Common Climate Questions

Q: Did climate scientists in the 1970s warn of global cooling?

A: While some media outlets carried this story back in the 1970s, most climate scientists at the time were not concerned about global cooling. Though climate science was less developed at that time, the vast majority of climate science papers published were related to the same concern that prevails today: warming due to the increase in heat-trapping gases.

There were a few papers published on the issue of particle pollution blocking out some of the incoming sunlight, an issue still with us today. And a few articles related to this in the popular press carried dramatic headlines. A recent paper in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society examined this issue in detail and concluded: “There was no scientific consensus in the 1970s that the Earth was headed into an imminent ice age. Indeed the possibility of anthropogenic [human-caused] warming dominated the peer-reviewed literature even then.”