Classic Crock Repost: “What We Knew in 82”

January 20, 2014

Mike MacCracken was the first “real” climate scientist that I got to know, who started answering my questions, pointing things out to me, and introducing me to other folks.
Dr. MacCracken is a global treasure, in that he knows the course of climate science over the last half century as few others do, and sees the big picture in a way that few will.  For this interview, I crashed a conference at the University of Michigan in January 2012.

Next time you hear that climate science is something Al Gore invented in 2006, or that climate science predictions have been wrong,  pull out this video. A little history is in order.

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13 Responses to “Classic Crock Repost: “What We Knew in 82””


  1. For a majority of people perhaps Al Gore was the first person from which the idea of AGW was brought to their attention. The more the people who deny AGW try to dispute the facts, the more angry they get at Al Gore for bringing it to the masses. There is no disputing the fact that the big show he made about current CO2 levels going “through the roof” is simply the truth, and a piece of information we seriously need to grasp. When you mess with nature and its governing physics, nature hits back as we already see and will see more of at increasing rate in the future.

    We need more people like Al Gore in the public, but preferably someone with a long science background, and possibly not as rich, since that seems to put many people off. But the way that politics works in USA at least it seems you have to have some serious funds in order to have a say.

    But there are a lot humanity has to change by themselves in order to have any chance of fixing this in time. Something like a new world Gandhi would be a better candidate for the leader task.


  2. Just a link to the 1975 National Academy of Sciences report:

    Understanding Climate Change: A program for Action
    A little history book that is in the video can be read in full here:

    https://ia801806.us.archive.org/7/items/understandingcli00unit/understandingcli00unit.pdf

    • Peter Winn Says:

      Nice link. Thanks. I note two things that pop out at me that I hear from the lighter weight denialists: One that scientist are now calling it climate change instead of global warming: no, they were calling it climate change as far back as 1975 (at least); two that apparently scientist just discovered the ocean’s affect when there was a pause in the atmospheric warming, again no, this paper clearly states the importance of the oceans in the climate changes we experience.


      • It was not until 1975 when global warming was first used (peer-review) before it was

        Climate change or Climactic change.

        Here is one of the first articles that I had read on climate change by Gilbert Plass. dating myself but it was called (wait for it) “The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change” now free online

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2153-3490.1956.tb01206.x/abstract
        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2153-3490.1956.tb01206.x/pdf

        I think he was featured in the cover of American Scientist 1959(or 58)


      • Yes that “name change” is a popular meme from many who like to throw silly comments to dispute the science. Any scientists with some knowledge in earth sciences would say that the fundamental change to earths biosphere is an increase in the amount of CO2 that results in global warming. Climate change is really just one of several consequences of global warming, another one is species migration or ice melting. The rise in CO2 also causes additional problems for the oceans rising acidity.

        I would say that even “global warming” doesnt necessary fit the complete set of consequences – perhaps “planetary life support system change” is a better word. It certainly pins down the real problems as there are just too many Joe Average’s that looks out the window and is unable to spot climate change in their garden.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Some famous dead white guy once asked “What’s in a name?” I always think of “climate change” as something that has occurred naturally down through Earth’s history, and that “global warming” (GW) is a phase of climate change, just as is periodic “global cooling”.

          In my mind the important thing is to add the “A” for “anthropogenic” (man-caused) to “global warming” to get AGW. It is after all, man’s activities that have produced the huge increase in CO2 and greenhouse gasses that are producing a global warming that is not part of the natural cycles of “climate change”.

          And the worse things get, the more attractive CAGW becomes. “C” for “catastrophic”—-perhaps a bit “alarmist”, but a lot more believable than what the denialists and skeptics would have us believe.

  3. rayduray Says:

    Men’s Journal features a story about climate change and Aspen, Colorado. If you’ve got some time, this is a good read.

    http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/print-view/aspen-and-the-end-of-snow-20140117

    Blurb:

    Aspen and the End of Snow
    By Nathaniel Rich Feb 2014

    Can America’s greatest mountain town save itself, and the rest of us, from global warming?

    Aspen is running out of snow.

    The ski season is a month shorter than it was 50 years ago. It will be nearly two weeks shorter still by 2030, and it will continue to shrink in subsequent decades…. continues at website….

    • dumboldguy Says:

      WOW! And I repeat, WOW!!! Thank you, Ray.

      The Aspen article is more than a “good read”, it’s terrific. It almost reads like a novel, with heroes and villains, and even a Koch brother! It examines the multifaceted problems faced by all of Colorado and most of the west. I have a son living in Crested Butte, just over the mountain from Aspen, and we have been discussing the global warming problem for years, particularlyh as it impacts Colorado. This Men’s Journal is spot on regarding both climate change impact and the politics involved in dealing with it.

      • rayduray Says:

        Hi old guy,

        Since I was unfamiliar with Nathaniel Rich I googled him. Turns out he’s the son of Frank Rich, the noted New York journalist.

        And indeed as you presciently guessed, Nathaniel is a novelist. Though a graciously humble one who opines that “…today, perhaps for the first time in history, our scientists’ predictions have outpaced the creative powers of our novelists. Even as a form, the dystopian novel seems quaint — our worst fears are already upon us. ” http://tinyurl.com/lehrx8l

        I’ve decided to give Nate’s dystopian novel “Odds Against Tomorrow” a shot. http://tinyurl.com/mutr4p3 Somehow this reminds me of the Damon Runyon quote, ““the race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s how the smart money bets.”

        I’m going to bet on the future being no less dystopian and hilarious than the present. 🙂

        Did you hear the one about the rich Nigerians escaping the environmental chaos of Lagos by building a World Bank funded sand bank in the Atlantic? You can’t make this stuff up. It’s called the Lagos Eko Project. Cute name, eh? This is what passes for smart money betting today. Oy vey!

        • dumboldguy Says:

          Lagos Eko is really brilliant. When they start to have hurricanes in that part of the Atlantic, it won’t last long. If I’m not mistaken, Nigeria is not a particularly “windy” place either—-50 mph is normal max—-storm surge anyone?


  4. that red line of observed data is very effective.

  5. jsam Says:

    Reblogged this on Gra Machree and commented:
    Seemingly intelligent people still tell me of conspiracy theories, that global warming is a political hoax. If there’s a conspiracy, the data is in on it too. Film from 1958 and 1982 is featured herein…


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