[My response]

Comments by Nigel Calder, March 1999

Your web site on global cooling is what historians call whiggish. It describes past events and opinions, not as they appeared to people at the time, but with hindsight and with a partisan spin.

In the 1960s and 1970s almost *no one* took the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis seriously. Hubert Lamb, the founder of modern climate science, said that climate sensitivity to CO2 was greatly exaggerated. Bert Bolin has written: "At that time our concern ... made little impression on our colleagues, most of whom reacted with disbelief." As long as global cooling remained the dominant theme both of the thermometers and of climate science, through to the mid-1970s, the greenhouse story seemed obviously nonsensical. The temperature dip still makes no sense on that hypothesis.

While Lamb was warning of a possible Little Ice Age, Nick Shackleton was another of those who thought the coming big ice age had to be taken seriously. You quote him as saying that interglacials never last longer than 10-12 ky. And in my TV programme "The Weather Machine" (1974) Shackleton supported the "snow blitz" idea that ice quickly affects huge areas.

And to dismiss all press & TV, as you do on your web site, is daft. If leading scientists give opinions on TV, are they less reliable and reputable than if they say the same things in a symposium? And in cross- disciplinary discoveries, journalists tend to know key results long before experts in adjacent fields. For example I've been aware since last autumn of the new palaeobotany showing that CO2 obeys temperature rather than the other way around, but modellers like William Ingram at the Roy. Met. Soc. solar meeting remain ignorant of it.