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BBC Climate Check–May 1973

May 12, 2020
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By Paul Homewood



As the BBC’s Ben Rich has not managed to find any bad weather to blame on global warming for two months running, I thought I ought to lend a hand and put him in a time machine back to 1973!





This is Ben Rich.

Welcome to the BBC’s latest climate check, BBC Weather’s update on our changing climate.

America’s wretched weather this spring just keeps getting worse. After an unusually cold and wet winter, extreme rainfall in March has brought the worst floods to the Mississippi since the great floods of 1927. The disaster began in early March upstream, and has affected every part of the river from Wisconsin to the coast. 50,000 people have had to be evacuated as a result.

With heavy snowmelt in the Rockies now taking place, flooding is expected to get worse before it gets better.


Morgan City, LA  – May 1973


 It is not only the Mississippi which is affected. Most of the eastern half of the country has been hit, including severe flooding in the Northeast. The West has not escaped either, with many states hit by floods as well.


While there is too much rain in America, there has been a deadly shortage of rain across swathes of Africa and Asia. The African Sahel is now in its 6th year of the worst drought in memory. The drought has also been extending eastwards into Asia, with India badly affected. Last year’s monsoon was the driest since 1918.

Back in America, the extreme weather has also brought tornadoes, adding to the misery, with dozens of deaths so far this spring.


Scientists say that all of these events are tied to a general cooling of the Earth’s climate since the war. Worryingly sea ice in the Arctic has been expanding substantially in the last few years.

Here in the UK, the growing season is already two weeks shorter than before 1950. Experts are now concerned that the world’s climate could return to the that of the Little Ice Age, an era of drought and famine.

Climate scientists are now monitoring the world’s weather to see if that really is the case.


  1. Richard Bell permalink
    May 12, 2020 2:37 pm

    Love it …… As a kid in the 70’s ( 13 in 1973 ) I remember well the press the possible threat of GLOBAL COOLING ……. by the hot summer of 1976 it all went away.

    • May 12, 2020 3:27 pm

      Me too.

    • Redge permalink
      May 14, 2020 2:36 pm

      Me too.

      I remember the cricket being called off at Buxton in early June 1975 due to snow settling.

  2. May 12, 2020 3:26 pm

    Interesting, with the focus on VE day many programmes interviewed veterans and although memories are not as good as data, many remarks included how nice the weather was around WW2

  3. Mike Jackson permalink
    May 12, 2020 3:43 pm


    It’s all of a piece, isn’t it? Those of us who lived through the 50s, 60s, and 70s know that they’re spouting nonsense about the damage that may/might/could happen at some indeterminate date after they are dead. A lot of them know it as well but they are banking on the day of reckoning being far enough off for it to be too late to undo the social and economic damage — or success, as they see it — that they’ve caused.

    The real problem is the number of high profile suckers (names like Thompson, Westwood, and just about any western politician spring to mind) who are so dim they cannot understand that, eg, buying carbon credits does nothing to reduce CO2 emissions and that growing crops to burn instead of to eat is equally counter-productive!

    And they can wriggle as much as they like. The 1970s scare stories were about global cooling. What was so marvellous about 1975 (first time we had a boat holiday on the Avon — magic!) and 1976 was how rare those summers were!

    I wonder at the gullibility of people like Rich — and many others. When did our journalists and media researchers stop using their brains?

    • John Cullen permalink
      May 12, 2020 6:18 pm

      Back in 1974 the BBC published a book [Ref. 1] to accompany its television programme called “The Weather Machine” which was written by the late Nigel Calder. The subtitle of the book was “And the Threat of Ice”.

      Those were the days before the BBC morphed into the British Climate Corporation and became the mouthpiece of the green-industrial complex. I date the consolidation of this new role to their 28-Gate meeting [Ref. 2] on 26th January 2006. What a sad decline for the BBC and what a pity for its listeners/viewers.

      1. Nigel Calder, “The Weather Machine”, BBC, 1974, ISBN 0 563 12646 9.
      2. See for example:


      • May 13, 2020 8:12 am

        Many thanks for the reminder. Sadly, the exposures have not made a jots-worth of difference to the behaviour of the BBC since. The campaign to cease its funding tax needs uplifting.

  4. Phoenix44 permalink
    May 13, 2020 8:18 am

    I well remember increasing deserificationand the Sahel as a major theme of my Geography education in the 1970s. All doom and gloom back then too! That’s the constant really, that everything is bad and going to get worse.

  5. tom0mason permalink
    May 13, 2020 10:49 am

  6. tom0mason permalink
    May 15, 2020 7:42 am

    Just some fun (IMO that hits the mark) at the expense of the BBC …

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