WORDS on WEATHER & CLIMATE—April 21, 2011

The Emperor Has No Clothes

Meteorologist Craig James, new Squire columnist

During the winter, I had the opportunity to give four separate presentations on global warming to a class of adults at Calvin College. This led to an opportunity at the end of March to give a presentation on global warming to students in the honors dorm at the college. I think the talks were very well received and over the next several weeks I’d like to give you some of the information in my articles. Back in 1975, I taught a class at Grand Valley State University on weather and climate and I very clearly remember showing a film produced by the Public Broadcast System (PBS) called “Snowblitz.” There was fear at the time that the Earth was heading for another ice age in the near future and that this onset could happen in the span of a decade or less. My, how times and attitudes have changed. Now, of course, the prevailing view is that of dangerous warming. You have probably heard statements like the following. The first is from John Holdren, the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy for the Obama Administration. He is known as the “Science Czar.” In an interview with the British Broadcast Corporation (BBC) on February 18, 2011, he stated: “People are seeing the impact of climate change around them in extraordinary patterns of floods and droughts, wildfires, heat waves and powerful storms.” The second is from the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, who on February 22, 2011, stated in an interview with the Los Angeles Times: “The science is clear. Climate change will continue unless drastic measures are taken to stop it.” The problem is there is no evidence to support either of those statements. They are political statements, not scientific statements. In future articles I will report on recent studies that show no support for the idea that there have been any extraordinary weather patterns around the globe and that the severe weather events of the past decade show no connection to any human-induced warming. Also, the idea that you can stop climate change is absurd. It would be like stopping the rotation of the Earth. Anytime you hear someone say “the science is settled,” you can ignore the rest of what they say since they haven’t really studied the science. On the other hand, Dr. Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist and professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has given a statement that I believe is completely supported by the evidence. In testimony before the House Committee on Science & Technology on November 17, 2010, he clarified the debate over global warming: “It is not about whether CO2 is increasing: it clearly is. It is not about whether the increase in CO2, by itself, will lead to some warming: it should. The debate is simply over the matter of how much warming the increase in CO2 can lead to, and the connection of such warming to the innumerable claimed catastrophes.” He went on to say, “The evidence is that the increase in CO2 will lead to very little warming, and that the connection of this minimal warming (or even significant warming) to the purported catastrophes is also minimal. The arguments on which the catastrophic claims are made are extremely weak.” Why wasn’t that statement given dissemination in the mainstream media? Dr. Lindzen and many others like him have put their careers on the line to point out that the emperor truly has no clothes. The current fear of catastrophic warming is supported only by computer models, not by empirical data. In future articles I will show how the forecasts made by those computer models have turned out to be wrong where we have been able to test them. It is as this image from cartoonsbyjosh.com suggests… a canard.

Craig James has been retired since July 1, 2008, after 40 years of broadcasting television weather. He was chief meteorologist at WZZM-TV for 12 years and chief meteorologist at WOOD-TV for 24 years. He is a graduate of Penn State University, where he received a Centennial Fellowship Award. He was also honored as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.

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