Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGlobal Warming · 6 months ago

Why do people say scientists claimed in the 70's that the planet would cool when the opposite was the case?

"One of the first projections of future warming came from John Sawyer at the UK’s Met Office in 1973. In a paper published in Nature in 1973, he hypothesised that the world would warm 0.6C between 1969 and 2000, and that atmospheric CO2 would increase by 25pc. Sawyer argued for a climate sensitivity – how much long-term warming will occur per doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels – of 2.4C, which is not too far off the best estimate of 3C used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) today."

"Unlike the other projections examined in this article, Sawyer did not provide an estimated warming for each year, just an expected 2000 value. His warming estimate of 0.6C was nearly spot on – the observed warming over that period was between 0.51C and 0.56C. He overestimated the year 2000’s atmospheric CO2 concentrations, however, assuming that they would be 375-400ppm – compared to the actual value of 370ppm."

15 Answers

  • 6 months ago
    Favorite Answer

    Mainly because, in the 1970s, it was the minority group who said that Earth would cool that people read about in the headlines.

    Even if it was true that scientists had predicted cooling, why would that be relevant? During the last 500 years, more recent science has almost always been more advanced than earlier science. It should be no surprise that climatologists would know more now than they did then.

    • Daro
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Way to avoid the question DUMAS. Why didnt big brother tell everyone we didnt need to give up hairspray or freon or anything to save us from the ice age?

  • 6 months ago

    In science, at any given time, there can be competing hypotheses and theories. The role of scientists is to test those and eliminate the ones that are not accurate descriptions of reality.

    In the 1970s, some scientists proposed we were heading for an ice age based on data and theories. Others proposed the planet would warm.

    They then combined data under the World Meteorological Organisation from multiple nations, launched satellites, stuck buoys in the oceans, took more atmospheric measurements, refined data analysis techniques, built better computational models and eventually were able to confirm the warming hypothesis.

    This is how science works. It gets things wrong until otherwise shown to be wrong. So why is anyone surprised that some scientists 50 years ago were shown to be wrong?

  • 6 months ago

    I am 78 years old and I know what happened back then. We were constantly bombarded with the threat of an Ice Age. For example:

    Life magazine of January 30, 1970, stated: “Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support . . . predictions” such as: “In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution,” and “increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will affect earth’s temperature, leading to mass flooding or a new ice age.”

    Now you say that is not true well then look at this. I don't like to use Wikipedia but sometimes it does give correct information. Just look at what this article about H. H. Lamb, who at the time was the top scientist at CRU.

    Regarding Lamb: "He was known as “the ice man” because of his view that global cooling would lead to a future glacial period within 10,000 years with some abrupt cooling phases occurring "within one to two thousand years".[6]:368 However he also acknowledged that global warming could have serious effects within a century."

    Al Gore was a proponent of the Ice Age back then. Jimmy Hansen programmed computers that predicted an Ice Age. Paul Ehrlich predicted an Ice Age back then, to name a few.

    So you can clearly see that the prominent theory was An Eminent Ice Age. I was alive and aware at the time so don't try to minimize the evil scientist's propaganda.

  • JimZ
    Lv 7
    6 months ago

    Having lived through the 1970s I was quite young but I still was a science geek and I have a memory. I remember the warnings of cooling but I didn't take them too seriously. Nobody talked about warming because the world was COOLING at the time. Finding a few exceptions doesn't mean anything. Alarmists have the worst memory. They always forget their failed predictions and they forget anything that doesn't help the Cause.

    • Daro
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Thats why the change to "AGW we all gonna die" was so obvious to us, oldies. Never heard of any warming threat from the liberal media (which we all thought was mainstream unbiased news at the time). "Solution" tho was the same. Sacrifice living standard, more taxes more regs , to save us all.

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  • 6 months ago

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  • 6 months ago

    TB, only fools will claim that science is always correct. Scientists make educated predictions, based on study. Those predictions are usually complicated and dry, so journalists boil them down for the public, and the public misquotes what they say. Nothing new here.

  • 6 months ago

    Well there was Stephen Schneider warning of cooling:

    No end of popular technology magazines telling us so:

    The Washington Post and New York Times quoting scientists:

    285 science papers:

    More scientists:

    A summary from a well-known sceptic blog added for interest:

    I think all that might have persuaded one or two people.

    • Daro
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      So if the planet was gonna burn up because of CO2 why did we have to give up the "cooling aerosols"? Seems like we shud have started spraying them everywhere. Just like R12 freon. Patents ran out and price was dropping. So we had to give that up as well. Made the original patent holders happy tho.

  • 6 months ago

    Solar activity predicted to fall 60% in 2030s, to 'mini ice age' levels: Sun driven by double dynamo


    July 9, 2015


    Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)


    A new model of the Sun's solar cycle is producing unprecedentedly accurate predictions of irregularities within the Sun's 11-year heartbeat. The model draws on dynamo effects in two layers of the Sun, one close to the surface and one deep within its convection zone. Predictions from the model suggest that solar activity will fall by 60 per cent during the 2030s to conditions last seen during the 'mini ice age' that began in 1645.

    Results will be presented today by Prof Valentina Zharkova at the National Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.

    It is 172 years since a scientist first spotted that the Sun's activity varies over a cycle lasting around 10 to 12 years. But every cycle is a little different and none of the models of causes to date have fully explained fluctuations. Many solar physicists have put the cause of the solar cycle down to a dynamo caused by convecting fluid deep within the Sun. Now, Zharkova and her colleagues have found that adding a second dynamo, close to the surface, completes the picture with surprising accuracy.

    • Daro
      Lv 7
      6 months agoReport

      Botox doesnt seem to see the issue. Lberals dismiss any science that doesnt match their agenda. "AGW settled science, 97% agree, no debates needed....." whatever it takes to get big government even bigger, and Algore even richer (by 15 trillion)

  • Anonymous
    6 months ago

    I think what happens is the sensationalist media scrounges around for any freaks they can find who go against the grain then give them a platform, they are rarely fair and balanced, if they were there wouldn't even be a debate about whether its happening or not, they'd have moved on to the solutions as the scientists have.

  • 6 months ago

    Just as today there are an itsy-bitsy number of scientists who don't believe in global warming, back in the 1970s there were an itsy bitsy number of scientists who believed in global cooling. You'd be hard-pressed to find more than two or three examples of experts who believed in global coolinging

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