World Weather Trends

July 12, 1974

Report Outline
Disturbing Changes in Global Climate
Progress in Science of Climatology
Outlook for Prediction and Control
Special Focus

Disturbing Changes in Global Climate

Droughts, Floods, Stroms, Other Recent Phenomena

Weird Weather has plagued much of the nation and the world in recent years. Droughts, floods, blizzards, tornadoes, typhoons and hurricanes have hit with unusual fury in unexpected places. But most people considered these weather conditions to be abnormal and temporary. Instead, it now appears that the first half of the 20th century was blessed with unusually mild weather and that the global climate has begun returning to a harsher, but more normal, state.

For the long run, there is mounting evidence of a worldwide cooling trend. In the short run, regional weather patterns are likely to be erratic and unpredictable. Greatly complicating the world weather outlook is the little-understood impact of human activity—such as air pollution, waste heat production and weather modification efforts—on the earth's climate. In any case, it now seems apparent that the world climate was unusually benign after about 1890 but began taking a turn for the worse in mid-century. “The decline of prevailing temperatures since about 1945 appears to be the longest-continued downward trend since temperature records began,” says Professor Hubert H. Lamb, director of the respected Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Great Britain.

Recalling just a few of the freakish weather patterns of the past several years suggests that something strange may indeed be happening to the world's climate:

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Sep. 09, 2011  Extreme Weather
Jun. 15, 1990  Progress in Weather Forecasting
Sep. 05, 1980  Weather Control
Feb. 02, 1979  Weather Forecasting
Jul. 12, 1974  World Weather Trends
Apr. 13, 1960  Weather Forecasting and Control
Oct. 19, 1953  Weather Modification
Atmospheric Sciences