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Newsweek in 1975: Tornado outbreak blamed on global cooling

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Over the past several years, one of the knee-jerk reactions from political and media personalities following natural disasters has been to blame man-made global warming.

As part of his crusade on the issue, former vice president Al Gore blamed it for Hurricane Katrina in 2006.

In 2008, then-Democratic Sen. John Kerry went on MSNBC and blamed global warming for a tornado outbreak in the southeastern United States.

And on Monday as the tornado responsible for the deaths of at least 91 was making its way through Moore, Oklahoma, Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse went to the Senate floor to condemn his GOP colleagues for not seeing man-made global warming as the cause.

But that hasn’t always been the prevailing theory behind why severe weather exists.

An often cited 1975 magazine article by long-time Newsweek science editor Peter Gwynne warned of tornadoes as a consequence of “global cooling,” along with other residual effects, including food shortages.

“There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production — with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth,” Gwynne wrote. “The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only ten years from now.”

There was even a specific passage blaming the “global cooling” phenomenon for a 1974 tornado outbreak.

“Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in thirteen states,” Gwynne wrote.

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Read the entire 1975 article:

(h/t Steven Goddard, Real Science blog)

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