falls. It isn’t the main player driving the cycle.

    Whether we have entered some new cycle because of human influence is still an open question.

  22. 72
    David B. Benson says:

    Re #71: Jim Cross, I am not sure what you mean by ‘some new cycle’, but as I know understand the matter, even if all extra carbon dioxide emmisions ended today, it would still take about 100,000 years to get rid of it. This leaves open what the influence of a ‘main player’, orbital forcing, is going to be over that time. In particular, the next good chance of an ice age starting is in about 50,000 years. So maybe that ice age won’t start. The next good change is in about 100,000 years. So maybe that one will. (But note the next two good changes are in 600,000 and 650,000 years into the future…)

  23. 73
    Blair Dowden says:

    Re #68: I think you are confused between the human contribution to the annual carbon cycle, and our contribution to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere during the past century.

    The annual transfer of carbon dioxide between the Earth’s surface and oceans, and the atmosphere, is about 200 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon per year. That means 200 Gt C both enters and leaves the atmosphere, as shown in the chart you linked. The human contribution to that cycle is about 7 Gt, or about 3.5% of the total.

    However, the human portion is in addition to the pre-existing natural equilibrium. About half of that extra carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere each year, while the other half is absorbed by the land and oceans. That is why the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen by about 30%, as Gavin said.

  24. 74
    David (Average Joe) says:

    Re #73
    Hello Blair,

    Here’s a quote from your post:

    “However, the human portion is in addition to the pre-existing natural equilibrium.”

    I understand you mean one day to the next for equilibrium.

    The long term graphs I’ve looked at of the earth’s natural cycle doesn’t suggest that there ever has been an “equilibrium”. Here’s a graph:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Co2-temperature-plot.png

    One thing I am wondering about on this graph is that it appears that the trend is: The Earth Warms. CO2 Increases shortly thereafter. The Earth Cools. CO2 decreses shorly thereafter. I didn’t have my reading glasses on when analyzing it, so I wondering if my interpertation of this trend, according to the graph, is correct.

  25. 75
    David B. Benson says:

    Re #74: David (Average Joe), my understanding is that your interpretation is correct. According to orbital forcing theory, ice ages have started and then the carbon dioxide follows (down) a few hundred years later. Reverse that when ice ages end. But over shorter intervals, there used to be a quasi-equilibrium, excepting for volcano super-eruptions, etc.

  26. 76
    Jim Cross says:

    Re #72

    My choice of words “new cycle” was poor.

    What I was trying to say is that we find ourselves in one of two circumstances:

    1- We are still living in a interglacial and eventually – maybe a long time in the future – glaciation will begin again.

    2- Human influences have fundamentally altered the pattern and we are in new territory.

    By the way, I haven’t seen much discussion about Muller’s theories that it is orbital inclination and possibly space dust that has been driving climate for the past million years or so. Even if he is right, it doesn’t mean an ice age is right around the corner, but it might mean it is a little closer than some of the postings on this site might lead one to believe.

  27. 77

    Re #22 (Coby):

    >… the time period for which 1998 (or 2005) was a record.
    >It is for sure a 150 year record,

    This is correct (if we consider that the distribution of observations, especially those of sea surface temperature, has been adequate to estimate the global mean since the middle 19th century).

    >almost definately a 500 year record, probably a 2000 year record,
    >likely a 12000 yr record, likely a 125Kyr record.

    These are possible and there seems to be no clear evidence against them, but they cannot be strongly claimed either.

    This personal view of mine is supported by the concluding remarks of the report by a committee chaired by G.R. North, which I think the best review available today concerning this point.

    National Research Council, 2006: Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years. Washington DC: National Academy Press.

    This is still in press, but its preprint is available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11676.html .

    The report concludes that we can say that the last part (a few decades) of the 20th century is warmest in the last 400 years with high confidence, and that it is “plausible” (though we cannot put quantitative confidence) that it is warmest in the last millennium, but that it is much less certain to mention a certain single year as the warmest in the millennium.

  28. 78

    #17 (Tim Dannell) reminded me ….

    Global warming due to waste heat was indeed one of the subjects of speculations, besides global cooling, in the 1970s.

    I happen to have a Japanese edition of this book …
    Wilcox, H.A. 1975: Hothouse Earth. New York: Praeger.
    This is a popular (not professional), somewhat alarmist, but serious outlook of global warming due to waste heat and of its consequences.


    More interesting are the professional works of Mikhail Budyko, one of the most active climatologists in the Soviet Union then.

    As commented by Spencer Weart to Gavin’s article here on 28 June 2006 ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/06/geo-engineering-in-vogue/ ), he suggested in 1974 to inject aerosols in the stratosphere to mitigate global warming. But global warming by what? I was surprised when I checked what he actually said in his books “Climate and Life” (Russian 1971(*), Japanese 1973, English 1974(*)) and “Climatic Changes” (Russian 1974(*), Japanese 1976, English 1977(*)). I had read them in the 1980s, but did not read these parts so carefully then.

    (For the references marked with asterisks(*) here, see Weart’s bibliography at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/bib.htm .)

    In these books, Budyko tried to discuss climate of coming centuries. His outlook for the rest of the 20th century was dominated by global cooling due to anthropogenic aerosols (though it was by no means certain). But he considered that global warming by waste heat (which would grow in an exponential manner) would dominate in the late 21st century. Perhaps he assumed that nuclear fusion would become practically available to fulfill unfettered demand of human society. He did not ignore CO2 as a factor leading to warming, but he thought that most of anthropogenic CO2 would not accumulate in the atmosphere.

    In the former book he just cursorily mentioned a possibility to control warming by adjusting the “dust” loading in the atmosphere. In the latter book he suggested the idea more seriously, with explicit mention to sulfate aerosols in the stratosphere. It seems that he learned a lot from SCEP(*) and SMIC(*) reports which were both published in 1971. In “Climatic Changes“, he also emphasized necessity of careful assessment about adverse effects of (deliberate as well as inadvertent)
    climate modifications.

    In his later book “The Earth’s Climate: Past and Future” (Russian 1980, English 1982 published by Academic Press, Japanese 1983), his focus moved to CO2. He collaborated with Ronov, a geochemist who made inventory of carbonate rocks, to reconstruct the history CO2 level in the last 600 million years. It seems that this work provided him better insights of the carbon cycle, and that it also convinced him of the importance of CO2.


    Budyko also had pointed out the possibility of “snowball earth”-type catastrophe with a simple climate model (Russian 1968(*), English 1969(*)). Probably it contributed somewhat to the “zeitgeist” of global cooling. But the model was that of steady states, and the “catastrophe” here is a concept rather mathematical. This model is not quantitatively realistic in itself at any time scale, but has some relevance in the problem of glacial cycles at the time scale of tens of thousand years. It is probably not relevant to his centennial-scale outlook.

  29. 79

    By the way, William also mentions a popular lecture by Isaac Asimov in 1974 at his web site …
    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/sci/iceage/asimov.html .

    I was surprised at the one-sided view on climate change Asimov presented, because he had described global warming due to anthropogenic CO2 very accurately (in hindsight) in a popular non-fiction book “Is Anyone There?” published by Doubleday (New York) in 1967. (I read its Japanese edition as it was published in 1968, and perhaps this was my first source of knowledge about the role of CO2 in the earth’s climate.)

    In Chapter 13 “Evolving atmospheres” (note: this title is my back-translation from the Japanese version), he described the atmosphere of Venus (utilizing then quite new information obtained by spacecrafts), and explained why it is so hot by “the greenhouse effect”. In the last part of the chapter he mentioned the (then) recent growth of CO2 content in the earth’s atmosphere, and warming and sea level rise as its probable consequences. As far as natural science goes, it is remarkably similar to such present-day popular articles that are faithfully based on the reports of IPCC WG1. In his cursory remarks about (what we call) adaptation and mitigation, however, Asimov’s stance seems to be that of a science fiction writer.

    I do not think that he forgot this logic by 1974 (though he may have forgotten the fact that he himself wrote it). Surely he was influenced by someone (perhaps Reid Bryson) who said that the effect of “dust” would be overwhelming.

  30. 80

    Re #71 and “Whether we have entered some new cycle because of human influence is still an open question.”

    That the current warming is largely anthropogenic is not really an open question at all. It’s thoroughly established at this point by something like 1,000 different peer-reviewed studies, taking into account all kinds of Earth-system phenomena. The debate is over among scientists; global warming is happening, and we’re doing it.

  31. 81
    Tim Evans says:

    It is clear to me that modern humans have no real concept of what cyclic behaviour our planet undergoes and what controls it, with or without modern civilisation impacts. Interestingly Australian aborigines, who have the longest known human recorded history (observations passed down the generations), tell of yearly cycles consisting of two to eight seasons based on wet,dry,hot,cold and wind, a 10-12 year cycle, a 100year+ cycle and an even longer 10000years+ cycle that is known only as fire or ice.
    Not to long ago it was ice age……. must be nearly fire age then. Anyone sweating? Not me! :)Tim

  32. 82
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: Comment Response to #69

    Dr. Schmidt;

    Would it not make more sense to “recycle” the Carbonate rather then sequester it. After all it is not only the Carbon you are removing from the atmosphere; but, oxygen as well. (Yes, I am considering Methane production at 1/2 the energy value of Petrol.) If the additional carbon was removed from the surface of the planet would there be enough to support the current human population and the likely expansion of the population in another 43 years? How much surface carbon must be present to meet the demands of the human population or the rest of the Biosphere and at what population densities? References regarding these questions are welcome?

    Dave Cooke

  33. 83
    Robert Punzalan says:

    All this debate about global warming vs global cooling is a clear symptom of the state of climate science. All claims not withstanding …

    CLIMATE SCIENCE DOES NOT YET HAVE A SUBSTANTIAL SCIENTIFIC ROBUSTNESS BEHIND IT.

    An important criteria for a scientific theory is that it make testable and measurable predictions. After decades of debate and thousands of papers all we have are computer models that cannot even correctly predict the average temperature at a given locality next year.

    Scientists who have criticized the computer models that the global warming side present are invariably painted as oil-industry lackeys or are pointed to so called validations of the model that are not validations at all. If the science is good, why the need for ad-hominem attacks? Why don’t the climate scientists just accept that they do not yet understand the science well enough to make valid predictions? Why the haste among climate scientists to push for a political agenda based on flimsy science?

    Every year, we see measurements that do not support the climate models at all. Do climate scientists accept that the models are probably incorrect? No, they insist that there is some “forcing” or an “oscillation” or an “unpredictable anthropogenic input” or some other spur of the moment made-up jargon which when taken into account will make the model correct. Or so they claim. They get back to their computers, tweak the models and lo, and behold, the models now predict the temperatures correctly since 19-forgotten up to the latest measurement. Of course, the predictions for the succeeding year will not be correct again and the iteration continues ad-infinitum. This is not science, this is charlatanism. If that is all climate science has going for it then it should just close shop and insert itself under mathematics as an exercise under the chapter on polynomial interpolation.

    Climate science can end the debate on global warming right now. All it needs to do is publish a prediction that will predict the temperature in selected areas, say Greenland or Antarctica for the next ten years and then let us see how well it does. To make the test valid, a different party will select the areas to be tested, not the creator of the models. Either do that or admit climate science does not yet have much science behind it. NASA can build a spacecraft and send it to a target on Jupiter millions of miles away. Accurately; right down to the millisecond. Can climate science do something similar?

    If it cannot, then work on the science first and leave public policy and political agendas to the politicians.

  34. 84
    Grant says:

    Re: #83

    All this debate about global warming vs global cooling is a clear symptom of the state of climate science.

    Do you actually believe that there *is* a debate about global warming vs global cooling, except in the imagination of denialists? There isn’t; that’s the whole point of the post.

    An important criteria for a scientific theory is that it make testable and measurable predictions. After decades of debate and thousands of papers all we have are computer models that cannot even correctly predict the average temperature at a given locality next year.

    Back in 1988, James Hansen made three predictions of future global average temperature. He stated that his “scenario B” was the most likely trajectory, while scenarios “A” and “C” were unrealistically hot/cold, but possible if unexpected forcings were greater or less than predicted. It’s now 2006, and what has happened since then? Hansen’s predicted scenario “B” turned out to be right.

    I suspect you won’t accept any conclusions from climate science until GCM models can correctly predict the final score of the 4th game of the 2017 world series.

  35. 85
    Coby says:

    Robert Punzalan, please read the following:
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/there-is-no-consensus.html
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/03/models-are-unproven.html
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/03/we-cant-even-predict-weather-next-week.html
    http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/05/consensus-or-collusion.html

    That is just for the first half of your post. The second half is just you projecting your own ignorance of the state of climate science and GCM’s onto a very different reality.

  36. 86
    Dan says:

    re: 83, which I suspect is another “drive by” posting.

    The content of #83 is simply anti-science and the scientific method. The fact that the writer refers to a “debate” about climate is prove of that. The peer-reviewed science is unequivocable.

  37. 87
    Joel Shore says:

    Re #83: “If it cannot, then work on the science first and leave public policy and political agendas to the politicians.”

    Who is to judge the state of the science? The scientific community has already weighed in on the state of the science. There is, for example, the Joint Statement by 11 national science academies including the U.S. National Academy of Science. One might guess that these folks might be better qualified than you to determine what the state of the science is.

    You are, in fact, the one who is politicizing things by trying to take the judgement of the science away from the scientific community and pull it into the political realm.

    The culture wars involving the teaching of evolution show that there are always some people…even enough to have signficant political clout…who will not accept science and will claim until hell freezes over that scientific doubt still exists when the science conflicts with strongly held beliefs. We see the same thing happening in regards to climate change.

  38. 88
    Wacki says:

    Just in case the good people of this forum don’t want to take William Connelly on his word, I bought a copy of the 1975 NAS climate action report. Scans of the forward are at the bottom of the blog post:

    A Wooden Stake in Newsweek’s Global Cooling Heart

  39. 89

    Re #83 and “Every year, we see measurements that do not support the climate models at all. Do climate scientists accept that the models are probably incorrect?”

    What measurements are we seeing that do not support the climate models at all? What are you talking about? Care to give some specifics? The only measurements I’ve seen are the ones that confirm the models, except where the models turned out to be too timid! I have 120 years of time series data for CO2, sunspots and mean global annual surface temperatures, if you’re interested.

  40. 90
    Angi says:

    If the sun were “turned off,” the temperature of the atmosphere would be with only 28°C above absolute zero, viz.-245°C. With the sun and the “greenhouse gases”, but without water, the average temperature on earth would be of- 11°C (resulting from a daytime mean temperature of approximately +135°C and a nighttime temperature of approximately-175°C). The moon provides such conditions at night. CO2 would delay the cooling towards the absolute minimum only for a short time. Its functioning on earth is not so much different.

  41. 91
    John Finn says:

    Back in 1988, James Hansen made three predictions of future global average temperature. He stated that his “scenario B” was the most likely trajectory, while scenarios “A” and “C” were unrealistically hot/cold, but possible if unexpected forcings were greater or less than predicted. It’s now 2006, and what has happened since then? Hansen’s predicted scenario “B” turned out to be right.

    Is it? I’d say Scenario C is closer to the reality – particularly when you consider that JH included random volcanic eruptions in his models. Pinatubo in 1991 was the last one. If the models were re-run with the correct timing of volcano eruptions there would be even more divergence from actual measurements.

    [Response: Not so. Look at the latest results - the divergence is minimal. Your eye is drawn to periods where there is an apparent divergence due simply to the interannual noise - results from Scenario B and C don't diverge in a statistically significant sense for a number of years yet. - gavin]

  42. 92
    Robert Punzalan says:

    Do you actually believe that there *is* a debate about global warming vs global cooling, except in the imagination of denialists? There isn’t; that’s the whole point of the post.

    According to Mr. James Hansen himself, there is a debate. See here. While the article was written years ago, the same situation still applies today. Or maybe you haven’t heard of Lindzen, Lomborg and Sen. Inhofe? (Of course, according to your views, these people don’t count because they are stupid or oil-industry lackeys, right? Do you understand the meaning of the term ad-hominem?)

    I find views attacking me as anti-science and lumping me with the fundamentalists rather funny because I happen to have a BS degree in Physics and am an atheist. I am not active in physics any longer since my primary work now is IT related and not physics.

    But, since when has a debate about some point of science considered to be anti-science? Debates are part of science, and whether you like it or not, it is part of the way that science grows. There was a debate about whether nebulae are composed primarily of gasses or composed of stars. There is a debate today about string theory vs standard theory. There are heated debates about Everett’s Multiverse interpretations of quantum mechanics vs the Copenhagen interpretation of Born et al. These are all natural signs of the evolution of scientific knowledge.

    Curiously (from my point of view) there is no unscientific emotionalism nor ad-hominem attacks in the debates on quantum mechanics and string theory. No one smears the Copenhagenists as fundamentalists nor the Everettians ever been labelled as left-wing wackos. Why?

    [Response: You might want to spend some time on the physics blogs. Those string theorists fight dirty. - gavin]

    Because, so far, string theory has not been invaded by politicians nor by people with hidden political agendas. Maybe if the environmentalists and the opposite side hold off from their finger pointing, their accusations, their name-calling and their ad-hominem attacks some real science may actually be made.

    Make no mistake about it, there is a climate change debate and these scientific debates occur because the knowledge is not yet robust nor complete enough.

    What measurements are we seeing that do not support the climate models at all? What are you talking about? Care to give some specifics?

    I can give at least one. The cooling of the oceans is something that the models have not anticipated.

    New scientist

    Real Climate.

    Opinion piece.

    But nevermind that surprising news, right? Because according to you, if the ice-sheets melt then of course the oceans should cool somewhat. Yeah, right. Hindsight is rather perfect, isn’t it? Still, the models didn’t anticipate this.

    [Response:The oceans are on a long warming trend- the latest numbers just moderated how much warming there has been. Interestingly, the Hansen piece you point to above actually predicted that the oceans were going to be warming (in 1997) years before the data came out (2001). ]

    There are other measurements that do not agree with climate models. I am just too lazy to find the references.

    Now, before you pull your hairs out in frustration and start attacking me as a global warming denier, perhaps I should tell you that I believe there is global warming. Yep, thousands of years ago, there was an ice age and our present time is a warm age. I also believe that we are not yet at the end of that warm age and that further warming is expected.

    However, I am not convinced that global warming is caused by human activities. I believe most dire projections of catastrophe and disaster are sensationalist and not supported by the current state of knowledge in climate science. The anthropogenic contribution is where, I think, most of the debate is. Global warming is a fact. What causes it is still under debate.

    You are, in fact, the one who is politicizing things by trying to take the judgement of the science away from the scientific community and pull it into the political realm.

    The Kyoto Protocol is in the realm of Politics and not science. Maybe you don’t agree but there is nothing scientific about the Kyoto Protocol because it is not the scientists who will implement it and force it upon the population but the politicians. Before pushing the Kyoto Protocol down the throats of the millions of an unwilling population perhaps you should ask first if there is enough science to back it up?

    The Kyoto Protocol is not like the low-fat diet protocol. While there is still a debate about the the role of fat in health, doctors are all too willing to recommend the low-fat diet protocol because even if the science is not yet clear, there is, at least, no long term nor short term deleterious effects of the diet. Can you honestly say the same thing about the Kyoto Protocol?

  43. 93
    Grant says:

    Re: #92

    You state:

    According to Mr. James Hansen himself, there is a debate.

    Nobody I know denies that there is a debate about global warming, principally over whether or not it’s caused by human activity. But this is *not what you said*. From your first post:

    All this debate about global warming vs global cooling is a clear symptom of the state of climate science.

    Yes, your original post referred to a debate about global warming vs global cooling. That this is a fallacy is the point of the post. When I mention this, you refer me to an article by James Hansen regarding the debate about global warming in general. You’d make a much better impression if you simply admitted your mistake.

    Ironically, you yourself later state

    Global warming is a fact. What causes it is still under debate.

    Probably the most revealing part of your latest salvo is this:

    Or maybe you haven’t heard of Lindzen, Lomborg and Sen. Inhofe? (Of course, according to your views, these people don’t count because they are stupid or oil-industry lackeys, right? Do you understand the meaning of the term ad-hominem?)

    I never mentioned any of them (neither did *any* of the respondents to your post), and never called anybody “stupid” or “oil-industry lackey” (neither did *any* of the respondents to your post). You’re trying to put words in my mouth, then insult me for them! Do YOU understand the meaning of “ad hominem”? How about “straw man”?

    [Response: To all participants in this conversation. No more discussion about who insulted who. Stick to the science or get deleted. -gavin]

  44. 94
    Hank Roberts says:

    Robert, I hope you didn’t adopt that low-fat recommendation too quickly and assume there was no downside without reading up on it. For example:

    Low cholestrol, serotonin and violence
    Monday March 16 6:19 PM EST Low Cholesterol Linked To Violence
    NEW YORK (Reuters)–Lowering cholesterol could trigger changes in brain …

    http://www.advancedhealthplan.com/lowercholestrol.html

  45. 95
    Mike Frost says:

    The Clash are showing the depth of their understanding by chorusing, “The ice age is coming”. This is a snarling prophecy that the Gulf Stream, which brings warm waters to the British Isles and keeps our winters mild, might shut off. If Greenland’s ice sheet melts then the massive freshwater flow will interrupt the Gulf Stream, and we would be plunged into a temporary ice age.

    And the rest of the album London Calling can be heard as a punchy green scream – Brand New Cadillac is a warning about gas guzzlers, Lost in the Supermarket warns of the grocersâ?? monopoly and food miles, while Four Horseman is a menacing warning about our carbon-consuming lifestyles – “Four Horsemen [of the Apocalypse] and it’s gonna be us”.

    Well, that’s one way of looking at it, anyway.

  46. 96

    Re #91 and “Yep, thousands of years ago, there was an ice age and our present time is a warm age. I also believe that we are not yet at the end of that warm age and that further warming is expected.”

    You may be a physicist, but you’re no astronomer. Tracking the Milankovic cycles which govern ice ages, the Earth should now be COOLING, not WARMING. So “we’re coming out of an ice age” doesn’t cut it.

  47. 97
    Tim Evans says:

    On the contrary, Milankovic cycles predict we are now close to the peak of a warm period (see link). Aborigines also say we are in a warming period due to their observations of their environment (based on plant blooming and animal behaviour)
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7e/Milankovitch_Variations.png

  48. 98

    Re #97 and “On the contrary, Milankovic cycles predict we are now close to the peak of a warm period (see link). Aborigines also say we are in a warming period due to their observations of their environment (based on plant blooming and animal behaviour)
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/7e/Milankovitch_Variations.png

    I checked out your link and found one chart on a time scale of hundreds and thousands of kiloyears. It doesn’t have the resolution required to make the kind of statement you made. In any case, note that the present interglacial has now gone on far longer than average. I stand by my point — in the absence of growing greenhouse gases, the Earth would be cooling, not warming.

  49. 99
    Tim Evans says:

    Ref 98# ” ”
    I believe the graph has enough resolution to substantiate my claim. But hey, show me something better or any proof to back your comments and you might be able to convert me. Problem with all this is its so subjective, “in the eye of the beholder”. Objectivity needs time to occur, as the aborigines know only too well.

    [Response: There is nothing subjective about orbital forcing. It's one of the most well calculated terms in the whole field. Look at Figure 1 in Schmidt et al (2004) - It has the insolation change from 6000 yrs BP to the present. There was more insolation then in NH summers (by about 20 W/m2 for Jul 60 N) and in the annual mean, slightly less in the tropics (about 5 W/m2 in the annual mean) and an increase in late autumn insolation in the Southern hemisphere. Google for more info. - gavin]


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