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No David Kirtley, The 1970s Ice Age Scare Was Not A Myth!

January 29, 2023

By Paul Homewood


The global warming lobby has always been hugely embarrassed by the global cooling era after the 1940s and the proliferation of reports about coming ice ages:



There has been a bit of debate here on the ice age scares of the 1970s, so I thought it would be good to do a quick recap.

Despite the claims of David Kirtley above, Time Magazine was very much at the forefront of ice age alarmism. For instance, in 1974:



In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims. During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries. In Canada’s wheat belt, a particularly chilly and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest. Rainy Britain, on the other hand, has suffered from uncharacteristic dry spells the past few springs. A series of unusually cold winters has gripped the American Far West, while New England and northern Europe have recently experienced the mildest winters within anyone’s recollection.

As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, 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. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round.

Scientists have found other indications of global cooling. For one thing there has been a noticeable expansion of the great belt of dry, high-altitude polar winds —the so-called circumpolar vortex—that sweep from west to east around the top and bottom of the world. Indeed it is the widening of this cap of cold air that is the immediate cause of Africa’s drought. By blocking moisture-bearing equatorial winds and preventing them from bringing rainfall to the parched sub-Sahara region, as well as other drought-ridden areas stretching all the way from Central America to the Middle East and India, the polar winds have in effect caused the Sahara and other deserts to reach farther to the south. Paradoxically, the same vortex has created quite different weather quirks in the U.S. and other temperate zones. As the winds swirl around the globe, their southerly portions undulate like the bottom of a skirt. Cold air is pulled down across the Western U.S. and warm air is swept up to the Northeast. The collision of air masses of widely differing temperatures and humidity can create violent storms—the Midwest’s recent rash of disastrous tornadoes, for example.

And then there was New Scientist and the BBC:



Popular Technology published a thorough list of ice age scare reports a few years ago, and it remains the best I have seen:


But I’ll leave the last word to NOAA, who published this account in 1974:





  1. Mike Jackson permalink
    January 29, 2023 5:54 pm

    You have to give these people credit for trying.
    Their big problem is that if they admit that the 1970s scare existed and was a scare who is to say the current scare isn’t a scare??
    I think the next couple of years could be significant.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      January 30, 2023 9:17 am

      Worse, they have to admit that “top climate scientists” got it completely wrong. Which doesn’t suit today’s “top climate scientists.”

      And they’d have to admit that recent warming is following cooling, so not that scary.

  2. January 29, 2023 6:02 pm

    Context is important
    #1 The Kirtley article is not new the URL says 2013 !
    I expect there were lots of contemporary debunks from WUWT etc.

    #2 It’s on the blog of well known Alarmist Greg Laden, so I wouldn’t expect it to be far

  3. January 29, 2023 6:08 pm

    I went to college from 1972-76. The textbook in my science class, published in 1970, warned of the coming Ice-Age. For a great, short, read I suggest Dark Sun published in Fall of 2022. Yes, that big yellow star in our sky is the only thing that controls weather and climate on Earth. Al Gore has nothing to do with it. He and the chubby teenager are grifters, and President Xi in China is laughing his ass off as he watches foolish West destroying their own economies.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 29, 2023 7:03 pm

      Who is ” the chubby teenager”? If you are referring to she who looks like the cross between ET and a 9 year old girl, she is actually a 20 year old adult.

      • January 29, 2023 10:34 pm

        The Chubby Teenager I referred to was none other than The Greta–paid hack, petulant, chubby teenager whom the leaders of the Western democracies deferred to as they set in motion the destruction of their economies. I am certain the chubby one has a sir name, but it escapes me at the moment.

    • Gamecock permalink
      January 29, 2023 7:51 pm

      10-4, mr dick.

      I got my science degree January, 1971. I don’t remember the details, but I too was taught there was a coming ice age. As in, “soon.”

      So, were they lying, or just wrong?

      50 years later, are they lying or just wrong?

      • Chaswarnertoo permalink
        January 29, 2023 9:54 pm

        Just wrong. The latest Milankovitch wobble is very minor. We got lucky.

      • January 30, 2023 12:23 pm

        From fall, 1966 to spring 1969, I was working on my MA in plant taxonomy/ecology at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I well remember the discussions of a coming ice age with fellow grad students.

        It was already being noised in various media and scientific publications. Unlike today’s hysteria, such ice-age discussion was based on actual climate observations. There was no good understanding of what triggered ice-age episodes. We have better understanding now, but it is still a lot of surmise as to what triggers them.

        Today’s handwringing over climate change has done a lot of damage. Serious scientists do not get grants or even hired by the academic institutions. Unless you are singing from the woke page, you will not be heard and certainly ridiculed by the rest of the choir. It is impossible to have a serious, fact-based discussion of this and many other topics in today’s “climate”.

  4. January 29, 2023 6:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

  5. January 29, 2023 6:41 pm

    The Coming Ice Age
    by J G Bennett, 1961 / 62

    Click to access Natural-Catastrophes-4-The-Coming-Ice-Age-22-October-1961-1.pdf

    Note: An audio excerpt from Bennett’s lecture version of this paper, was used as an introduction to the Peter Gabriel song, “Here Comes the Flood” on Robert Fripp’s 1979 album Exposure.

    “From the scientific point of view it is now very likely that there will be again another Ice Age, quite soon, in the world, that we shall have the north part of the world all frozen like it used to be, and we’re beginning to have natural disasters, from the scientists’ study it seems likely that we should soon begin to have these great changes in the earth’s climate so people will not be able to live where they have, and the oceans will rise, and many cities will be flooded, like London, and Calcutta, and so on. These things, they say, will happen, according to scientific theory, in about forty years at the most, but maybe even quicker.”

  6. January 29, 2023 7:27 pm

    There was also The Times – front page 1st December 1976 – headline said:

    “Scientists discover what caused ice ages and forecast 20,000 cool years”

    And even NASA alluded to it as late as 2010 in their webpages on what are the primary forcings of the earth system:

    “According to scientists’ models of Earth’s orbit and orientation toward the Sun indicate that our world should be just beginning to enter a new period of cooling — perhaps the next ice age. ”

    You can see the screenshots at the website Just Stop Net Zero – you need to scroll to the bottom:

    You might even get the NASA one direct from the web archive yourself – may take a long time to get:

  7. Gamecock permalink
    January 29, 2023 7:52 pm

    ‘In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims.’

    Back when Africa was a country.

    Wait . . . what?

  8. MrGrimNasty permalink
    January 29, 2023 8:15 pm

    It’s probably from around the time that the fake Time cover was created by alarmists and promoted by Google ranking. That was why they did it, any sceptics looking for info on the ice age scare would pick it up and destroy their own credibility when it was exposed as fake.
    Any one around at the time knows it was a real mainstream worry and the worry was more about that than CO2 warming.

    • January 29, 2023 10:29 pm

      While I agree with your feelings this is all alarmism, I do not think Google was around when the 1970’s TIME mag cover was published. TIME is total BS and I cancelled my free subscription in the 1970’s.

      • MrGrimNasty permalink
        January 29, 2023 10:43 pm

        The fake Time cover was created by propagandists independent of Time, 10 years ago or a little more, and flooded around the internet for hapless sceptics to pick up. It was a deliberate disinformation trap designed to discredit the increasing coverage the resurrection of the fact of the previous ice age scare was getting at the time.
        Google/Time/1970s has no relevance.

      • January 29, 2023 11:13 pm

        Surely you do not believe the cover of TIME was a hoax. Lest you doubt the veracity of the claim, I received a free subscription to TIME when I started college at De Paul University in Chicago. Take it from one who saw the cover in question–It was real.

    • January 29, 2023 11:15 pm

      Wake up. foolish one. There was no GOOGLE in 1972. You are being lied to.

  9. dearieme permalink
    January 29, 2023 8:24 pm

    I started reading New Scientist young. Of course there was a global cooling scare. The bastards are lying to you again.

    • Hivemind permalink
      January 29, 2023 10:21 pm

      Me too, but it isn’t worth reading anymore. Too much warmist propaganda.

  10. John Hultquist permalink
    January 29, 2023 8:45 pm

    One needs to be aware that Lamb, Bryson, and others were focused on the idea that cool or cold periods are, weather-wise, more dangerous than warm periods.
    The expected cool was forecast from a look at the temperatures being experienced and not from massively complex models.
    There were simulation packages available, but I don’t recall them being used in the manner of the current long-range climate models. Most universities were using IBM System/360 models. Newer designs, apparently, maintain application-level compatibility with OS/360.

    • January 30, 2023 12:39 am

      Climate simulations are any kind of climate simulation. You must understand the longer term factors and they have never even tried to figure out what causes past climate change. Climate simulations would be funny if they were not being used to destroy Western Civilizations.

  11. Cheshire Red permalink
    January 29, 2023 8:47 pm

    Climate alarmists revising historical evidence which counters their sacred theory? Surely not?

  12. Harry Passfield permalink
    January 29, 2023 8:51 pm

    In 1971 I was hoping to do a BA with the then new OU but my employer (RAF) thought otherwise. But I did manage to get some of the course work on the QT and it seemed obvious that the OU were pushing the new eco-sciences with publications like Limits to Growth which they pushed (I still have my copy). I recall the beginning of the ice-age scare and I came to the conclusion later in life that it was a precursor scare – like a rehearsal – which had to morph into AGW after the incredible summer of 1976. Who would buy an ice-age scare in 1976? But AGW….

  13. January 29, 2023 10:02 pm

    See for yourself how leftist environmentalist agitprop segued from global cooling to global warming with my cool free Alarmistscope, a chronological listing of links to articles:

  14. LeedsChris permalink
    January 29, 2023 10:07 pm

    I undertook a climatology specialism as part of my geography degree in the middle 1970s. Lots of references to global cooling at that time and it was observable in the UK temperature records for the period 1959-1974 or so. Ironically the BBC itself was the publisher of a book by Nigel Calder, a popular science writer in 1974 – “The weather machine – the threat of ice”, which helped popularise the idea of a coming ice age.

  15. January 29, 2023 10:19 pm

    The trend shows no indication of reversing.

    Which didn’t prevent it reversing soon afterwards.

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      January 30, 2023 9:14 am

      Ah trends. Where would bad science and bad financial analysis be without trends?

  16. Philip Mulholland permalink
    January 30, 2023 12:01 am

    Also Hubert H Lamb. Oh, you mean the Hubert H Lamb?

    HUBERT H LAMB of Great Britain is an international authority on the long-term processes of climatic change. He is director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (U.K.) and for many years has been actively engaged in international research on climate, in particular polar meteorology and the study of climatic fluctuations. Among his many writings are “The Changing Climate” (1966) and, most recently, “Climate: Present, Past and Future”, a major study of which Volume I, “Fundamentals and the Climate Now” appeared last year (Methuen, London; Barnes and Noble, New York).

    Lamb, H. H. (1973) Is the Earth’s Climate Changing? For the past 30 years the temperature of our planet has been steadily dropping.
    The UNESCO Courier: a window open on the world; Vol. XXVI (8/9), 17-20.

  17. January 30, 2023 12:03 am

    Climate people, on the different sides, try to correlate real time changes with real time forcing.
    For ten thousand years, we have had alternating warm and cold periods. Ice core records have recorded these changes and recorded the primary causes.
    It snows more where polar ice is sequestered and more ice volume and weight cause ice flow and ice being pushed onto land and into the oceans. Cold periods follow the warm periods because of the cooling by thawing and reflecting ice.
    Polar oceans Sea Ice forms and halts evaporation and it does not snow enough to maintain the sequestered ice, the ice depletes until the ice flow stops and the ice retreats causing the next warm period to follow.
    We have had thousand year cycles with several hundred years alternation warm and cold and the period in between rapidly transitioning from one the the other.
    This is the new normal.
    They do not even have ice in their energy balance charts or theory.
    They do not study what has happened in the past or why.

    This disaster is not about the climate, not about natural climate change, this is only a weapon they use to destroy fossil fuels and the Western Way of Life as we have known it.

  18. January 30, 2023 12:33 am

    Once a Peer Reviewed Consensus is formed, based on Political Goals, honest science is never considered and not even studied.

  19. 3x2 permalink
    January 30, 2023 5:52 am

    scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval.

    Could have been written yesterday. Certainly will be written again soon.

  20. AverageJon permalink
    January 30, 2023 7:17 am

    Last time I checked Time magazine is not a scientific journal. If you look at peer reviewed scientific research there were SOME scientists whose studies predicted that pollution would make the earth cooler, but for every one of them there six (seven?) studies that predicted warming from green house gases.

    • thecliffclavenoffinance permalink
      January 30, 2023 7:54 am

      That is correct AverageJon
      The consensus since the late 1950s was for global warming from more CO2
      A small minority in the first half of the 1970s, who predicted a coming global cooling crisis, got a huge amount of media publicity. Of course a global warming trend began in 1975. And the inconvenient cooling trend from 1940 to 1975, as reported in 1975, with CO2 levels rising, has since been almost fully “adjusted away”.

      Scientists, until some did it in the early 1970s, did not go to the mass media with wild guess predictions of climate doom. They couldn’t be taken seriously by predicting a coming global warming crisis within a cooling trend from 1940 to 1975.

      However, all scientists noticed that the minority predictions of climate doom got a lot of media attention in the early 1970s. They started making scary long term climate predictions too, on global warming, since the 1979 Charney Report wild guessed some scary ECS numbers, which the IPCC adopted in 1988, and did not revise until a few years ago.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      January 30, 2023 1:16 pm

      ” If you look at peer reviewed scientific research ” Ah the almighty power of “peer reviewed” i.e. everyone agrees so yo should not disagree.
      However as Richard Horton Editor in chief of the Lancet stated
      ‘peer review to the public is portrayed as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller, but we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong’.
      So when I look at scientific research I judge it on its own merits and not because someone else tells me I should believe it.

  21. Bill Toland permalink
    January 30, 2023 7:59 am

    Here is a list of some of the news articles in the 1970s that warned of a coming ice age. Notice that Time magazine had three stories in different years; none of the links to Time magazine now work, presumably because they have been disappeared from the archives.

  22. January 30, 2023 10:57 am

    2022 Fake News awards

    The Climate section starts at 8m30s
    The BBC was shortlisted for its Extreme Weather show, but lost cos its own complaints unit actually owned up to some of the errors in the show.

    AP won for its story about how they take money from libmob to print Climate Alarmism
    They spun it as a positive.

    • January 30, 2023 2:43 pm

      direct link to Dinos2022 Climate section

      • January 30, 2023 5:22 pm

        There’s a few more in the next section Fact Check Fake news :
        #1 CBC How a London, Ontario., cricket plant found itself at the heart of an international conspiracy theory
        That is true, skeptics did overeach in asserting 100% of crickets were made there for HUMAN consumption,
        but the CBC Fact Check did overreach, it concluded that zero were , that they all go for pet food.
        It then spent 2 pages telling people they should really check their facts.
        And their side sneer tweeted that at everyone else.

        However other earlier CBC articles had written that some would be for human consumption, and later CBC articles mentioned the plant had started exporting to Korea for humans.
        furthermore 3 weeks after publication they added a footnote to the fact check saying that the company manager as saying that 10% of their world production went to humans .

        #2 Fact Check-Posts about the world’s population fitting into a 50.8-mile x 50.8-mile square are missing context
        One of those Fchecks here they said “yeh it is true BUT”
        .. no you idiots it’s true.. that’s all

        #3 Silly Fact Check: Does Photo Show Ariana Grande Kissing Osama bin Laden?

        #4 Fact Check-Widely-viewed picture is a computer-generated illustration of Antarctica as it appears from space
        When skeptics used the system to show in the inter there was plenty of ice .. NASA protested
        However they themselves had been using the same system images in summer to say there was a decline in ice.

        #5 Court: Facebook “fact-check” label does not mean that the assessment is “objective fact”
        A crazy US judge said fact checkers couldn’t be sued for libel .. cos doing a false fact check is just opinion

  23. January 30, 2023 3:21 pm

    The Times : July 24, 1971

    “… a cooling of the Earth by as much as 3½°C seems inevitable.”

    If pollution continues to increase at the present rate, formation of aerosols in the atmosphere will cause the onset of an ice age in about 50 years’ time.

    This conclusion, reached by Dr. S. I. Rasool and Dr S. H. Schneider, of the United States Goddard space flight centre, answers the apparently conflicting questions of whether an increase in the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere wild cause the Earth to warm up or increasing the aerosol content will cause it to cool down.

    The Americans have shown conclusively that the aerosol question is dominant.

    Two spectres haunting conservationists have been the prospect that meddling with the environment might lead to the planet’s becoming unbearably hot or cold.

    One of these ghosts has now been laid, because it seems that even an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to eight times its present value wild produce an increase in temperature of only 2°C. which would take place over several thousand years.

    But, the other problem now looms larger than ever. Aerosols are collections of small liquid or solid particles dispersed in air or some other medium. The particles are all so tiny that each is composed of only a few hundred atoms. Because of this they can float in the air for a very long time. Perhaps the most commonly experienced aerosol is industrial smog of the kind that plagued London in the 1950s and is an even greater problem in Los Angeles today.

    These collections of Aerosols reflect the Sun’s heat and thereby cause the Earth to cool.

    Dr Rasool and Dr Schneider have calculated the exact effect of a dust aerosol layer just above the Earth’s surface on the temperature of the planet.

    As the layer builds up, the present delicate balance between the amount of heat absorbed from the Sun and the amount radiated from the Earth is disturbed.

    The aerosol layer not only reflects much of the Sun’s light but also transmits the infrared radiation from below almost unimpeded.

    So, while the heat input to the surface drops, the loss of heat remains high until the planet cools to a new balanced state.

    Within fifty years, if no steps are taken to curb the spread of aerosols in the atmosphere, a cooling of the Earth by as much as 3½°C seems inevitable.

    If that lasts for only a few years it would start another ice age, and because the growing ice caps at each pole would themselves reflect much of the Sun’s radiation it would probably continue to develop even if the aerosol layer were destroyed.

    The only bright spot in this gloomy forecast lies in the hope expressed by Dr Rasool and Dr Schneider that nuclear power may replace fossil fuels in time to prevent the aerosol content of the atmosphere from becoming critical.

    By Nature Times-News Service.

    Source: Science, July 9 (173, 138; 1971), (© Nature-Times News Service, 1971.)


    • January 30, 2023 3:35 pm

      The title of the above Times article is :

      Pollution : Warning of new ice age

  24. January 30, 2023 4:03 pm

    The Times : October 21, 1972 : Climate: New ice age is on the way.

    Source : Science, October 13 (178, 191 1972)
    When Will the Present Interglacial End?

    One thing most of the glaciologists were in agreement about was that man’s activities have not as yet had any real effect on the world’s climates. Fears that artificial heating, and production, dust and carbon dioxide, will radically affect the climate are probably exaggerated.

    Studies of climate both before and after the industrial revolution show that present climatic trends appear to be entirely due to natural causes and not to man’s industrial activity. The conference was warned, however, that man’s activities might eventually trigger or speed climatic changes.

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