The supposed “global cooling” consensus among scientists in the 1970s — frequently offered by global-warming skeptics as proof that climatologists can’t make up their minds — is a myth, according to a survey of the scientific literature of the era….
But Thomas Peterson of the National Climatic Data Center surveyed dozens of peer-reviewed scientific articles from 1965 to 1979 and found that only seven supported global cooling, while 44 predicted warming. Peterson says 20 others were neutral in their assessments of climate trends.
The study reports, “There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age.
“A review of the literature suggests that, to the contrary, greenhouse warming even then dominated scientists’ thinking about the most important forces shaping Earth’s climate on human time scales.”
Now this isn’t really news to readers of Climate Progress or Real Climate (here and here) or William Connolley, but the global cooling nonsense is still the most common way people dismiss global warming to me. Michael Crichton repeats this attack in his novel State of Fear, when he has one of his fictional environmentalists say, “In the 1970′s all the climate scientists believed an ice age was coming.“
This clever and popular attack tries to make present global-warming fears seem faddish, saying current climate science is nothing more than finger-in-the-wind guessing. This attack appeals especially to conservatives who want to link their attack on climate scientists to their favorite attack against progressive presidential candidates — that they are flip-floppers. But it just isn’t true, and it’s good to see this analysis is going to be published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). [I'll link to the study when it is up.]
Interestingly, USA Today gives famed denier Pat Michaels a chance to respond, but he makes a bizarrely lame argument, which, for anyone who understands the subject (or has read my book), should make one more worried about catastrophic global warming, not less: