1970s climatology textbook and global warming

How things have changed. My first exposure to the science of climatology was in 1980, when I took an upper-division Physical Climatology course at the University of Utah. I still have the textbook: Smith, 1975, Principles of Applied Climatology.

The picture is a scan showing just about everything the book said about CO2 and climate change.

A few thoughts:

1. Climatologists in the 1970s predicted that atmospheric CO2 would increase to 418–450 ppm by 2010 [the atmosphere just hit 400 ppm this past few months], and a doubling of atmospheric CO2 by sometime in the 21st century.

2. Climatologists in the 1970s predicted global warming of 2° to 3°C in the 21st century because of this increase of atmospheric CO2.

3. There was no discussion in the textbook about the implications of a global 2° to 3°C temperature increase.

4. I didn’t make any marks or notes in the section, so it didn’t make too much of an impression on me at the time.


Grace and Peace

©Kevin Nelstead/The GeoChristian


7 thoughts on “1970s climatology textbook and global warming

  1. I love how completely apolitical the ’70’s text is. If we could just separate the science from policy more people might accept the science and we could have a real debate on policy.


  2. Dan hiegel

    I saw on facebook that u believe in the science of climate change. My understanding from hugh ross is that even if all countries agree to kyote…which they wont…computer.models indicate continuing warming…..in us kypte wll cost 1 trillion usd and wont help per the science. His solution….cheaper to move to areas where plants will grow faster….what do u believe?


  3. geochristian

    Dan — Most climatologists say that because of carbon dioxide that has already been added to the atmosphere, warming will continue no matter what we do. But they also say that cutting back on CO2 emissions can reduce the amount of future warming.

    Even aside from the threat of global warming, we need a multi-faceted energy policy. The costs associated with alternative energy sources, such as wind and solar, is rapidly declining. Investing in these sources (I didn’t say subsidizing these sources) could be a win-win-win solution: good for the environment, good for the economy, and good for national security.


  4. Dan hiegel

    Agreed on alternative energy sources…im conerned tho that the solutions offered by most will greatly harm 3rd world economjes and without them on board the tax penalties in us would be puntitive without helping…even according to their own models. Im all for clean air and tax penalties….less certain about helpfulness of penalties for greenhouse gases….i dont think they are a true pollutant and if they are….what is the solution?? I see cal is now going to tax cow farts….methane….ludicrous. uk is already doing this.


  5. tkhelble

    For those of us who are concerned about the cost/impacts of renewable energy technologies on 3rd world countries, you can always donate to organizations like the Solar Electric Light Fund. They help poor villages set up power production that doesn’t rely on connection to a centralized grid.


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