Fact Check-Image purporting to show Time magazine cover warning of an impending ice age is digitally altered

An image purporting to show a Time magazine cover warning of an impending ice age is digitally altered.

The image shows a penguin on a melting ice cap on the front cover, with the Times logo centered. The text on the supposed cover reads: “How to survive the coming Ice Age.” The subheading reads: “51 Things You Can Do To Make A Difference.”

One user shared a graphic placing the falsified front cover alongside a legitimate Time cover of a polar bear on a melting ice cap with the headline: “Be worried. Be very worried.” The post claims that the altered frontpage dates to 1977 and the authentic to 2021. The text above the two images reads, “Same experts from ice age to global warming.” (here).

Examples of the posts online are viewable (here), (here).

The falsified front cover warning of an impending ice age is digitally altered, however, and has been circulating online for years. Time Magazine addressed this in Sept. 2019 (here). The authentic headline for the cover featuring the same photo of a penguin was published in April 2007 and read: “The Global Warming Survival Guide” (here).

The cover of the polar bear on a melting ice cap was not published in 2021, as the posts suggest, but in April 2006 (here).

Several legitimate Time magazine covers published in the 1970s have also been taken out of context by social media users and have nothing to do with climate change or an ice age.

For example, one cover about ‘The Big Freeze’ (here) referred to freezing weather in America in Jan. 1977, not an ice age (here), (here).

One, published in Dec. 1979, refers to a household oil shortage (here). The cover shows cartoon figures huddling in front of a fire with a headline that reads: “The cooling of America.” It also had nothing to do with climate change (here), (here).


Altered. Time Magazine did not publish a front-page headline in 1977 warning of an imminent ice age. The headline was digitally altered.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .