History of climate fears

Here are lists of older articles about climate change.  Looking at you will notice that we have long worried about climate trends, and even experts have often (not always) written with what we can now see was excessive certainty.

I believe this climate trends will be one of the major factors affecting geopolitics in the 21st century.  The primary message I hope people take from this list of articles — and the posts based upon them — is that there is debate among scientists about these things — and that the science is rapidly progressing to provide answers.

Most of these (not all) are from professional journals or technically-oriented websites.  For more information see these related Reference Pages on the FM sites:

This page lists the articles mentioned in posts on this site, and are only a tiny fraction of the climate change literature.


  1. Basic reference sources
  2. On the FM website about global cooling
  3. Articles from the 1970’s and earlier about global cooling and warming

(1)   Basic reference sources

The #1 site IMO:  The Discovery of Global Warming, on the site of the American Institute of Physics — “A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.”

This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, updated annually.

Lists of articles with full citations:

  1. A timeline of the science and politics of climate science (from the AIP site)
  2. Bibliography by year of climate science research (also from AIP) — the most complete I have seen.
  3. Global Cooling and the Cold War – And a Chilly Beginning for the United States’ Climate Analysis Center?“, Robert W. Reeves, Daphne Gemmill, Robert E. Livezey, and James Laver (all of NOAA) — Presented at The International Commission on History of Meteorology Conference in Weilheim Germany, 5-9 July 2004
  4. The Origins of a ‘diagnostics climate center“, Robert W. Reeves and Daphne Gemmill (NOAA), 20 October 2004 — Looks like slides for the above presentation.
  5. The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus“, Thomas C. Petersona, William M. Connolley, and John Fleckc, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, September 2008

Other lists of articles.  These have no links; often with partial citations:

(2)  On the FM website about global cooling

  1. More forecasts of a global cooling cycle, 15 July 2008
  2. Good news about global warming!, 21 October 2008
  3. One of the most interesting sources of news about science and nature!, 27 October 2008
  4. An important letter sent to the President about the danger of climate change, 21 October 2009
  5. About those headlines from the past century about global cooling…, 2 November 2009
  6. A look at global warming written in a cooler and more skeptical time, giving us a better understanding of climate science, 23 November 2009
  7. The facts about the 1970’s Global Cooling scare, 7 December 2009

(3)  Articles from the 1970’s (and earlier) about global cooling and warming

Note:  if no link is given, this is an unverified reference from a secondary source.

From before 1970

  1. Prospects of another glacial period; Geologists Think the World May Be Frozen Up Again“, New York Times, 24 February 1895
  2. “Fifth Ice Age Is on the Way”, Los Angeles Times, 7 October 1912
  3. Sees Glacial Era Coming: Prof. Schmidt Warns Us of an Encroaching Ice Age”, New York Times, 7 October 1912
  4. “MacMillian Reports Signs of New Ice Age”, New York Times, 18 September 1924
  5. America in Longest Warm Spell Since 1776; Temperature Line Records a 25-Year Rise“, New York Times, 27 March 1933
  6. “A warmer Earth evident at poles”, Gladwin Hills, New York Times, 30 May 1947 — “A mysterious warming of the climate is slowly manifesting itself in the Arctic, engendering a “serious international problem,” Dr. Hans Ahlmann, noted Swedish geophysicist, said today.”
  7. “Is the World Getting Warmer?”, Albert Abarbenel and Thomas McCluskey, Saturday Evening Post, 1 July 1950
  8. Our Changing Climate“, New York Times, 10 August 1952 — “the world has been getting warmer in the last half century”
  9. “Climate – the Heat May be Off”, Fortune,  Francis Bello, August 1954 — “Despite all you may have read, heard or imagined, it’s been growing cooler – not warmer since the Thirties”
  10. The Coming Ice Age“, Betty Friedan, Harper’s Magazine, September 1958 — “A true scientific detective story”
  11. “A Warmer Earth Evident At Poles”, New York Times, 15 February 1959
  12. Carbon Dioxide and Climate“, Scientific America, July 1959
  13. Symposium on Changes of Climate with Special Reference to Arid Zones, World Meteorological Organization, Rome, 2-7 October 1961 — Proceedings (42 meg)
  14. Atmospheric Aerosols: Increased Concentrations during the Last Decade“, James T. Peterson and Reid A. Bryson, Science, 4 October 1968
  15. “Expert Says Arctic Ocean Will Soon Be Open Sea”, New York Times, 20 February 1969

From the 1970’s

  1. Colder Winters Held Dawn of New Ice Age“, Washington Post, 22 April 1970
  2. Climate Modification and National Security“, R R Rap, RAND, October 1970
  3. Inadvertent Climate Modification: Report of the Study of Man’s Impact on Climate, MIT Press, 1971
  4. Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate“, Rasool and Schneider, Science, 9 July 1971
  5. The Effect of Atmospheric Aerosols on Climate with Special Reference to Temperature near the Earth’s Surface“, J. Murray Mitchell Jr., Journal of Applied Meteorology, August 1971
  6. The Present Interglacial, How and When Will it End?”, Science, October 1972 — Summary of conference held in January 1972 at Brown U.
  7. An important letter sent to the President about the danger of climate change, 3 December 1972, which sparked the creation of NOAA’s Climate Analysis Center
  8. “Brace Yourself for Another Ice Age”, Science Digest, February 1973–  See photo copy of the article here (7 meg).
  9. “Ominous Changes in the World’s Weather”, Tom Alexander, Fortune, February 1974
  10. A Perspective on Climatic Change“, Reid A. Bryson, Science, 17 May 1974
  11. Another Ice Age?“, Time, 24 June 1974
  12. Report of the Ad Hoc Panel on the Present Interglacial“, the panel was created by the US government’s Interdepartmental Committee for Atmospheric Sciences, August 1974
  13. A study of climatological research as it pertains to intelligence problems”, CIA, August 1974 — Posted at Climate Monitory (36 pages)
  14. Potential Implications of Trends in Population Growth, Food Production, and Climate“, CIA, August 1974
  15. “Climate Changes Endanger World’s Food Output”, New York Times, 8 August1974 – Picture of article.
  16. A Reassessment of Atmospheric Pollution as a Cause of Long-Term Changes of Global Temperature“, J. Murray, Mitchell Jr., in Global Effects of Environmental Pollution, edited by S. Fred Singer. Dordrecht: Reidel. (1975).
  17. “Understanding Climate Change: A Program for Action”, National Academy of Science, 1975 — Not online.  Used copies can be purchased.  An oft-misrepresented balanced review of cooling and warming forces.
  18. “Climate Changes Called Ominous”, New York Times, 19 January 1975 — Picture of article.
  19. “A change in the weather”, George F. Will, op-ed in the Washington Post, 24 January 1975
  20. Climate Change:  Chilling Possibilities“, John F. Douglas, Science News, 1 March 1975
  21. “The Cooling World”, Newsweek, 28 April 1975 (posted with permission at the Washington Times here; or read this image)
  22. Scientists Ask Why World Climate is Changing; Major Cooling May Be Ahead”, The New York Times, 21 May 1975
  23. “In the Grip of a New Ice Age”, Nigel Calder (was editor of New Scientist), International Wildlife, July 1975
  24. “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”, Wallace S. Broecker, Science, 8 August 1975 (abstract)
  25. The Cooling, Lowell Ponte (Prentice Hall, 1976) — Not impressive; widely misrepresented by climate sketpics.
  26. Interview with Professor Reid Bryson in Mother Earth News, March/April 1976 — Wikipedia entry for Bryson.
  27. “The world’s climate is getting worse”, BusinessWeek, 2 August 1976
  28. Global Cooling?“, P E Damon and S M Kunen, Science, 6 August 1976 (abstract)
  29. “What’s Happening to Our Climate”, Samuel W. Matthews, National Geographic, November 1976 (text; image)
  30. The Weather Conspiracy:  The Coming of the New Ice Age, (Ballantine Books, 1977)
  31. Carbon Dioxide and Climate: A Scientific Assessment“, National Academy of Science, July 1979
  32. On time scales and causes of abrupt paleoclimatic events“, Hermann Flohn, Quaternary Research, July 1979

From after 1979

  1. The Ice Age Cometh?“, Time, 31 January 1994
  2. The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea”, Lloyd D. Keigwin, Science, 29 November 1996
  3. “The end of the present interglacial”, W.S. Broecker, Quaternary Science Reviews, 1 August 1998
  4. When Will the Next Ice Age Begin?“, New York Times, 11 November 2003
  5.   “The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus“, Thomas C. Peterson, William M. Connolley, and John Flect, American Meteorological Society, September 2008

3 thoughts on “History of climate fears”

  1. Althought your above list may not intend to be complete, there is an article not listed: 1923, Chicago Tribune, “Scientist Says Arctic Ice Will Wipe Out Canada.” I’m not sure of the exact date, but the article is referenced in the book, “Cool It . . .” by Bjorn Lomborg (pp 126).
    FM reply: There are many lists of such headlines, such as this one. They don’t cite sources, so I don’t list them.

    “Scientist says Arctic ice will wipe out Canada.”, Chicago Tribune, 9 August 1923 — Statements by Professor Gregory of Yale University, American representative to the Pan-Pacific Science Congress.

    Background information: Second Pan-Pacific Science Congress was held 13 — 22 August 1923 in Melbourne, Australia and 23 August — 3 September 1923 in Sydney. See their website here.

  2. Very very good. IRT climate fears, people prove the old proverb about a “fool returns to his folly, as a dog returns to his vomit.”

  3. The 1974 CIA report is available here. There was also a 1976 CIA report on climate change (released May 3, 1976) but I haven’t been able to locate a copy of it. I found mention of it in at least two newspaper articles (both available in google news archives) and a Time Magazine article:
    * “Environment: Forecast: Famine?“, Time, 17 May 1976
    * “Are we headed for another ice age“, The Day, 8 February 1978– (I believe “CIAC” is a typo and s/b “CIA”)
    * http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=PT8yAAAAIBAJ&sjid=vOUFAAAAIBAJ&pg=6388,6093 {bad line}

    Unfortunately, none of the three articles lists the report by name, although they do mention the report is based on studies by U. of Wisconsin climatologist Reid Bryson.
    FM reply: The 1976 CIA report might be “Potential Implications of Trends in Population Growth, Food Production, and Climate.” The data I have is August 1974, but that might be incorrect (I don’t have a copy; there’s nothing on Google). It fits the description.

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