Stephen H. Schneider’s 1970s Snowball Earth

Kenneth Richard is talking about a massive cover-up of a global cooling consensus in the 60s-80s over at Pierre Gosselin’s NoTricksZone – chief culprit the infamous Wiki climate change revisionist William Connolley. Coincidentally, I was talking about the global cooling scare on here just a few days ago. I mentioned Schneider in particular who, in a paper co-authored with S. I. Rasool published in 1972 says:

Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth . . . . . . An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.

Kenneth Richard cites a 1974 paper by Schneider as one of 285 scientific studies which he believes clearly demonstrates an 83% scientific global cooling consensus at that time. Two years on from his earlier study, Schneider still seems convinced that it is the cooling influence of anthropogenic aerosols, not warming CO2, which is the serious threat to global climate. He changed his mind, as is his scientific perogative, as the weight of evidence swung firmly in favour of an overwhelming warming anthropogenic influence (less generously, one might say he noticed that the wind was blowing in the opposite direction, hopped off the cooling bandwagon and swiftly jumped on the global warming bus). Whatever, he was in no doubt in the early 1970s that the earth had cooled considerably during the 1940s-60s:

screenshot-link-springer-com-2016-09-14-15-02-06

So, the earth cooled by 0.3C during the 1940s-60s, the Arctic cooled even more dramatically by 1C in just a decade and “some scientists” felt that anthropogenic aerosols might be responsible. ‘Some scientists’ were clearly warning that man’s activities might tip us into a new ‘catastrophic’ ice age, Schneider included.

Fast forward 42 years and we have not just “some scientists” but 97% apparently, warning us that man’s activities might tip us into an unstoppable Thermageddon Age. 30 years of cooling, 42 years of warming. Both blamed on industrial emissions. What’s the difference? The coolists didn’t get their act together in time to capitalise upon a trend which turned out to be temporary. The warmists most definitely did, to the tune of a cool $1.5 trillion. The ‘Pause’ rattled their bandwagon somewhat. Further warming will keep it rolling along very nicely thank you, despite the best efforts of us deniers. Only a 1940s-60s type downturn – or worse – in global temperatures will derail the global warming industry. It’s due in the next decade, starting as early as 2017/18. If it doesn’t happen, book yourself into your nearest cave or prepare for the era of £92.50/MWh carbon free Chinese/French nuclear energy. Because mega-expensive FrogChink nuke, windmills and solar power will be our only salvation on a Greenhouse Earth of which we were warned but which many of us failed to take heed.

40 thoughts on “Stephen H. Schneider’s 1970s Snowball Earth

  1. What does ” the Arctic cooled … by 1C in just a decade …” mean? If I said the Arctic has warmed by 1C in the last decade, would you accept it or would you ask about coverage, satellite corroboration, whether a trend can be determined for just 10 years or whether it is just noise. In other words, where is your famous skepticism?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jaime, thanks for highlighting this. In the ever-moving world of the “factosphere” (and not-so-factosphere!) we sometimes lose sight of that which was established some time ago. That aside, because I know that – not unlike me – you are a stickler for truth-in-posting … there are a few errors/typos you might want to fix:

    Pierre Goslin s/b Pierre Gosselin and while NoTricksZone is definitely his (very useful, IMHO) blog, the actual author of this exposé of Connolley’s deeds is Kenneth Richard.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s quite simple Raff. As they weren’t using satellites then, the reference to cooling was probably using some surface-based dataset, such as the Met Office’s Hadcrut. If we look at Hadcrut 4 for 70-90N, we see that the Arctic did indeed cool considerably from about 1945 to a low in 1980, whereafter a significant warming trend started. You will further note that the 1920s-40s Arctic warming is very similar to the 1980s-2000s warming, possibly even more pronounced. So if you said the Arctic has warmed by 1C, I would be inclined to believe you on the basis of looking at the longer term Hadcrut record and the shorter term satellite record, and I would probably regard such a temperature rise over ‘just’ a decade as part of the longer term cyclic variation in Arctic temperature.

    It’s a shame you can’t make sensible comments about a post without resorting to immediately questioning the personal qualities of the author, but thanks anyway for suggesting my scepticism may be famous and for not enclosing it in your customary inverted commas!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thanks for that Hilary. I will attend to the corrections, with apologies to Pierre for misspelling his surname and to Kenneth for not giving him credit where it was due.

    Like

  5. From the Schneider paper:

    “It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

    Has this been verified at all?

    Like

  6. Raff, the global anomaly series are really only indices. They do not measure that mythical beast, the global anomaly. The fact that there are so many competing indices for this one index is odd. There are even competing indices amidst the Hadcrut stable. Which index to pick? At least with inflation indices, you know which ones include whih items of cost and therefore can make an informed comparison. With climate science, there is no rigour whatsoever.

    Like

  7. BillBedford

    From wiki

    The following equivalent formulation of Arrhenius’ greenhouse law is still used today:[20]

    Δ F = α ln ⁡ ( C / C 0 ) {\displaystyle \Delta F=\alpha \ln(C/C_{0})} \Delta F=\alpha \ln(C/C_{0})

    Here C is carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration measured in parts per million by volume (ppmv); C0 denotes a baseline or unperturbed concentration of CO2, and ΔF is the radiative forcing, measured in watts per square meter. The constant alpha (α) has been assigned a value between five and seven.[20]

    basically it’s a case of turtles all the way down

    Like

  8. billbedford,

    That’s just the law of diminishing returns of CO2 radiative forcing. For a given rise in temperature (1C say), the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere has to be doubled, which means you have to add more and more CO2 to achieve the same forcing. This is uncontested and well established physics.

    Like

  9. That the cooling scare was not an urban myth is well known to those that dig deep enough. Nixon even created a cooling task force in 1974. Essay Fire and Ice in ebook Blowing Smoke provides more amuzing MSM examples. NTZ digging out 285 relevant papers is a nice,irrefutable, definitive proof.

    What is disheartening is how a few disreputable zealots created so much damage to truth so easily. Conley creating the ‘cooling urban myth’ myth via Wikipedia. Mann’s ‘hide the decline’ (and MWP and LIA) hockey stick in TAR. Stern’s nonsense damage function at essentially zero discount rate. Oreske’s Merchants of Doubt, now badly boomeranging in the US as Congress subpoenas the AGs. Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, which omitted the inconvenient Henry’s Law ~800 year lag in Delta CO2 to delta T in the ice core data from Greenland and Antarctica.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jaime
    When does the empirical relationship breakdown? I could accept that a doubling of CO2 levels from 300 ppm to 600 ppm could have about the same effect as from 150ppm to 300ppm. But would the effect be the same from 1 to 2 ppm as from 1000 to 2000 ppm? Whilst the question is not material when CO2 levels are rising by 0.5% a year, and when the levels have risen by 25% in the last 60 years, it may become material in the longer term. More importantly, does the climate sensitivity measure reduce or stay constant in the longer term?

    Like

  11. Manic,

    The simplified logarithmic expression for CO2 forcing apparently comes from IPCC AR1 which based it on a Mann et al study (1988). AR3 and AR4 clarify the relationship with the simple formula:

    ΔF = 5.35 ln (C/C0)

    where:

    C0 = pre-industrial level of CO2 (278ppm)
    C = level of CO2 we want to know about
    ΔF = radiative forcing at the top of atmosphere.

    This ‘first order forcing’ of CO2 is not theoretically derived as such, but arises as an empirical approximation after running many CO2 values through broad band and narrow band models of CO2 radiative forcing, which are in turn based upon well known spectral line by line (LBL) forcing calculations. The empirical relationship is only derived apparently for values in the range of pre-industrial (278ppm) CO2 up to 1000ppm.

    Science of Doom has a very good account:

    https://scienceofdoom.com/2010/02/19/co2-an-insignificant-trace-gas-part-seven-the-boring-numbers/

    Like

  12. There was a strong cooling in Iceland in the mid 1960s. It is consistent across the raw data sets from the different sites and it was noted in the newspapers at the time.

    Nowadays, climate scientists know better. This could not have happened so it has been adjusted away. (Lots about this at Paul Homewood’s blog.)

    Like

  13. What would be fascinating to know is how many of those 285 studies which supported a global cooling consensus suggested that the 1940s-70s cooling was due to man (aerosols), how many attributed it to natural causes, and how many did not express an opinion. Maybe I’ll wade through them all out of curiosity some day.

    I strongly suspect that, if the cooling had continued, we would by now have a new scientific global cooling consensus attributing most of the 1950-2010 cooling to industrial aerosol emissions.

    Like

  14. You could start by checking how many of the 285 actually support a global cooling consensus. For example,

    171. Ramanathan et al., 1989

    Water vapour and cloud are the dominant regulators of the radiative heating of the planet. ..The greenhouse effect of clouds may be larger than that resulting from a hundredfold increase in the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere. … The size of the observed net cloud forcing is about four times as large as the expected value of radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2. The shortwave and longwave components of cloud forcing are about ten times as large as those for a CO2 doubling.

    This doesn’t mention global cooling in the sense you mean it. The paper discusses the cooling effects of clouds, but that is miles away from what you want it to say. So strike that one.

    Like

  15. Hmm…

    Water vapour and cloud are the dominant regulators of the radiative heating of the planet. ..The greenhouse effect of clouds may be larger than that resulting from a hundredfold increase in the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere. … The size of the observed net cloud forcing is about four times as large as the expected value of radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2. The shortwave and longwave components of cloud forcing are about ten times as large as those for a CO2 doubling.

    Paging Willis.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Raff,

    Richard defines his criteria for the “cooling” consensus as follows:

    “Because when including the papers from the 1960s and 1970s that indicated the globe had cooled (by -0.3° C between the 1940s and ’70s), that this cooling was concerning (leading to extreme weather, drought, depressed crop yields, etc.), and/or that CO2’s climate influence was questionable to negligible, a conservative estimate for the number of scientific publications that did not agree with the alleged CO2-warming “consensus” was 220 papers for the 1965-’79 period, not 7”.

    So actually, it’s more ‘anti-CO2 warming’ than cooling. The cooling aspect comes in with the requirement that the studies mention the 40s-70s cooling and that it is a concern. In this respect, the paper you mention does seem to fit the bill, because it suggests that clouds are far more significant an influence on net radiative forcing than CO2. Of course, if the authors did not mention cooling, then it might not form part of the consensus according to Richard’s criteria.

    Like

  17. As I’ve been concentrating on Schneider, his 1978 paper, which Richard includes in the ‘cooling consensus’, appears to be where he is starting to become increasingly ‘concerned’ about GHG warming:

    I’m fully convinced that we face this dilemma with
    CO2, because the CO2 effect on climate should jump
    up out of the climatic noise level in the next decade or
    two, according to our climate models, and time will
    tell us whether the models are right if it happens. Will
    that event move the grain belt three or four hundred
    miles north, possibly drying out parts of the high
    plains or the California mountains? I don’t know but
    it is quite possible. We think a warming might
    improve the monsoons if it happened, and a grain belt
    displaced to the north would open agriculture at the
    northern end.

    I say ‘concerned’ because the main thrust of the paper is in talking about food shortages mainly induced through global cooling and its effect upon regional climates (he uses the Little Ice Age as an example). I say ‘concerned’ because he envisages an improvement in monsoons under warming and an expansion north of the grain belt. Schneider at this point is definitely not pessimistic about climate change:

    The real point here is that when we talk about
    fluctuations in climate we are not talking about the end
    of the world. I don’t see that climate changes could
    bring an evolutionary end to the human race. I don’t
    think they could even threaten more than 10 percent of
    the world’s population in a direct sense; and that
    would be without reserves under the worst kind of
    fluctuations I can conceive. Does that make climatic
    change a crisis? Well, if you take a completely
    evolutionary perspective, I don’t see it as a crisis at all.

    Personally, I would not include this paper in a ‘global cooling consensus’, even using Richard’s own criteria, but there again it’s hardly a paper which one would include as part of a ‘global warming consensus’ either. It’s too wishy-washy either way.

    http://calteches.library.caltech.edu/3194/1/consequences.pdf

    Like

  18. Hmm, another paper included in the consensus (no.45):

    Abstract
    Water samples have been collected in Scoresby Land, northeast Greenland, from glacier, meltwater, stream, river, and pingo sources in the Delta Dal; from pingo sources in the Schuchert Dal and on Traill Island; and from fiords adjoining these areas. The samples were analyzed chemically for their principal solute ions, and isotopically for their deuterium and oxygen-18 contents. The combined results are examined in an attempt to elucidate the origins of waters from individual sources, with particular reference to the problem of pingo genesis. It is concluded that all the waters discharging from these pingos are of recent meteoric origin, and that waters discharging from a group of related pingos do not necessarily have a common aquifer source.

    I might have opened up a can of worms here . . . .

    Liked by 2 people

  19. “the paper you mention does seem to fit the bill, because it suggests that clouds are far more significant an influence on net radiative forcing than CO2”

    Wont you find plenty of modern work that says that too? The paper was about cloud forcing so how can it not mention cooling effects. Its title was Cloud-Radiative Forcing and Climate: Results from the Earth Radiation Budget Experiment. Maybe just including the word ‘cooling’ gets a paper on this list 🙂

    Since WC is accused you maybe should read his blog post from Thursday on the subject and also his discussion of the wiki accusations from 5 years ago: http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2010/01/04/a-childs-garden-of-wikipedia-p/

    A comment at the recent WC (Stoat) article points out that Foster, 74 (#75) doesn’t qualify.

    Like

  20. “Won’t you find plenty of modern work that says that too?”

    I’m not sure you will. But anyway, if there were such papers, I’m pretty certain many of them would have been included in Cook’s 97% global warming consensus! Which only shows that counting studies which supposedly meet loosely defined and rather arbitrary criteria is not a very sophisticated way of demonstrating an expert consensus on any subject really.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. “I’m not sure you will”

    Probably because it is assumed to be true – Wiki gives the same numbers quoting IPCC which probably quotes Ramanathan.

    So you’ve gone from being interested enough in an “83%” consensus to write about it to concluding it is a crock of shit in a week. Slow, but well done!

    Like

  22. “So you’ve gone from being interested enough in an “83%” consensus to write about it to concluding it is a crock of shit in a week. Slow, but well done!”

    My ‘interest’ was not in an 83% erstwhile ‘cooling’ consensus, it was in the verifiable media-driven global cooling scare of the 70s and the many scientific papers at the time which fed the imagination of journalists, which may have endorsed their scare-mongering and in particular those which ascribed a man-made influence on the then recent global cooling.

    Please point to where I have concluded that Kenneth Richard’s consensus is “a crock of shit”. I have merely pointed out a couple of example papers whose inclusion in that consensus I think is questionable. I currently don’t have the time to go through all 285, so I would not be so bold as to voice an opinion, positive or negative, on the validity of Richard’s ‘global cooling consensus’.

    So rather than me being slow, it seems I am merely being careful, whereas you have jumped the gun in your haste to discredit Kenneth Richard’s survey.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Except that we don’t really know how many scientific papers were truly supportive of the idea because a) his criteria include an irrelevant “and/or that CO2’s climate influence was questionable to negligible” that in no way has any bearing on the cooling “scare”; and b) there is a at least one paper that doesn’t meet any of hi criteria (Ramanathan).

    Like

  24. But Ramanathan 1989 does meet his criteria as clearly set out here:

    “Again, there were at least 285 scientific publications that did not agree with the alleged CO2-warming “consensus” opinion during the 1960s to 1980s. The list is divided into several sub-sections:

    Cooling Since 1940, Forecasts for Continued Cooling/Ice Age (156 papers)

    Dubious Human Influence on Climate, Low CO2 Climate Sensitivity (44 papers)

    Rising CO2 Leads to Cooling (7)

    Uncertainties, Lack of Climate Understanding, Climate Modeling Problems (30)

    Miscellaneous Questionable Human, CO2 Influence on Climate (12)

    Non-CO2 Climate Change Mechanisms (26)

    Warmer past despite lower CO2 (10)”

    You may not agree with his criteria, but by including Ramanathan he has abided by them. You will note that according to Richard, 156 studies do predict continued cooling or the onset of an Ice Age. So your preferred cooling consensus without the other categories added in would consist only of these 156, but it would not include many studies which do not subscribe to the view that global warming via CO2 is very likely.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. And however Raff nit picks, the number of papers was not 8, which was the warmist’s version.

    My reading of the articles was a) having a go at the warmists pretence that the cooling scare wasn’t fairly widespread and b) that the counting of papers isn’t a way to predict the future. In other words a pop at the methods used in Cook et al. The only thing that matters is that there was a significant number, not exactly what that number was. The 83% consensus was in mockery of the 98%. Neither perentage is meaningful.

    The author wasn’t trying to say that we are cooling, although if the global temperature doesn’t catch up with the models the scientists will conlude that natural forces have pushed us into an ice age but it is being stopped by CO2. They’ll conlude that we’re burning through fossil fuels too fast and we’ll need them to stave off the ice age so must burn them sparringly to keep the 100,000 years of cold in check.

    c) The papers also point accusingly at modern global temperature series that have erased the cooling period. Do we really think that the scientists then were so innept? Are modern sientists so much better that they can rewrite the past? If you compare the 2001 GISS archive with the current version the difference is staggering. Were they even innept in 2001? Or are computers so much better at hiding human manipulation in 2016? Links hat tip Tony Heller.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20010507094631/http://www.giss.nasa.gov/data/update/gistemp/graphs/FigA.txt

    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs_v3/Fig.A.txt

    Plot your own graph and make your own conclusions. Without the manipulations, the global warming just wasn’t scarey. With this level of jiggery pokery, it’s a wonder the world’s press aren’t screaming for independent invigilators. But it seems they don’t even read their own archives, they just suck up the latest porkies.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. The Ramanathan paper doesn’t correspond to any of those categories. I expect others don’t either and that whoever ‘read’ them (if he really read them which I doubt since there are some behind paywalls) didn’t understand them or misinterpreted them.

    As for your/his NASA/GISS conspiracy theories, they are not interesting.

    Like

  27. Raff says:

    “The Ramanathan paper doesn’t correspond to any of those categories.”

    Ramanathan 1989 says:

    “The size of the observed net cloud forcing is about four times as large as the expected value of radiative forcing from a doubling of CO2. The shortwave and longwave components of cloud forcing are about ten times as large as those for a CO2 doubling. Hence, small changes in the cloud-radiative forcing fields can play a significant role as a climate feedback mechanism . . . . . .

    Significantly different estimates of cloud radiative effects have been used in models of past and future climates. In short, the fundamental question, whether clouds cool or warm the climate, has remained unanswered. Cloud-radiative interactions represent a large source of uncertainty in several areas including: (i) the prediction of climate changes associated with an anthropogenic increase in trace gases, and (ii) the understanding of past and future climate changes caused by variations in the solar constant or the orbital parameters of the earth.”

    Richard says:

    “Dubious Human Influence on Climate, Low CO2 Climate Sensitivity (44 papers)

    Uncertainties, Lack of Climate Understanding, Climate Modeling Problems (30)

    Miscellaneous Questionable Human, CO2 Influence on Climate (12)

    Non-CO2 Climate Change Mechanisms (26)”

    Ramanathan might reasonably fit into all of these categories, but especially the second, without a shadow of doubt.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. ‘In short, the fundamental question, whether clouds cool or warm the climate, has remained unanswered.’

    It also leads to other questions: daytime or nighttime, high cloud or low cloud, for example.

    Like

  29. The answer could indeed be complex – where the details about the cloud affect its effect. Making it very difficult to determine from short records. I suspect the effect of volanoes might be affected by more than the height the ash reaches too. Time of year, prevailing wind, rainfall, etc.

    Like

  30. Ramanathan and Inamdar have written a chapter in a 2006 book entitled ‘Frontiers of Climate Modelling’, which is well worth a read.
    http://www-ramanathan.ucsd.edu/files/brt18.pdf

    They point out that the global mean net effect of clouds as measured over a 5 year period by ERBE is -18W/sq.m, which is huge in comparison to the expected +4W/sq.m forcing expected from a doubling of CO2. So obviously any change in cloud cover (probably occurring over a shorter interval compared to the time it takes to double CO2) is almost certainly going to significantly affect the efficacy of anthropogenic GHG forcing. Nobody knows whether cloud feedbacks will be positive, negative or (unlikely) neutral.

    They also point out that cloud radiative forcing feedbacks are expected to vary regionally:

    Cloud feedback. This is still an unresolved issue (see Chapter 8). The few results we have on the role of cloud feedback in climate change is mostly from GCMs. Their treatment of clouds is so rudimentary that we need an observational basis to check the model conclusions. We do not know how the net forcing of −18 W m−2 will change in response to global warming. Thus, the magnitude as well as the sign of the cloud feedback is uncertain. Cloud radiative forcing effects are concentrated regionally (Figure 5.5). The data reveal three regions of major interest for future study.

    All that major uncertainty on just one issue (there are a good few others also), yet IPCC AR5 says it’s “extremely likely” that CO2 caused all the global warming from 1950-2010. Crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. If uncertainty is enough to qualify, then more or less any scientific paper fits. I’m surprised he only found 30.

    Like

  32. Science is fraught with uncertainty; it’s part of the intellectual landscape. When that uncertainty is so fundamental and of such magnitude that it can make the difference between a world which cools down and one which continues to heat up, it becomes defining.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s