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Some Global Warming Perspective

11:48 AM, Jul 12, 2007 • By BRIAN FAUGHNAN
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This is a Frank Capra/Bell Labs film from 1958. It warns that man's emission of greenhouse gases threaten to warm the Earth's temperature, melt the polar ice caps, and drown much of America--leaving Miami under 150 feet of water:

Almost twenty years later, in 1974, Time published its famous report on threat of global cooling:

...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.

And Newsweek 1975:

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 of extraordinarily mild conditions, 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 conditions. 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."

Is it possible that climate, and the reporting on it, is a cyclical phenomenon? Just for fun, a report from last month on...the dangers of global cooling.