Friday, May 20, 2011

Another Ice Age?-Time Magazine-Monday, Jun. 24, 1974

The following is from an actual Time Magazine article:

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.

Man, too, 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.

Climatic Balance. 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. Warns Hare: "I don't believe that the world's present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row."

Hmmm! Sure is a good thing we invented carbon emissions to stem the tide of the coming ice age.

Guess it worked.


Lone Ranger said...

The lefties never tire of being wrong. Here\'s More.

Joe said...

LR: Good article!

Z said...

1974!! Isn't that about the time of Zero Population Growth?
Come to think of it, I wonder what's slowed down the green-weenies on THAT subject? (oh, ya...they're still trying to kill babies, I forgot)

Ducky's here said...

It's clear that none of us here has the knowledge to evaluate the science properly. Myself, since carbon energy sources are depleting it makes sense to conserve and implement alternatives. Just a smart move to hedge our bets.

What absolutely baffles me is why the right believes they have a complete understanding of this issue. The mere idea that we might have to alter out energy use just gets them in high dugeon.

Mustang said...

What absolutely baffles me is why the right believes they have a complete understanding of this issue. The mere idea that we might have to alter out energy use just gets them in high dugeon [sic].

This is the classic example of the straw man argument, since no one I’m familiar with “on the right” thinks they have a full understanding of the impact of climate factors. In fact, the opposite is true. The right argues, “Since we don’t have a depth of science, then we cannot say for certain whether human behavior affects earth climate.” Of course, Ducky is smart enough to know this too, but his communist ideology renders him incapable of engaging anyone in intelligent conversation. This is why he continually relies on factual distortion and outright lies: it’s his only opportunity for meaningful human contact.

Dan said...

"It's clear that none of us here has the knowledge to evaluate the science properly."

Apparently, neither does Time Magazine.

Dan said...

What absolutely baffles me is why the right believes they have a complete understanding of this issue.

This is of coarse a two way street.

Ducky's here said...

Well, there's a very clear difference, mustang.

The right is, in effect, saying that a proper response to possible warming, pollution and hydrocarbon depletion is to just keep on keeping on. Drill, baby, drill.

What me, worry? Of course if you feel there is no need to alter behavior then in fact you completely reject the oppositions warnings. Even you can figure that out.

Have a discussion? Joe, is a drill baby drill type of guy and I asked him if, accepting for the time being the gas hikes are a supply problem, do we have a shortage of crude or a shortage of gasoline. Cue the crickets.

Mustang said...

Ducky, it is impossible to give credence to the opposition’s warning when the uninformed left continues to belabor an issue that has no basis in fact. It is plainly and simply, junk science. You are free to subscribe to irrationality, but stop embarrassing yourself by insisting that we join your clown circus.

Lone Ranger said...

Carbon energy sources are NOT depleting. The U.S. has more oil and gas reserves than the entire Middle East. But, libs won't let us drill for it. The entire "green" energy movement is based on lies -- like the one about carbon energy sources being depleted.

Sure, we could park a retired starship in orbit and have it beam energy to us -- but not yet.

As usual, libs have it bass-ackwards. We should not abandon old technology before we perfect new technology to replace it. We did not abandon the horse and buggy until the automobile became a practical mode of transportation. We did not abandon wood, coal and kerosene cooking stoves before we perfected natural gas and electric ones.

But wait. Once again, I am preaching common sense, a sixth sense that liberals do not possess.

Joe said...

Ducky: Well, the proper response to possible astroids distroying the planet should result in our developing hydrogen/fusion/fision/particle-theory rockets to destroy them before they get us.

But no one is pushing for that.

We're DOOMED!!!

The possibility of a space mission bringing back to earth a virus or bacteria that we don't know how to control should have us anticipating such an event by producing drugs and vaccines that we haven't thought of yet.

But no one is pushing for those things.

We're DOOMED!!

And it's all the fault of George Bush and the right wingers.

Joe said...

Ducky: "...conserve and implement alternatives. Just a smart move to hedge our bets."

A smarter move would be to use the resources we have in abundance until we can develop alternatives that actually work and are economically feasable.

Mustang: It's hard to think of the left as having anything "classical."

Dan: I've never put much credence in Time Magazine, but it is interesting how man got blamed for global cooling before he got blamed for global warming.

Ducky: "The right is, in effect, saying that a proper response to possible warming, pollution and hydrocarbon depletion is to just keep on keeping on. Drill, baby, drill."

Well the alternative is economic ruin, in which case we will not be able to afford whatever "alternatives" we develop anyway.

Mustang: Not only that, but the government press is perfectly willing to go along with the most hairbrained leftist "solutions" offered.

LR: You are so right about not depleting hydrocarbon resources. We have enough oil to sustain us for 100 years.

Even if we don't need it for 100 years, it is good that it gives us that kind of time to develop whatever alternative we come up with.

My vote is with hydrogen, by the way.

Mark said...

I've often stated my theroy of how the whole global warming thing started. I'll repeat it here:

One unusually hot spring day, somebody walked outside and thought to himself, "It sure seems like it's getting hotter earlier every year. I believe the world is getting progressively warmer."

It is entirely possible the person who made this decidedly un-scientific observation may have been an ambitious scientist, who was looking for some reason -- any reason -- to procure a government grant.

Hence, the theory of Global Warming was born.

Some years later, after it became apparent to even the most fervent global warming advocates that the world was not getting any warmer, the term, "Climate Change" was born.

This allows the faithful to cling to their pathetic little "the world is in imminent danger" fantasy and still make a 180 degree turn in their ideology.

Mark said...

For the record, I'd rather suffer through a warming trend than an ice age. But that's just me.

Joe said...

Mark: My fingers swell when I pick up snow.

Give me warm, sub-tropical Florida any day.