Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Flashback to 1972 - Scientists Fear for Arctic Sea Ice

Sou | 8:52 AM Go to the first of 2 comments. Add a comment

The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995) Wednesday 2 February 1972

Scientists fear for Arctic Sea ice 

Scientists fear that man, voluntarily or accidentally, may melt the Arctic Sea ice, leading to irreversible climatic changes.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation says in its latest bulletin that a group of 30 scientists from 14 countries have called for an international agreement concerning experimentation in the Arctic. The group met at the Study of Man's Impact on Climate held recently in Stockholm.

A report issued after the study singled out the Arctic ice as the feature on the earth's surface most sensitive to man-made changes. Once melting began in this area it was unlikely that it would stop, the report said. 

Several proposals had already been made to eliminate the ice, one suggestion being to spread soot or black dust on the frozen sea to absorb the sun's heat and increase melting in the summer and spring.

While these were only suggestions they pointed to the possibility that man could modify the global climate in a very substantial way if he chose to.

The melting would lead to large-scale modification of the climate but it would not affect the level of the ocean, the Unesco bulletin said.

However, if the Greenland icecap melted the sea level would rise 7 metres and a number of coastal cities would be under water.

Even without experimentation there was a possibility that global temperature increases produced by man's injection of heat and carbon dioxide into the environment could greatly reduce or even eliminate the Arctic Sea ice.

Additional reading:

Some background to the Study of Man's Impact on the Environment


  1. What a trip reading that. Has it really been forty years.
    This stuff was in the news when I was a senior in high school.

    How clear our lesson was even back then.

    We were conducting a global geo-physical experiment and we were going to be warming our planet with increasing atmospheric greenhouse gases.

    If nothing was done to slow down our injections
    radical environmental/climate changes would happen sooner than later.

    We knew back then in the 70s, that if we were smart
    we would start throttling down GHG injections into our atmosphere.
    But Reagan and Reaganomics came along and the spell was cast:
    Don't worry about it !

    Too much is never enough..
    greed is good...

    Here we stand with 40 years worth of squandered runway behind us, and those un-thinking power-politics Republicans still want to fly full throttle -

    1. Hi Peter.

      It's interesting looking back at old newspaper articles to see what the public would have known in the past, not just what was known in the scientific community. I read a lot of comments on the science-denying blogs trying to say that the fact that human activity is affecting climate is new, or new to the public. Clearly that is not the case.


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