Ecocentric

Sorry, a TIME Magazine Cover Did Not Predict a Coming Ice Age

A doctored TIME magazine cover warns of a coming ice age. But the reality remains that the world is warming, thanks chiefly to human action

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Andrew Bret Wallis / Getty Images

The newsmagazine business isn’t what it used to be. (Though, hey, it could be worse.) But the space between the red borders of TIME magazine remains some of the most valuable real estate in the news industry. You can tell by how often doctored TIME covers show up in protest crowds, movies, TV shows and on the Web. Former TIME International editor Jim Frederick even had a copy of this fake TIME from the video game Call of Duty 3 hanging up in his office — a fact that drove me insane with jealousy.

Ads, jokes and protests are one thing, though — hoax covers are something else entirely. And that’s the problem with a faked TIME cover about global warming that’s been floating around the Internet for some time. (Hat tip to the science blogger David Kirtley, who posted on this a couple of days ago.) You can see it here:

The cover on the right is real. (I should know — I wrote the story about China and India that’s mentioned in the subhead.) The one on the left is very much not. It’s a doctored version of this cover, from 2007:

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Apparently the hoax cover has been floating around the Internet for at least a few years. I’m not sure who created it, and it doesn’t seem to have gotten a whole lot of traction, even among climate-science deniers. Though kudos to whoever initially put the fake cover together. That’s some pretty good photoshopping.

But the hoax does touch on an important part of climate science — and one that’s often misunderstood by skeptics. Call it the Ice Age Fallacy. Skeptics argue that back in the 1970s both popular media and some scientists were far more worried about global cooling than they were about global warming. For some reason a Newsweek article on the next ice age, published back in 1975, gets a lot of the attention, though TIME did a version of the story, as did a number of other media outlets. The rationale goes this way: the fact that scientists were once supposedly so concerned about global cooling, which didn’t come true, just shows that we shouldn’t worry about the new fears of climate change.

But as John Cook points out over at Skeptical Science, global cooling was much more an invention of the media than it was a real scientific concern. A survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published between 1965 and 1979 shows that the large majority of research at the time predicted that the earth would warm as carbon-dioxide levels rose — as indeed it has. And some of those global-cooling projections were based on the idea that aerosol levels in the atmosphere — which are a product of air pollution from sources like coal burning and which contribute to cooling by deflecting sunlight in the atmosphere — would keep rising. But thanks to environmental legislation like the Clean Air Acts, global air-pollution levels — not including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide — peaked in the 1970s and began declining.

The reality is that scientists in the 1970s were just beginning to understand how climate change and aerosol pollution might impact global temperatures. Add in the media-hype cycle — which was true then as it is now — and you have some coverage that turned out to be wrong. But thanks to the Internet, those stories stay undead, recycled by notorious climate skeptics like George Will. Pay no attention to the Photoshop. It’s the science we should heed — and the science says man-made climate change is real and very, very worrying.

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41 comments
derekharp
derekharp

The cover might be a fake, however, the words written in the 1974 article titled "Another Ice Age?" were very real. The meteorologists were sure the science was valid and could not be disputed. Funny! 

PhillipWilliams
PhillipWilliams

Anyone growing up in the 70's remembers science magazines and the media warning of approaching glaciers and the new ice age.

upshawta
upshawta

@PhillipWilliams This is simply not true. I grew up then, and the only cooling effect disaster we heard much at all about, briefly, was the consequences of "nuclear winter." Nobody I know was "worried" about a new ice age since the predictions for its full onset were inevitably centuries hence. There was an early (1960's) article about a "new ice age" in one of our local Oklahoma newspaper magazines, which I have a copy of, but those scientists (with ties to oil industry funding of course) were putting forth an untested hypothesis exactly counter to the vast majority who were becoming concerned about global warming. The latter were right. 

SteveHolle
SteveHolle

So...are we supposed to believe Time when they publish an article in the November 13, 1972 issue reporting cycles of "at least 8 periods of extreme cold and seven of torrid heat in the past 400,000 years."  How about the June 24th 1974 story of titled "Another Ice Age?"  Or is this link a fake also?

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html

Why shouldn't we believe that this isn't just another media hyped catastrophe the press is generating? 

WilliamFarris
WilliamFarris

@SteveHolle Because man influenced climate change is backed by mountains of evidence and almost the entirety of the world's climate science community. That's how. This is not some single study being over-hyped, it's thousands of studies and decades of research coming to the same conclusion. 

jgsr
jgsr

it's not the supposedly accurate warming data, that people like me disagree with....its the Conclusions drawn from the data that i disagree with.

any idiot can see the Arctic ice melt

BUT 

them there's the increase in the Antarctic ice field

and the above normal GLOBAL ice field....in total...as in Global

There is absolutely Arctic Warming afoot

david.appell
david.appell

@jgsr THere is no global increase in ice (you need to consider volume, not area or extent.

infolepinc
infolepinc

Worldwide temperatures had been falling in the 1960s and 1970s.  There was a real concern for a coming ice age.  We had a run up in temperatures that ended about 2004.  Now we are facing a very very cold period.  Instead of Global WARMING deniers, we will be seeing Global COOLING Deniers in the next two years and beyond.  Serious scientists whose paychecks do not depend on supporting the popular man-made Global Warming myth are unified in predicting a little ice age!!

dmacginty1
dmacginty1

To the writer Bryan Walsh: I understand you are upset. Your side is being rightfully mocked for the insane level of lies and hoaxery pushing a dopey dingbat leftist political agenda that needs fear tactics. The parody Time cover objected to by you, pushing "a coming ice age" hoax accurately reflects the leftist media's lies about climate change in that February 1974 Time Magazine edition. So stop your lying and environmental hoax and nonsense. You libs are truly silly irrelevant people. This just shows how idiotic your phony hoax made up scare tactics are. Read it commie lib ; ) http://web.archive.org/web/20060812025725/http://time-proxy.yaga.com/time/archive/printout/0,23657,944914,00.html

PatchesJones
PatchesJones

The world HAS ALWAYS gone through Extreme Weather Change! HELLLLLOOOO MORONS! Remember the Actual Ice Age?! Now How many of you babbling half-wits would like to try to blame that on Man? Anybody? Of course it's kind of hard to do since MAN DIDN'T EXIST THEN! lol

And after the EXTREME Cold Climate didn't the World have to start slowly but surely Warm up to the point where the Ice Melted?! Oh now THAT HAD TO BE............................................Oh wait! Man STILL didn't exist! 

Oh I know! I'm not understanding the fundamental basics of blah, blah, blah, blah...........................RME lol

That's the same old Garbage Fools have been spewing for years now. Instead of offering up any proof to counter these arguments PROVING CLIMATE CHANGE IS A HUGE MASSIVE FRAUD! The Fools simply Mock, and attack! 

None of which, disproves my statements.

PatchesJones
PatchesJones

Uh no! The photo on the right is NOT real! It has been photoshopped! Duh! Polar Bears can swim up to 60 miles in the Arctic Water! That photo is so fake! And those HALF-WITS who stupidly believe in climate Change being Man-Made are a bunch of sick pukes! Trying to help the Govt Take over our lives with Extreme Regulations guaranteed to send us back into the Dark Ages! 

But of course the Puke Politicians WON'T give up a darn thing! Oh No! They're too "Special" to give up their Private Jets, Or frequent Trips in FIRST CLASS to "study" problems, Or their big houses, Or their SUVs, Ooooooh Noooooo! that's just for the "Little People" to give up! 

You psycho-pukes on the Far-Left won't be happy until everyone is wearing the same BLAND BUTT-UGLY outfits, eating the same BLAND TASTELESS Food, Driving the same BUTT-UGLY Cars and only for an allotted number of miles. 

Yeah? Well you pukes can go ahead and PRETEND to laugh at me and mock me and call me names. I know you pukes are an Ammoral lot! truth or lies, right or wrong, DOESN'T MATTER AS Opposed to whatever promotes your sick worthless little Power-Hungry Agenda's. All in the name of "Saving the Earth"! After All, Who but "Evil" People could possibly object to that? RME (shaking head)

StevenDufau
StevenDufau

Problem is I am old enough to remember reading the article!! Now I've seen everything TIME denying their own story.

43stinky51
43stinky51

From Time Magazine's OWN website:

http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00.html


Another Ice Age?
Monday, June 24, 1974

In Africa, drought continues for the sixth consecutive year, adding terribly to the toll of famine victims. During 1972 record rains in parts of the U.S., Pakistan and Japan caused some of the worst flooding in centuries. In Canada's wheat belt, a particularly chilly and rainy spring has delayed planting and may well bring a disappointingly small harvest. Rainy Britain, on the other hand, has suffered from uncharacteristic dry spells the past few springs. A series of unusually cold winters has gripped the American Far West, while New England and northern Europe have... 

Here's more of the article (from a different website):

http://newsbusters.org/node/6546


"As they review the bizarre and unpredictable weather pattern of the past several years, a growing number of scientists are beginning to suspect that many seemingly contradictory meteorological fluctuations are actually part of a global climatic upheaval. However widely the weather varies from place to place and time to time, when meteorologists take an average of temperatures around the globe they find that the atmosphere has been growing gradually cooler for the past three decades. The trend shows no indication of reversing. Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive, for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age. 

Telltale signs are everywhere —from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest.Since the 1940s the mean global temperature has dropped about 2.7° F. Although that figure is at best an estimate, it is supported by other convincing data. When Climatologist George J. Kukla of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory and his wife Helena analyzed satellite weather data for the Northern Hemisphere, they found that the area of the ice and snow cover had suddenly increased by 12% in 1971 and the increase has persisted ever since. Areas of Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, were once totally free of any snow in summer; now they are covered year round."

gharlane
gharlane

@43stinky51  Reading comprehension problem?  Do you have a problem with the mouse button -- you know, the thingy you use to click links with?  Do you even understand what a link is?  


The current story links to the 1974 story where Walsh writes: "For some reason a Newsweek article on the next ice age, published back in 1975, gets a lot of the attention, though TIME did a version of the story, as did a number of other media outlets."  


You guys are hilarious, trying to "prove" that Time is now trying to "hide" the 1974 story, when it's linked right here.  Idiots.


Of course it's obvious why: it's all you've got.  You can't argue with the rest of the story, so you focus on the nonissue of Time "hiding" the 1974 story when in actuality no such thing has occurred.  The actual substance of the argument is of course in the story, but I'll post it again here:


"The rationale goes this way: the fact that scientists were once supposedly so concerned about global cooling, which didn’t come true, just shows that we shouldn’t worry about the new fears of climate change.

"But as John Cook points out over at Skeptical Science, global cooling was much more an invention of the media than it was a real scientific concern. A survey of peer-reviewed scientific papers published between 1965 and 1979 shows that the large majority of research at the time predicted that the earth would warm as carbon-dioxide levels rose — as indeed it has. And some of those global-cooling projections were based on the idea that aerosol levels in the atmosphere — which are a product of air pollution from sources like coal burning and which contribute to cooling by deflecting sunlight in the atmosphere — would keep rising. But thanks to environmental legislation like the Clean Air Acts, global air-pollution levels — not including greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide — peaked in the 1970s and began declining."

Oops.

Of course you didn't read this when it was posted in the story in the first place, so there's no real reason to believe you'll read it now.

JackWolf's comment downthread does a good job of charting the rise in global temp averages over time, together with other supporting data.  But I realize that sort of thing isn't important to you.  Obviously.


SteveHolle
SteveHolle

@gharlane @43stinky51 - What we are trying to prove is that Time is no expert on climate change and will publish the current popular catastrophe whatever it is with little or no research.  Time is a worthless reference as to what is happening with the climate.

cjmartin21597
cjmartin21597

I think that the above statement is a lie.  I am 48 years old and I do remember the coming ice age prediction.  Frankly I remember it because as a young boy the thought really scared me at the time and I can never forget the fear I felt at the time.

PetraHuf
PetraHuf

@right.v.easy @cjmartin21597 - I'm 68 and well remember this specific Time issue. I was reminded of it two years ago when my father passed and I had to go thru his garage. He'd saved hundreds of Time, Life, and other magazine issues. For what reason I don't know, but had I known we'd be having this silly discussion today I'd have kept it so I could post a photo of it. Some may be able to photoshop the magazine in an attempt to alter history, by to artificially age a whole magazine, including the inserts and subscription forms, wouldn't be cheap or easy. 

JimDon1
JimDon1

@cjmartin21597 I remember reading that article while on a MAC flight going to GTMO, Cuba.


Later I read a CIA report published sometime in late 70s (it was written in early 70) that was specifically talking about the effects of Global COOLING and the problems (starvation, upheavals etc) that would result if the temperature decreased an additional 1 degree.


I only mention this because I have seen some news reports citing government, and military reports about the problems global warming will cause and use that now, as proof of global warming.


the reality is actually that the military and CIA does planning on any eventuality and, is NOT proof that things are actually happening or will happen. (I remember in tactical warfare classes, we were "planning" a war with England and several Post Grad students planned scenarios for all sorts of world events)

zip98053
zip98053

@mcjazzbass  -- yes, they are real and neither was about global climate change. They were about cold weather that was impacting America. The same kind of thing that hit the US East Coast this past winter.


Uh, you weren't actually trying to say that these covers provided proof that global cooling was a concern in the 1970's, were you?

dr.george46
dr.george46

Funny, not only do I have a copy of the version on the right, I wrote an essay about the article in high school?  so weird...

GregoryPurcell
GregoryPurcell

It's way past time to get skeptical about the so called  "skeptics",  fortunately their lies are so brazenly stupid,  like Photoshopping a Time Magazine cover and hoping no on  notices,  that it's not hard to point out the delusion, 

DavidKirtley
DavidKirtley

Does anyone actually read anymore? 

MikeMurphy complains: "It's as though the alarmist author is saying there is no media hype."  Except in the very next sentence, after the one that Mike quotes, the author says: "Add in the media-hype cycle — which was true then as it is now — and you have some coverage that turned out to be wrong." 

But thanks Mike, and  John.Eggert, for pointing us to the TIME 1974 article "Another Ice Age."  Just like Walsh did in his piece and just like I did in mine.

15 years of no warming.  Check the oceans, check the Arctic sea ice.  There's more to the climate than the atmosphere, people.




MikeMurphy
MikeMurphy

If anyone is interested in Time Magazines media hype about global cooling in 1974 you can read the full article here. http://seeker401.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/time-magazine-june-1974-another-ice-age/

 It states: " Scientists figure that only a 1% decrease in the amount of sunlight hitting the earth’s surface could tip the climatic balance, and cool the planet enough to send it sliding down the road to another ice age within only a few hundred years."

Does the alarmism by Walsh about CAGW sound familiar  today.  Gosh they even used the radiation from the sun as an influence on climate.

JimDon1
JimDon1

@MikeMurphy  "Gosh they even used the radiation from the sun as an influence on climate." 


Perhaps that is because at one time science actually believed the sun had an influence on our climate.  LOL.


Back in 1999, even NASA had a link to a page that stated that the sun had the most influence on our climate. however, years later, when I looked for it, that page was deleted (along with other pages like the link to satellite data and an article about no "hot spot observed in the atmosphere) 

MikeMurphy
MikeMurphy

"The reality is that scientists in the 1970s were just beginning to understand how climate change and aerosol pollution might impact global temperatures.


This is really funny. It's as though the alarmist author is saying there is no media hype and the "Science is Settled" or there is a "consensus.


We have the CAGW models and then we have the real world where temperatures have been stable for over 15 years.

jhngalt9
jhngalt9

The earth isn't warming as the climate models predicted. The science is settled.

JimDon1
JimDon1

@JackWolf @jhngalt9 But the theory states  that it is CO2 in the ATMOSPHERE that will cause the temps to rise.  first there should be rise in lower troposphere yet, according to to satellite data. there has been minimal warming of the atmosphere from 1979 to 1999 there was no appreciable rise. then a jump in 2000 and very little rise since.  (nothing like the scary graphs we see with contorted X/Y axis).


go to NOAA website and look at the ocean temps.  Any rise seen is not increasing and actually has been quite stable.