For those old enough to remember the winters of the 70's and early 80's, this week's bitter cold is a blast from the past. Those were miserable years, when winters were longer, snowier and certainly much colder than what we have experienced here in the Upper Midwest in recent decades. Some of the biggest blizzards on record in cities like Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo and New York came in that period. And three of the top eleven coldest winters in US history took place from 1976 to 1979. You may recall, President Jimmy Carter hastened his electoral defeat by telling Americans struggling to pay their rising home-heating bills to "Put on another sweater".
The brutal winters of the Seventies and early Eighties came at the end of a forty-year cooling trend in global temperatures. That decline led some alarmists to predict that we were at the beginning of another Ice Age. Others claimed that man-made pollution was reflecting solar energy back into space--causing the global cooling. And some pointed out that global temperatures are cyclical--and that things would warm up again over the next forty years.
Believe me, as someone who lived through those winters, we would have gladly taken the the "mild" winters of the 90's and 2000's in a heartbeat. The best winter ever may have been two years ago, when I was able to play golf in shorts in Oshkosh on the day before Thanksgiving--and I could play golf in shorts in Oshkosh again on St Patrick's Day. If that is going to be the new norm in Northeast Wisconsin--then sign me up!
But we may have to savor whatever mild winter seasons we have coming our way the next few decades--because the Global Climate Change alarmists want to take us back to the brutal winters of the 70's and the 80's. Based on their belief that weather patterns are dictated almost solely on the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, their targets are to get back to the CO2 levels seen in the 70's and the early 80's: 300 to 350 parts per million.
One of my favorite questions to ask those who push for reductions in the advancement of human technology to "save the planet" has always been "So when did we have the 'perfect climate'?" If you are to base it on the target carbon dioxide levels, that is apparently the period of time when the US suffered through the worst winters in its history. That may be a great deal for the polar bears--but it doesn't sound like a treat for those of us here on the "other Frozen Tundra".