In the 1970s, wasn’t the scientific community warning of a coming ice age?
Actually, no. While some scientific studies published during that time were concerned about a possible cooling trend, to which some news outlets such as Newsweek latched based on the cooler temperatures of the period, a recent review of the published scientific literature at the time found that a majority of the the studies were concerned with global warming even then.
A related question asks, “Why don’t we wait until more information is known?” As you can see from the chart below, the concerns over global warming were prevalent even in the 1970s, though they did not receive the media attention they do today. After thirty years of additional study on the subject, the concerns over warming have only grown larger and more dominant.
Figure 1: The number of published scientific papers classified as predicting, implying or providing supporting evidence for future global cooling, warming and neutral categories. Image credit: Thomas C. Peterson (NOAA), William M. Connolley (BAS)
- The Myth of the 1970S Global Cooling Scientific Consensus – Thomas C. Peterson (NOAA NCDC), William M. Connolley (British Antarctic Survey) (Published by American Meteorological Society)
- The global cooling myth – RealClimate (Jan 14, 2005)