An article and study from 1974 suggests global cooling would cause more extreme weather

Steve Goddard tips me to this article in the Canberra Times on May 16th, 1974:


It has some interesting claims in it that sound much like climate change claims made today. Apparently they detected large albedo changes via satellite, with a 12% increase in snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere that started in 1971, and continued through 1974 when this article was published:


Click to enlarge. Source:

They claim that due to albedo changes which help induce cooling, wind, drought, and rainfall patterns will become worse, much like identical claims made today about the effects of warming. The article also claims, quoting Dr. Reid Bryson, there would be increased uncertainty about “stable patterns of weather” that may affect “food reserves”, and he also claimed “much of that change was man-made”. Sound familiar?

The news article is based on a paper by George J. Kukla, and Helena J. Kukla of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University.

Increased Surface Albedo in the Northern Hemisphere

Did satellites warn of the weather troubles of 1972 and 1973?

Science 22 February 1974: Vol. 183 no. 4126 pp. 709-714 DOI: 10.1126/science.183.4126.709

Routine mapping of snow and ice fields in the northern hemisphere was started by NOAA in 1967. Large year-to-year variations of the snow and pack-ice covers were observed. The annual mean coverage increased by 12 percent during 1971 and has remained high. The index R, which shows the approximate amount of energy reflected from the surface by snow and ice under the mean cloudiness, increased correspondingly. Thus, if the cloud cover over the snow fields did not increase substantially, the anomalous weather patterns of 1972 and 1973 could have been connected with the deficit in surface heat exchange which originated in the northern hemisphere the year before. During the past 7 years the largest changes occurred in the fall and in the continental interiors of Asia and America (8).

Two synoptic parameters which could readily provide information on the development of snow and ice cover in the northern hemisphere are (i) the total area momentarily covered and (ii) the running annual mean of snow and ice coverage for the preceding 1-year period. By 20 September 1973 the annual mean coverage was 37.3 x 106 km2, 11 to 12 percent higher than at the same time during 1968 through 1970. Snow cover-fall, the season when 15 x 106 to 55 x 106 km2 of the northern hemisphere is covered with snow and ice, started on 20 September 1973, compared to 17 September 1972 and 5 or 10 October during 1967 through 1970.

The links between the atmosphere, the oceans, and the land surfaces must be better understood before the role of snow and ice can be thoroughly explained and exploited for long-range weather forecasting. But it is clear that snow, hitherto almost overlooked in synoptic meteorological reports, must be important in the mechanism of weather changes.


Back then, even the BBC was certain enough to bring in Dr. Kukla for an interview to explain how global cooling was a danger for the future.

And others were still talking about a coming ice age in 1977:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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Thank you. Good bit of news. As we see the solar sunspot minimum take affect, the winters should be longer, more severe to those 40 degrees North and South of the Equator towards the Polar Ice Caps. As already expressed by other experts, this will dig into crops and farm animal populations.
That’s the down side of this. Fewer buffets maybe.

Amr marzouk

Ah! The days of Gough Whitlam!!!


Well as the sun slows down and we go into a possible little ice age, they can recycle the alarm rhetoric from the 1970’s. Very sustainable.
The reality is that a cooling of 2C could dramatically effect the grain production of Russia and Canada and then we may well see a climate catastrophe.


And remember that Stephen Schneider told us that a cooler world would produce more variable weather….
“I have cited many examples of recent climatic variability and repeated the warnings of several well-known climatologists that a cooling effect has set in – perhaps one akin to the Little Ice Age – and that climatic variability, which is the bane of reliable food production, can be expected to increase along with the cooling”


Schneider was a global cooling advocate until it started warming up?


Oops sorry should have read the posts before posting.


This is what I remember. Cooling warnings in the 70s. But I must be mistaken, since I’ve been told by warmists that there was no such scare.
If anything, this should be a lesson for those who think we have enough information or a long enough record that we can predict the future. No trend continues, whether it’s up or down, and the real fear is cooling. In the 70s they were certain the cooling would continue.
Coincidentally, climate satellites were launched right when the cooling turned around to slight warming… causing the satellite record to initially show warming.

Neil Watson

Amr mazouk: Maaate, I’ve tried to block those Dark Days out of my consciousness, but here you go and resurrect them! Whitlam days indeed. Unintended, but easily foreseen, consequences everywhere. Many similarities to Climate Chuckles.


There’s a feast of climate change disaster stories published in Australian newspapers since 1877 at

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Speaking of albedo, could anyone spot me their thoughts on this:
The last several years I have noticed something curious about the clouds in our region (southern Ontario), especially cumulus clouds- they have seemed much Brighter than I ever recall seeing. And I seem to recall reading something about cloud brightness some time back, playing a role in cooling (but I could be wrong).
This image is one I took some time back, which illustrates the point
In regards to the above article, Thanks! I am putting together a massive chunk of information about the Global Cooling ‘scare’ of the 70s, in one big article.


The main problem with either subject of cooling OR warming is that there has been no increase in severe weather, only an increase in the hype. Weather has actually been more stable based on actuall observations.

Retired Dave

Show those who are deniers (Sorry) of the 70’s Global Cooling scare Anthony’s related link at the bottom of this article.


Nader’s solution – form another CAGW group! antiwar dems at democracy resort to agreeing with DoD that CAGW is a threat to “national security” – you can’t make this stuff up:
12 March: Democracy Now: Nader on Senate’s Climate Stance
NERMEEN SHAIKH: Republicans dismissed the marathon session and called Democrats, quote, “alarmists.” This came as the U.S. Department of Defense released a new report Monday about the threat climate change impacts pose to national security…
RALPH NADER:…They went all night, led by Harry Reid and Senator Ed Markey in the U.S. Senate, making statements about the documentation for climate change, often called global warming, and the need for congressional action. But it’s got to go way beyond that. The Congress has been an immobile bubble in this whole swelling concern around the country, involving demonstrations and picketing and some lawsuits, but it hasn’t permeated Congress…
And the second point is this, that when you have very affluent people, like George Soros, Tom Steyer and Al Gore, who are really out front warning about climate change, when you have them, they’ve got to come and build a very powerful external lobby on Congress, where you have a hundred professional scientists, lawyers, organizers, public relations specialists descend on Congress every day in every member’s office, in the corridors, in the cafeterias, building a concern here…
And we’re going to ask some of these affluent environmentalists to ante up and start a brand new group, so that Congress is literally as overwhelmed by people on this issue as they have been overwhelmed by the drug industry or the real estate industry or the oil industry…


correction –
should have said “antiwar dems at democracy NOW resort”…


In 1287 AD, all hell broke loose in the Romney Marshes. There was a storm so fierce that the River Rother was diverted from its ancient course.
Sixty three years later, along came the official beginning of the Little Ice Age in 1350 AD.


Ah, a trip down memory lane! The alarmists try as hard as they like but history cannot be errsed, not since the interweb anyway. Thanks Al Gore!

Usually the warmists get up in arms about this stuff, saying that there was no global cooling consensus in the 1970’s.
The point though is that there was global cooling consensus between 1972 and 1975 circa. Just not for the whole decade.


love how their mission is to get across the “right” information, not necessarily the correct information:
13 March: DailyNewsOnline NY: GO ART! presents climate change documentary
BATAVIA — The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council will present “Comfort Zone,” a new feature-length documentary exploring the effects of climate change on upstate New York, at 3 p.m. Saturday, April 12, in the Conable Technology Building at Genesee Community College’s Batavia campus.
The film was produced and directed by upstate New York residents Kate Kressmann-Kehoe, Sean P. Donnelly and Batavia native David S. Danesh. The screening (67 minutes) will be followed by a Q&A with the filmmakers…
“There are a lot of things here we take for granted that could be gone, and it would be a very different place,” said co-producer Kressmann-Kehoe. The film highlights how New York residents’ daily lives will be affected, from winter sports to apple picking to gardening.
“If we take New York and we warm it up four degrees, that’s like moving it… to almost Virginia,” said Art DeGaetano, Professor of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University…
“I used to teach my students in introductory classes that when we had climate change issues, that these were things that could take hundreds of thousands of years. We now know from the ice core records that decade time scales can be involved, which changes everything,” said John Tarduno, Professor of Geophysics, University of Rochester.
Arming the community with the right information was a goal for the filmmakers.
“I want to see us do the right thing as a society and we are not going to do the right thing if we don’t have the right information,” Donnelly said…
“The threat to our way of life is huge. Everything we do is completely dominated by the use of fossil fuels. It’s pulling the rug out from under all of us,” said Rochester-based author Bob Siegel…
Despite the serious topic, the film has a light touch. Viewers are coming along on a journey of discovery with the filmmakers, not being lectured at or told what to do. Humorous animated sequences provide both information and relief. The film also explores deeper spiritual and psychological dimensions of society’s responses to the issue…

Brian H

Balmy and warm would be great. I know, let’s flood the atmosphere with one of them Greenhouse Gases! CO2 would be great, and it would fertilize the biosphere at the same time. Fire up the barbies!

David L

Don’t give the Warmists any ideas. It would be trivial for them to switch the pea and claim AGC (anthropomorphic global cooling) and blame it on CO2. Remember, CO2 can do anything?

BrianH says
CO2 would be great, and it would fertilize the biosphere at the same time. Fire up the barbies!
henry says
That should be carbies?


Isn’t that quaint? They thought that “six consecutive years” was a trend! How naive. Real climastrologists now know that a trend needs at least 3 years more data than your opponents actually have.

Kelvin Vaughan

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter) says:
March 13, 2014 at 1:35 am
Have they shut down any coal fired power stations there?


Dr. Gifford Miller eh? When will he make up his mind eh?s

e.g. we know antarctic ice is increasing
I also checked 10 weather stations in Alaska:
It is cooling there at a rate of -0.55 degrees C per decade since 1998.
So we are currently cooling from the top [90] latitudes down,
You would not see much happening with temps. at the lower latitudes as here you will get more rain here due to (more) condensation and that releases energy.
You would notice the beginning of droughts at the higher latitudes.
I would imagine that you might see a change in cloud formation at the higher latitudes,
those are the bells ringing that the big drought is coming.
According to my calculations droughts on the Great Plains of America will start to get serious in 2021.

A new ice age is forecast! In the 1970s, not really!
‘…in the 1970s he writes, all the climate scientist believe an ice age is coming, but these are all popular newspapers, magazines and novels, not scientific journals…Time magazine isn’t peer reviewed, it’s just as capable of misreporting and sensationalising like any other magazine. Don’t just take my word for it, read the story and tell me where this claim of an ice age comes from…’
As you can see here:-


Meh… was not peer reviewed.


The news article is based on a paper by George J. Kukla, and Helena J. Kukla of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University.
Were Fran and Ollie uncredited co-authors?

In 1974, the White House was so concerned about the deterioration in climate, that they wet up a special Sub-Committee on climate change.
I have copies from NOAA of the original memos and the first report.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it was all just media hype.

Sience digest 1973 “Brace yourself for ice age,
ewsweek 1975 “the cooling world”
1974 ” the weather machine”
1971 schnieder and Hansen… name a few


The President’s current scientific advisor Dr. John Holdren also predicted a looming ice age in a book from 1971 where he blamed man’s pollution. Ehrlich also chimes in apparently.

1971 – John Holdren
“It seems, however, that a competing effect has dominated the situation since 1940. This is the reduced transparency of the atmosphere to incoming light as a result of urban air pollution (smoke, aerosols), agricultural air pollution (dust), and volcanic ash. This screening phenomenon is said to be responsible for the present world cooling trend—a total of about .2°C in the world mean surface temperature over the past quarter century. This number seems small until it is realized that a decrease of only 4°C would probably be sufficient to start another ice age. Moreover, other effects besides simple screening by air pollution threaten to move us in the same direction. In particular, a mere one percent increase in low cloud cover would decrease the surface temperature by .8°C.”

Then we had Kukla writing to the president.

George J. Kukla (of the Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory) and R. K. Matthews (Chairman, Dept of Geological Sciences, Brown University) Letter to the President – 1972
Dear Mr. President:
Aware of your deep concern with the future of the world, we feel obliged to inform you on the results of the scientific conference held here recently. The conference dealt with the past and future changes of climate and was attended by 42 top American and European investigators. We enclose the summary report published in Science and further publications are forthcoming in Quaternary Research.
The main conclusion of the meeting was that a global deterioration of climate, by order of magnitude larger than any hitherto experience by civilized mankind, is a very real possibility and indeed may be due very soon.
The cooling has natural cause and falls within the rank of processes which produced the last ice age. This is a surprising result based largely on recent studies of deep sea sediments……..
(2) Increased frequency and amplitude of extreme weather anomalies such as those bringing floods, snowstorms, killing frosts, etc. ”

Then we had President Nixon.

White House letter to Secretary of Commerce – 1974
Changes in climate in recent years have resulted in unanticipated impacts on key national programs and policies. Concern has been expressed that recent changes may presage others. In order to assess the problem and to determine what concerted action ought to be undertaken, I have decided to establish a subcommittee on Climate Change.


Dr. George Kukla is still unrepentant and says that ice ages start with global warming!

March 28, 2011
[Dr. George Kukla]
Prepare for new Ice Age now says top paleoclimatologist
“What is happening is very similar to the time 115,000 years ago, when the last glaciation started. It is difficult to comprehend, but it is really so: The last glacial was accompanied by the increase of a really averaged global mean surface temperature, alias global warming.
“What happened then was that the shifting sun warmed the tropics and cooled the Arctic and Antarctic. Because the tropics are so much larger than the poles, the area-weighted global mean temperature was increasing. But also increasing was the temperature difference between the oceans and the poles, the basic condition of polar ice growth. Believe it or not, the last glacial started with ‘global warming!‘”

Here is a reminder of all the other folks predicting an ice age / cooling world in the 1970s.


Who were the skeptics back then and what did they have to say?


Past data shows the worst weather during periods of cold.

Louis Hooffstetter

Ad hominems are seldom appropriate, but climatologists have earned a reputation for being slippery and unrepentant. Nothing ever falsifies their theories (beliefs). They claimed the world was catastrophically cooling before it was catastrophically warming but now, catastrophic warming (that ended 17+ years ago) may be a prelude to the next ice age. They have no shame. They’re never wrong. These people are not scientists. The term “climate whore” truly seems more appropriate.


Global climate is much less stable – with greater variability – during cold glacial periods than during warmer interglacials. Due to the fractality of the chaotic-nonlinear climate system, such a difference is likely at shorter timescales also. Higher variability during cooling/ cold periods, lower during warm.
One more reason why the CAGW diatribe, including weather wierding and now every single climate fluctuation of any kind being a harbinger of AGW doom, is nonsense in every possible way.

John Gorter

Ah! The Canberra Crimes – my old home town newpaper, still peddling the socialist line.

John West

Thanks Jimbo!
”the present world cooling trend—a total of about .2°C in the world mean surface temperature over the past quarter century.” — 1971 – John Holdren
Where’d the trend go?
This is why no analysis reliant on the data is credible.

Pamela Gray

Epiphany! The birth of the new ambulance chasers: Climate Scientists! It doesn’t matter if the change is up, down, or stable. It is a man made disaster and we must reverse it!

“Routine mapping of snow and ice fields in the northern hemisphere was started by NOAA in 1967.”
OK, so why do we get no data from this mapping until the satellites went up in 1979? Seems like valuable information…

Chuck L

I am not sure if it was mentioned here at WUWT or another website but the 1982 Sci-Fi novel, “The Sixth Winter” by John Gribin & Douglas Orgill, used the hypothesis of increased polar albedo causing the nearly rapid onset of an Ice Age as the basis of the story. A fast and entertaining read for those interested and it is available for Kindle. After reading the novel, all I can say is I hope that hypothesis is wrong!


Slightly OT and also from Steve Goddard;
Coast Guard warns of bad ice year for Atlantic Canada ships
The Canadian Coast Guard is pleading with merchant ships to plan their voyages well in advance this year as the organization’s icebreaker fleet confronts some of the worst ice conditions on the Atlantic Ocean in decades.
“Plan your voyage and we’ll all get through this,” said Mike Voight, the Atlantic region’s director of programs. “We’ve got a pretty bad or challenging ice year.”
The Canadian Ice Service, an arm of Environment Canada, said there is 10 per cent more ice this year compared to the 30-year average.
“We probably haven’t seen a winter this bad as far as ice for the past 25 years,” said Voight, referring to both the amount and thickness of the ice.
He said the Gulf of St. Lawrence is covered and some areas are “quite severe.”


Even in the 1970s they were concerned about extreme weather.

Abstract – 1974
Some observations of global trends in tropical cyclone frequencies
Weather – Volume 29, Issue 7, pages 267–270, July 1974
DOI: 10.1002/j.1477-8696.1974.tb04376.x
The deadliest tropical cyclone in history?
On 12 November 1970, a sever tropical cyclone of moderate strength riding the crest of high tide lashed East Pakistan with a 20-ft storm surge and killed ap-proximately 300,000 people.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, vol. 52, Issue 6, pp.438-445;2
Abstract – Apr 1974
Weather extremes around the world

Kurt in Switzerland

John West:
Excellent point. This should be brought up again and again.
Someone in the US Congress should initiate hearings on data tampering of the temperature series starting from the early 20th Century. They could call in John Holdren himself as a witness to testify on that “0.2°C cooling trend in the world mean surface temperature” from the mid-1940s to the early 1970s.
I’m sure you could sell Pay Per View to catch that testimony live.
Kurt in Switzerland


Dear Otter
Please forgive my impertinence but having looked at your photo I think most of the “cloud” is black, dirty, carbon-ridden smoke……Look at the dark bits….
There….got you sussed mate….
Do I really really need to put a “sarc” on this?

co2ers thinking long term now with 2000 year timelines
“according to a new study, published today, 5 March, in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, that has calculated the temperature increases at which the 720 sites currently on the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites would be impacted by subsequent sea-level rises.
The Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, Tower of London and Sydney Opera House are among the 136 sites that would be impacted if the current global warming trend continues and temperatures rise to 3°C above pre-industrial levels in the next 2000 years—a likely and not particularly extreme scenario, according to the researchers.
Also impacted would be the city centres of Brugge, Naples, Riga and St. Petersburg; Venice and its Lagoon; Robben Island; and Westminster Abbey.”
the media love a good disaster movie story. it doesn’t even have to make sense? or even be probably. Just so someone says it they can report it. Which is why they endlessly print them.

Above link to episode of “In Search of” about “The Coming Ice Age” with cast list that includes Dr. Stephen Schneider. It was during 1978.

Henry Clark

“Apparently they detected large albedo changes via satellite, with a 12% increase in snow and ice in the Northern Hemisphere that started in 1971, and continued through 1974 when this article was published.”
Indeed. And there was substantial cooling: Part of the 1970s had 0.8 degrees Celsius lower average Northern Hemisphere temperature than the late 1930s high in a plot published in a 1976 National Geographic. That is not a typo, as alien as it may seem if anyone has only seen CRU / Hansen / ilk electronic hockey stick plots rewritten later implying the global cooling scare happened magically for no reason, like those on the WUWT reference page. The 1976 plot is illustrated about 40% of the way down within which illustrates the actual double peak history of the past century of temperature (and solar activity). When the next LIA begins, albedo change by rising snow/ice cover will amplify the albedo change in cloud cover. Meanwhile then, the increased temperature gradient between colder-still high latitudes and the little-changing tropics will drive extra storm activity in mid latitudes, as a study found looking at how proxies for how the last LIA compared to the MWP. The CAGW movement recycled the global cooling harm predictions in large part, but the difference is that the [latter] had more of a honest basis.

Henry Clark

Typo in last sentence above: latter, not later