Time Magazine flip flops on Global Warming
.____GREEN link below
June 24th, 1974
In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims.
During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries.
In Canada’s wheat belt, a particularly chilly and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest.
Rainy Britain, on the other hand, has suffered from uncharacteristic dry spells the past few springs.
A series of unusually cold winters has gripped the American Far West, while New England and northern Europe have recently experienced the mildest winters within anyone’s recollection.
As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval.
However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when 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.
Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data.
When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere,
they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since.
Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.
Scientists have found
other indications of global cooling.
For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds —
the so-called circumpolar vortex—
that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world. Indeed it is the widening of this cap of cold air that is the immediate cause of Africa’s drought.
By blocking moisture-bearing equatorial winds and preventing them from bringing rainfall to the parched sub-Sahara region,
as well as other drought-ridden areas stretching all the way from Central America to the Middle East and India,
the polar winds have in effect caused the Sahara and other deserts to reach farther to the south.
Paradoxically, the same vortex has created quite different weather quirks in the U.S. and other temperate zones.
As the winds swirl around the globe, their southerly portions undulate like the bottom of a skirt.
Cold air is pulled down across the Western U.S. and warm air is swept up to the Northeast.
The collision of air masses of widely differing temperatures and humidity can create violent storms—
the Midwest’s recent rash of disastrous tornadoes, for example.
The changing weather is apparently connected with differences in the amount of energy that the earth’s surface receives from the sun.
Changes in the earth’s tilt and distance from the sun could, for instance, significantly increase or decrease the amount of solar radiation falling on either hemisphere—thereby altering the earth’s climate.
Some observers have tried to connect the eleven-year sunspot cycle with climate patterns, but have so far been unable to provide a satisfactory explanation of how the cycle might be involved.
may be somewhat responsible
for the cooling trend.
The University of Wisconsin’s Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth.
Some scientists like Donald Oilman, chief of the National Weather Service’s long-range-prediction group,
think that the cooling trend may be only temporary.
But all agree that vastly more information is needed about the major influences on the earth’s climate.
Indeed, it is to gain such knowledge that 38 ships and 13 aircraft, carrying scientists from almost 70 nations,
are now assembling in the Atlantic and elsewhere for a massive 100-day study of the effects of the tropical seas and atmosphere on worldwide weather.
The study itself is only part of an international scientific effort known acronymically as GARP
(for Global Atmospheric Research Program).
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.
The earth’s current climate is something of an anomaly;
in the past 700,000 years, there have been at least seven major episodes of glaciers spreading over much of the planet.
Temperatures have been as high as they are now only about 5% of the time.
But there is a peril more immediate than the prospect of another ice age.
Even if temperature and rainfall patterns change only slightly in the near future in one or more of the three major grain-exporting countries—the U.S., Canada and Australia —global food stores would be sharply reduced.
University of Toronto Climatologist Kenneth Hare, a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society, believes that the continuing drought and the recent failure of the Russian harvest gave the world a grim premonition of what might happen.
“I don’t believe that the world’s present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row.
Spreading fear and panic
sells magazines and motivates
people to do things without
thinking them through.
Fear stops the
EARTH DAY LINK IN GREEN
35 Inconvenient Truths:
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 drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now.
The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas – parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia – where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support
of these predictions has now
begun to accumulate so massively
that meteorologists are
hard-pressed to keep up with it.
In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.
During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree
– a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation.
Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.
To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather.
The central fact is that after
three quarters of a century
the earth’s climate
seems to be cooling down.
Meteorologists disagree about
the cause and extent of
the cooling trend,
as well as over its specific
impact on local weather
But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century.
If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.
“A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,”
warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences,
“because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”
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.
To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading.
Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras –
and that the present decline
has taken the planet about a
sixth of the way toward
the Ice Age average.
Others regard the cooling
as a reversion to the
“little ice age” conditions
that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 –
years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery.
“Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,”
concedes the National Academy of Sciences report.
“Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered,
but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”
Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century.
They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere.
These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas.
The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases – all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
“The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.”
Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.
They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed,
such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers,
might create problems far greater than those they solve.
But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies.
The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.