Wally Broeker: Father of “Global Warming”, in a Warning to his Granddaughter

April 27, 2018

Columbia University, Earth Institute:

Wallace Broecker from Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is one of the world’s greatest living geoscientists. He discovered the “global conveyor belt” that connects the world’s oceans and can cause to abrupt climate change. His pioneering work on the carbon cycle and melting polar ice made him the “grandfather of climate science.” But to Anna Keyes, he’s just “Grampy.”

Growing up, Keyes didn’t realize that her grandfather was something of a science celebrity. “When you’re a kid, you think everything in your life is the way it is for everyone,” she says. “I was like ‘I have a scientist grandfather, no big deal.’” She’d seen photos of Broecker with Bill Clinton, and with the Pope, but the reality of her grandfather’s importance didn’t hit home until middle school, when she and her mother were flown to Rome to see him accept an award from the Italian president.

“I’ve come to understand him differently over time,” Keyes explains. “The older I get, the more I appreciate being his grandchild.”


So, when she was in college and there was a contest about sustainability and combating climate change, she decided to interview her grandfather. The resulting video is posted on Keyes’ Vimeo page, and you can listen to the audio right here:

Science, August 8, 1975, Are We on the Brink of Pronounced Global Warming?:


If man-made dust is unimportant as a major cause of climatic change, then a strong case can be made that the present cooling trend will, within a decade or so, give way to a pronounced warming induced by carbon dioxide. By analogy with similar events in the past, the natural climatic cooling which, since 1940, has more than compensated for the carbon dioxide effect, will soon bottom out. Once this happens, the exponential rise in the atmospheric carbon dioxide content will tend to become a significant factor and by early in the next century will have driven the mean planetary temperature beyond the limits experienced during the last 1000 years.


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13 Responses to “Wally Broeker: Father of “Global Warming”, in a Warning to his Granddaughter”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Global temps up to now:

    • grindupbaker Says:

      Well yes but you started in 1880 AD after stating, quite reasonably, that ~1750 AD should be the start point. Make some effort by thinking and adding your own interesting thoughts about these GMST & regional MST analyses. We are all well past this.

  2. redskylite Says:

    An apology from Anna Keyes iconic grandad

    “An open letter of apology to the entire planet from Wallace Smith Broecker, the scientist who coined the phrase “global warming” in 1975”

    Dear Planet Earth And Its Denizens,

    As the scientist who named human-caused climate change “global warming,” I’d like to formally apologize. Looks like I screwed the pooch on this one. Screwed the pooch real bad.

    After watching on CSPAN a senator take a snowball to the floor of the U.S. Senate as some attempt at evidence that global warming wasn’t real, I felt that old familiar knot of frustration welling up in my chest that I get when I see people misunderstanding or willfully misrepresenting the concept of global warming. But then when I realized this wasn’t just any senator, it was the Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I sunk to a new low…

    Oh, that I could name it something else. Anything else. I wake up with nightmares almost every night now, screaming out other names I could have given it.

    “The Bad Pollution Hurt Earth Effect!” I shout from a cold sweat at 3 a.m.

    “The Let’s Stop Poisoning Our Grandchildren, Please? Phenomenon!” I cry softly in the early morning hours of another sleepless night…


    • grindupbaker Says:

      Unless there’s some official high-quality definition never revealed to us humans, “global warming” is a pathetically undefined phrase. When I searched for its meaning 5 years ago I found a dozen purported meanings with great variation and many of them childishly inane. Even Kevin Trenberth misspoke at SFU. That’s a rarity. +triatomic+ in the air has increased the heat content of Earth’s ecosphere which I’m taking as 20′ below solid surface (from Trenberth) to the top of troposphere. Surface is socio-politico, only because humans don’t live in the oceans, unrelated to physical science.

  3. redskylite Says:

    A sobering report from the University of East Anglia on a recently discovered hypoxic zone in the Arabian sea off Oman.

    “They are a disaster waiting to happen – made worse by climate change, as warmer waters hold less oxygen, and by fertiliser and sewage running off the land into the seas.

    “The Arabian Sea is the largest and thickest dead zone in the world. But until now, no-one really knew how bad the situation was because piracy and conflicts in the area have made it too dangerous to collect data.

    “We barely have any data collected for almost half a century because of how difficult it is to send ships there.

    “Our research shows that the situation is actually worse than feared – and that the area of dead zone is vast and growing. The ocean is suffocating.

    “Of course all fish, marine plants and other animals need oxygen, so they can’t survive there. It’s a real environmental problem, with dire consequences for humans too who rely on the oceans for food and employment.

    “Another problem is that when oxygen is absent, the chemical cycling of nitrogen – a key nutrient for plant growth – changes dramatically. Nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than CO2 is produced,” he added.


  4. L RACINE Says:

    Thank you for the link to AAAS but to read the article there is a $50 pay wall…. sadly shaking my head!

  5. ted knopper Says:

    While it is warmer than say 20,000 BP or in say 1625, the depths of the little ice age it should be pointed out the graphs used in the comments and in the article are very limited in time and have been subjected to many many revisions to fit the narrative desired. An example of past temperatures is here https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379113004162
    or here
    To use a time frame of 1880 to the present of even much shorter is allowing one to make a huge error in the results unless of course the reason for all past temperature swings in the climate have been discovered.

    • redskylite Says:

      congratulations on the correct spelling of “graphs”

    • grindupbaker Says:

      Only reference to (proxy) temperatures at your 1st link is for China. It’s far more important to be honest rather than being dishonest like you and comparing proxy temperature of China with instrumental average temperature of the entire southern hemisphere plus the entire northern hemisphere (what real scientists have decided to call “the global” for some reason) than it is to inform those of us with reading skills that the time is the time shown as the X axis on graph annotations.

  6. grindupbaker Says:

    Very relaxing video for late evening viewing at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfyhOxqzzSs features at 45:20 Wally Broecker being covered in batter for failing to define “global warming” and Earth’s ecosphere heat rigidly.

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