Climate predictions in 1974 – Famous glaciologists predicted the world going colder from 1974 until 2010

Caption: Glaciologists gathered together in Sogn. From left: Olav Orheim, Valter Schytt, Sweden, Randi Pytte Aswald, Willi Dangsgaard (sic), Denmark and Olav Liestøl. - click to enlarge

Story Submitted by Geir Hasnes

While we were going through the heaps of papers after a deceased family member some days ago, I noticed a newspaper clipping from the Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende, August 31, 1974, where glaciologists stated that we were at the entrance of a colder period in Northern Europe which would last at least until 2010. The evidence of it would come from ice core drillings from the Greenland inland glaciers. I am sorry to say the story’s

beginning at the front page had not been kept, but it seems that it has been a news item that was shocking for many people. A scan and translation is given below.

It is interesting that this prediction came from the late Danish professor Willi Dansgaard, who has had his name forever connected to climate variations. To quote the English Wikipedia:

“Dansgaard was the first paleoclimatologist to demonstrate that measurements of the trace isotopes oxygen-18 and deuterium in accumulated glacier ice could be used as an indicator of past climate. Dansgaard was the first to note deuterium excess, or a water sample’s deviation from the global meteoric water line (GMWL) in ice cores. He found that the kinetic differences between hydrogen-1 and deuterium related to the temperature of source water, and the absolute humidity.

He was the first scientist to extract palaeoclimatic information from the American Camp Century ice core from Greenland drilled by the US army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL). Dansgaard also took a leading role in the drilling of the first ice core to bedrock for scientific reasons, the DYE-3 core from South Greenland, 1400 km away from the Camp Century. Confirming findings from the analysis of the Camp Century ice core, the DYE-3 climate profile documented the existence of rapid climate change, during and at the end of the last glacial. The repeated events of abrupt climate change during the glacial are named after Willi Dansgaard and his Swiss colleague, Hans Oeschger, and are known as Dansgaard-Oeschger events.”

It was even more interesting to see the young Olav Orheim stand behind this prediction. Orheim was director of the Norwegian Polar Institute from 1993 to 2005 and led the Norwegian part of the International Polar Year from 2007 to 2009, during which many funny predictions appeared. He was interviewed during the Arctic Frontier Conference in Tromsø in January 2008 by the Norwegian Teknisk Ukeblad (Technological Weekly), where he could tell that the Arctic ocean could be ice-free already during the summer, and not in 2040, as the other experts at the conference had opinionated. He had bet a bottle of red wine on it, but said that, of course, it depends on … (you guessed it) … the weather. See www.tu.no/miljo/article132039.ece .

To be honest, from the way the interview was written, it is possible that he didn’t mean that it should be completely ice free in the whole of Arctic, as the title of the interview tells, but he definitely meant that it would be possible to sail above Siberia without the aid of an icebreaker.

As a wise man once said: It is hard to predict, especially about the future.

Some facts regarding the article from 1974:

Bergens Tidende (The Bergen Times) is the largest daily newspaper in Bergen.

Sogn is the southern half of the county Sogn og Fjordane [Sogn and the Fjords], in the western part of Norway.

The Jostedal glacier is the largest glacier in Norway. In 1970 it covered 545 sq. km. and the most recent value I have found is 487 sq. km. With adjacent glaciers it covered 815 sq. km. in 1970.

Jotunheimen is a large mountainous area in southern Norway containing Norway?s

highest mountains.

Newspaper Article Translation:

Nordic glaciologists in Sogn predict colder times in Norway.

Cont. from p. 1.

…The glaciologists quite simply state that the glaciers in Jotunheimen now have begun a new advance. The Ber[g]set glacier in Jostedalen has advanced the last year, and also the Nigard glacier accumulates and will in a few years time advance on the glacier front. The cause: We are at the entrance of a cooler period with lower middle temperatures in the summer. For those wishing for hot summer months, the outlook is not bright, quite the

contrary, the Danish professor Wiili Dansgaard tells Bergens Tidende. Dansgaard states quite coldly that Northern Europe will have a cold, probably even somewhat colder than the last summers climate period all until the year 2010.

The Danish professor builds his predictions upon a scientific basis from the Greenland inland glaciers. By drilling in the eternal ice on Greenland, one has been able to register the regular climate periods during the ages. By taking these periods and extrapolating them into the future, one can only ascertain that we now stand at the entrance of a cold period in Nothern Europe, professor Dansgaard says, who has his daily residence at the

University of Copenhagen.

This week, together with approximately 50 colleagues from all the 5 Nordic countries, he has been stationed in Jostedalen, in Veltestrand and in Fjærland.

The tendency of the glaciers in Sogn supports Dansgaard?s theory about the beginning of a cooler period. From about 1750 onwards until now the glaciers in Norway have mainly declined after having advanced forcibly for a longer period until 1750.

Now the decline have stopped., the glaciers in the Jotunheim are on the advance ? and if we are to believe the Danish glacier expert, they will continue to advance and be on the offensive for some decades to come.

The Nordic group of glaciologists was founded three years ago. In the group, from Norway, glaciologists from the universities of Bergen and Oslo, the Norwegian Waterways and Electricity Administration and from the Norwegian Polar Institute participate. This year, the board is Norwegian and consists of researcher Olav Orheim, state hydrologist Randi Pytte Aswald and glaciologist Olav Liestøl.

Last year, the annual gathering was situated at southern parts of Greenland. This year, it is the Jostedal glacier and its many glacier arms that is the gathering place for the glaciologists.

This week, the glaciologists have been at the Nigard glacier and the Bergset glacier in Jostedal, the Austerdal glacier at Veltestrand, and in Fjærland they have been on top of the Jostedal glacier itself in addition to the Bøya glacier and the Suphelle glacier.

When they conclude in Fjærland tomorrow, they will also have been through 20-some lectures on the theme of glaciological research at glacier of practically the whole world.?

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42 thoughts on “Climate predictions in 1974 – Famous glaciologists predicted the world going colder from 1974 until 2010

  1. The real importance of Dansgaard, is that it was the failure of the cold predicted from the Camp Century cycles which caused speculation as to whether there may be some kind of warming going on and CO2 was chosen as the culprit.
    So, the CO2 warming hysteria really stems from the failure of Dansgaard predicted cooling, and of course we are now at almost the same position with CO2 warming in that we now have a major discrepancy between the predicted warming and the actual “NO CHANGE”, and of course the scene is set for yet another climate hysteria movement to arise citing the failure of warming as proof beyond all doubt that their particular cult of the climate must be the god given truth.

  2. Sadly he seemed to be about 35 years out in his prediction!
    Have they (anybody) been able to determine from the previous four interglacials, you know, the ones that were warmer than to day by around 3°C, whether glaciers retreated & advanced in those periods, & if so, by how much?
    Anyway here is my twopence worth: I predict that the global temperature will rise over the next few years due to increases in greenhouse gases, namely CO2, but this could be tempered by a natural cooling feeback in the climate system, hiding the manmade signature. However, this cooling may induce a warming effect to mask the cooling effect observed covering the warming effect inside the computer model that also shows a mysterious warming/cooling effect (because we told it to) from greenhouse gas increases, thus masking the effect that we thought we saw but didn’t due to the masking effects I predicted! ;-)) sarc off!

  3. Here is a pamphlet from 1976 for the 1976 PNE (Pacific National Exhibition, Vancouver) Energy Conservation House, the PNE Prize home, from my personal archives, of which I just scanned into my computer just now.
    https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=4b6b9fffe2e23537&page=play&resid=4B6B9FFFE2E23537!575
    No mention of green or sustainable in those days, just energy efficiency.
    Higher resolution version here:
    https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=4b6b9fffe2e23537&page=play&resid=4B6B9FFFE2E23537!579

  4. Anthony, I want to bring to your attention a more than excellent climate blog which concentrates on C02. http://antonuriarte.blogspot.com/
    The blogger is called Antón, maybe a long lost cousin of yours. I’m not connected in anyway to the blog but it’s where I learn about climate in Spanish, so I can be a sceptic in two languages.
    Cada día, cada ser humano produce y emite aproximadamente 1 kilogramo de CO2
    Not too difficult to understand is it.

  5. I see references to Norway and Northern Europe. Can you please point me to the text of the article that speaks to “the world going colder” as stated in the post’s headline?

  6. “If we are to believe Dr …”
    At least journalists were objective and independent in those days.

  7. Climate predictions in 1974 – Famous glaciologists predicted the world going colder from 1974 until 2010
    Posted on August 22, 2011 by Anthony Watts
    Story Submitted by Geir Hasnes
    “While we were going through the heaps of papers after a deceased family member some days ago, I noticed a newspaper clipping from the Norwegian newspaper Bergens Tidende, August 31, 1974, where glaciologists stated that we were at the entrance of a colder period in Northern Europe which would last at least until 2010. The evidence of it would come from ice core drillings from the Greenland inland glaciers. … Dansgaard states quite coldly that Northern Europe will have a cold, probably even somewhat colder than the last summers climate period all until the year 2010.
    The Danish professor builds his predictions upon a scientific basis from the Greenland inland glaciers. By drilling in the eternal ice on Greenland, one has been able to register the regular climate periods during the ages. By taking these periods and extrapolating them into the future, one can only ascertain that we now stand at the entrance of a cold period in Nothern Europe, professor Dansgaard says, who has his daily residence at the University of Copenhagen.”
    I do not know from what data Dansgaard his extrapolation did in 1974. There is a graph with his measured low frequency temperature proxies from 1969:
    http://climate.geologist-1011.net/HoloceneTemperatures.png
    I have adapted his curve in a new graph and there is only an increase visible. However, his data show the same 2/1.8 ky^-1 frequency for some 3ky alike the 14C data J. A. Eddy has publish in 1976 (alike Bond et al. 2001) for which can give reasons from solar system functions (GHI).
    http://volker-doormann.org/images/solar_fig_1.gif
    BTW. For the oscillations seen in the samples of more that 1000 ky can give also reasons from solar functions.
    I wonder why i.) false ii.) predictions of iii.) authorities keeps the science world in repute.
    V.

  8. Many, many headlines in the 1970’s about the coming ice age. They had lots of chillist scientists back then spreading cooling alarmist message to anyone who would listen. They had no understanding of natural climate oscillation then – still don’t understand it now!

  9. “I am sorry to say the story’s beginning at the front page had not been kept….”

    It would be interesting to read the entire article. Perhaps a WUWT reader in Norway could visit this newspaper’s office to get a copy of the entire article. Or, perhaps it could be found in a local library’s archives (either in the library in “dead tree” format, or in an online archive).

  10. Philip Shehan says:
    August 22, 2011 at 7:25 am
    In 1974 there was little recognition of anthropogenic warming, and the absence of that effect, the prediction of falling temperatures would have been correct according to these analyses:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-4-1-2.html
    It is precisely because of AGW that observed temperatures have increased although “natural” forcings are having a temperature lowering effect.

    Ah, the unshakable faith of the true believers.

  11. Interesting that this only became public because somebody found an old newspaper. Nowadays we expect such things to be recorded and they are, usually, though sometimes they disappear (CNN’s Larry King show where Joe Biden made undeniably racist remarks on the Lary King show and Larry didn’t demur being an example.
    There must be a lot more for anybody with access to newspaper records and sufficient patience.

  12. neilfutureboyNeil Craig. State your source of racist remarks made by VP Biden. You may be referring to the interview in 1993. If so, in hind sight it would appear that Joe was correct the Serbs did commit genocide on a large scale.
    But why would you throw mud at VP Biden? What does that have to do with cooling or warming?

  13. Is there no argument so weak that you won’t post it, Anthony?
    An expert was wrong once, therefore the majority of other people, experts, who have the advantage of analysis whose efficacy has grown exponentially, must be wrong.
    My god, man – I thought that you valued quality analysis?

  14. I guess they did not understand the effects of volcanos, PDO etc etc …
    And thinking liniear you will easily end up in a climatic dead end.
    Like Gore realized short time ago..
    🙂

  15. This was interesting to read. Very revealing that not once was CO2 or global warming mentioned, but it wouldn’t be as it was quite outside the mainstream then. Also interesting that the patterns found in the glaciers apparently revealed a warm cycle to be ending, just as in fact, a warm cycle was about to begin, as only 2 years after this article was written, 1976, the infamous great “climate shift” of 76/77 occurred bringing about exactly the opposite of what was predicted.
    Debate is of course, still out as the exact cause of that shift, but really, the oceans (especially when looking at OHC, have never been the same since.

  16. If human were born the beginning of the year in January and have no knowledge of the four seasons, we would say that it’ll get colder in the months to come. Now in August, we would say the next few months will be a scorcher … little do we know about the future except what we are experiencing at the moment.

  17. John says on August 22, 2011 at 11:10 am
    neilfutureboyNeil Craig. State your source of …

    Biden (of the ‘O’): “… articulate bright and clean … ” (how about NBC News as the source).
    Short memory or are you flat-out denying Biden ever said it?

    .

  18. In my opinion this is a very good story. Why? Because it shows a trend within climate “science”;
    Look at the careers of these people. How did they operate to get the positions they actually got?
    By doing predictions of doom and gloom to the newspapers. After some years people say; Oh, there is this and that person, a famous climate “scientist”.
    But the actual prediction is forgotten. There was no “science” behind it.
    Just someone who “believed” something.

  19. What is the best guess on where we are, at present, in our interglacial warm period? Beginning, Middle or End period?

  20. North Pole cam is showing seasonal melt ponds nearly frozen over. Sky darkening. Another year of sea ice making it through the summer, no loss of “shoring” for the Continental glaciers.

  21. Here are a couple of predictions I found. One says in “a few years” whatever that means and one says in “a few thousand years”. I’d be less than optimistic about the one from the kent.edu site as we always said “if you can’t go to college, go to Kent”. No offense to anyone associated with them today, but there undergrad school was pretty lame about 40 years ago, so a little humor.
    Just wondering if there are any opinions on WUWT as to where we are in the present interglacial. Both of these would seem to indicate we are near the end.
    http://gyandotcom.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/are-we-now-on-the-brink-of-entering-another-ice-age/
    http://www.personal.kent.edu/~jortiz/paleoceanography/broecker.pdf

  22. R. Gates says:
    August 22, 2011 at 12:08 pm
    Actually, CO2 was blamed during the Dust Bowl era, then forgotten, along with the Ice Age scare that preceeded it. Both failed predictions were resurrected from the dead, and walked like zombies into our conscience as ‘new science’.
    This climate change scare business (and they openly talked of the climate changing at the end of the 19th Century) has been going on ever since Thermometers came into widespread use 4 scares and 4 years ago, and the 1st big change was noted 30 something years later.
    I fully expect that this game, of making mountains out of molehills, will see myriad folks jumping out of windows whenever the Interglacial decides to fade away.
    Here, let me help you: Meet Cliff, the latest Interglacial. He says “Howdy there, won’t you drop over sometime?”.

  23. rbateman says: August 22, 2011 at 2:17 pm
    “This climate change scare business (and they openly talked of the climate changing at the end of the 19th Century) has been going on ever since Thermometers came into widespread use 4 scares and 4 years ago,”
    This climate scare business has been going on since the earliest recorded religions. Most religions had their “thunder” or “lightning” gods. The bible has its plagues, etc.

  24. I blame the aliens who may attack us as postulated in that excellent peer reviewed climate change paper I saw on WUWT a few days ago.
    Obviously the authors got it slightly wrong and the aliens have been beaming a warming ray at us since the late 70’s in an attempt to fry us out of existence.
    They obviously turned it off in 1998 because it wasn’t working. Perhaps they switched to a cold ray ?

  25. Jim G says:
    August 22, 2011 at 1:35 pm
    “Just wondering if there are any opinions on WUWT as to where we are in the present interglacial. Both of these would seem to indicate we are near the end.”
    _______
    The “current” thinking is, based purely on Milankovitch cycles, that we have anywhere from 10,000 to 50,000 years or longer left in the current interglacial. In fact, it appears, based on Milankovitich (and completely excluding what anthropogenic CO2 may do) that this could be one of the longer interglacials in 500,000 years. I would direct you to:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/297/5585/1287.short
    http://hol.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/02/26/0959683610394885.abstract
    http://hol.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/03/12/0959683610394883.abstract
    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n11/abs/ngeo660.html

  26. the length of interglacials range from 10000 to 14000 years iirc, how do you get 10000 to 50000 years

  27. “Jim G says:
    August 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm
    What is the best guess on where we are, at present, in our interglacial warm period? Beginning, Middle or End period?”
    I would say we are in extra innings; over time!

  28. R. Gates says:
    “This was interesting to read. Very revealing that not once was CO2 or global warming mentioned, but it wouldn’t be as it was quite outside the mainstream then.”
    Gates admits the scare was over global cooling in the 1970’s: click
    Today the scare is over global warming. Eventually people will see that the climate cycles from warm to cool. And as usual Gates is wrong about his Holocene guesses. Warm periods are few and far between.

  29. I love these old articles. Getting a perspective on the development of climate science, with its many twists and turns, false starts and dead ends, inferred estimates that turned out wrong and those that turned out right, is a good requisite to understanding the current state of knowledge.
    The best website I know of that condenses the history of climate science, and which includes hundreds, if not thousands of scientific references, is Spencer Weart’s:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/
    Recommended reading for the inquisitive, if there are any of that type left any more. It’s a fascinating narrative of the development of knowledge on climate, and there are various sub-topics that go into considerable historical detail.

  30. Smokey says:
    August 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm
    R. Gates says:
    “This was interesting to read. Very revealing that not once was CO2 or global warming mentioned, but it wouldn’t be as it was quite outside the mainstream then.”
    Gates admits the scare was over global cooling in the 1970′s.
    Today the scare is over global warming. Eventually people will see that the climate cycles from warm to cool. And as usual Gates is wrong about his Holocene guesses. Warm periods are few and far between.
    ______
    Who are you trying to convince with your nonsensical appraisals of what I “admit”.? I find it interesting that back in 1974, these glacial experts were trying to predict the future course of the climate completely by looking at past records, and it seems never once did it occur to them (at least not judging from this article) that human influence might change the future natural course of things. This in fact, is the hallmark of many skeptics, as they can’t accept the notion that humans could now be influencing the climate in ways that make looking only at past records would lead you to believe…in short, skeptics don’t admit that we could indeed have left the Holocene, and be in the Anthropocene. It would be the most interesting of experiments to see what would have happened to the climate over the past century if CO2, methane, and NO2 would have stayed at their lower preindustrial levels. Of course, skeptics would say “nothing would have changed”, though every climate model would strongly disagree. So maybe these 1974 predictions would have come to pass…sans humans.

  31. And who are you trying to convince to the contrary with your nonsensical chicken little global warming lap-dog yips, R Gates?
    I thought so.
    Chris
    Norfolk, VA, USA

  32. Nuke: Which part of the data and theoretical match in the figure do you dispute and why, or are you just a true disbeliever?

  33. Gates, being a knee-jerk alarmist, admitted that there was a global cooling scare in the ’70’s. Now he’s backtracking. Cognitive dissonance is amazing to observe by an unbiased scientific skeptic. The alarmist crowd will go to great lengths to support their delusion that CO2 is gonna getcha, when the reality is that nothing unusual is happening..

  34. John I put up Biden’s racist remarks simply as an example of things that slip off the media’s agenda, on which I was clearly right. He has also been reported as saying that he wanted to put all 10 million Serbs in “Nazi style concentration camps” (thereby exceeding the Jewish holocausr by 4 million). I think to say that the man Obama chose as running mate is “racist” is considerably understating.
    Having asked for evidence (kindly supplied by Jim) if you have actual evidence that the Serbs are “degenerates and baby killers” as he alleged I, in turn, ask you to produce it.
    In fact the worst atrocities in that war were committed against Serbs and the very worst were the massacr4s, genocide, ethnic cleansing and kidnaop rape and sale of schoolgirls and the dissection, while still alive, to steal their body organs, of around 1800 Serbs and Gypsies by NATO police, after “peace” had been achieved”. under the direct command authority of NATO leaders including Clinton and Blair.
    If you wish to criticise me you should be able to present some clear evidence that the Serbs are guilty of crimes 1,000th as evil as those carried out by the degenerate baby killers running the USA. If you have it you should explain why you did not offer it to the NATO funded “trial” of Milosevic, where, in 4 1/2 years they were unable to produce any actual evidence against him. If you don’t you clearly owe the entire Serbian people a public apology.

  35. Friends:
    The globe cooled from about 1940 to about 1970.
    Some people said,
    “The cooling must be a result of emissions (i.e. sulphur dioxide) from power stations. We need money to investigate this problem and determine how to solve it.”
    Then the Earth started to warm. It warmed from about 1970 to about 2000.
    The people who were concerned at global cooling morphed the issue into concern about global warming. They said,
    “The warming must be a result of emissions (i.e. carbon dioxide) from power stations. We need money to investigate this problem and determine how to solve it.”
    And some people – notably some politicians – were sufficiently gullible as to believe them.
    Richard

  36. “If Henrik Svensmark is right, then we are going down the wrong path of taking all these expensive measures to cut carbon emissions; if he is right, we could carry on with carbon emissions as normal”…… and avoid bankrupting the country with hundreds of billions of pounds of useless carbon taxes!!!
    Hide the decline: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/2035

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