I first saw this a while back: maybe 2 years ago, but CR reminded me of it recently. As far as I can tell it is genuine; the CIA offer to sell you it, though if you try to buy you get a 404. Why you’d buy it when others have it for free I don’t know. I don’t seem to have blogged it then; others did but just to push their own tedious ends (yes, its global cooling come again, don’t all switch off at once).
There are a couple of things to look at in a report like this. The most interesting is, presumably, what did the CIA think about climate change then. Slightly less interesting, but revealing, is to ask “did the author have a clue?” The answer is no, as the following snippet reveals all by itself:
So: the author didn’t have a clue, and neither did any of the reviewers; or worse, the CIA couldn’t find any competent reviewers to read it (or perhaps it was Tip-Top Sekret back then, and they couldn’t let anyone competent see it; if so, an example of the problems with sekrecy). Anyway, the point is, its wrong. If you’re wondering why, the answer is that the major effect is latitude, or as wikipedia rather gawkily puts it, [[Effect of sun angle on climate]]. Clouds and albedo also matter, but don’t explain why it is hotter at the equator than the poles. Sun angle does. There is more that I can’t be bothered to go through; all in all it reads just a bit garbled.
So let’s move onto phase two, which is to work out what the CIA was thinking. The summary is quite explicit, saying:
Not much room for doubt there; and there is more of the same (note, incidentally, that the disaster was going to be in terms of food supply; that appears to have been their major concern). But then again, not much in the way of references. We’ll have to hope for more later on in the details bit. Lower down, we start to get some hints of what they have found:
So, this is fair enough: broadly, historical analogues; modelling; theoreticals. But as a summary of the science it is rubbish; just a year later, NAS did much better. More of the report ties itself into knots trying to oppose the “Lamb-ians” against the “Smagorinski-ans” and the “Budyko-ians” and whatever; well, the CIA was in the middle of the cold war and its job was to foster conflict.
A bit later, we start to come to what meat there is:
There are no inline refs, but there is a bibliography, and it is fairly clear that Bryson’s sticky fingers are all over this:
There are quite a few pages of this stuff, and I think this is where they have got their summary and conclusions from. That those are inaccurate as an assessment of the then-current opinion (as shown by the section on the San Diego conference) doesn’t seem to trouble them.
Conclusion: this report says more about the CIA, and the dangers of a report being hijacked by a small group of people when not put out for proper review, than it does about the state of climatology at the time.