Originally posted on Real Science:
Foreword by Steve Goddard;
Dr. Bill Gray is one of my heroes. He is a top hurricane forecaster, and one of the few people who actually understands the climate. He has been self-funded since 1993, when Al Gore cut off his long time NOAA funding because of his refusal to capitulate to the global warming orthodoxy. And most importantly because his late wife Nancy was the key player behind the excellent set of bike trails in Fort Collins, as mayor during the 1980’s.
William M. Gray
Department of Atmospheric Science
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
If you were to ask ten people on the street if mankind’s activities are causing global warming, at least seven or eight out of ten would likely say yes. This is due to nearly 25 years of gross exaggeration of the human-induced global warming threat by scientists, environmentalists, politicians, and the media who wish to profit from the public’s lack of knowledge on this topic. Many have been lead to believe that Al Gore’s movie and book, An Inconvenient Truth, provides incontrovertible evidence that human-induced global warming is a real threat. Yet, contrary to what is heard from warming advocates, there is considerable evidence that the global warming we have experienced over the last 30 years and over the last 100 years is largely natural. It is impossible to objectively determine the very small amount of human-induced warming in comparison to the large natural changes which are occurring.
Many thousands of scientists from the US and around the globe do not accept the human-induced global warming hypothesis as it has been presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports over the last 15 years. The media has, in general, uncritically accepted the results of the IPCC and over-hyped the human aspects of the warming threat. This makes for better press than saying that the climate changes we have experienced are mostly natural. The contrary views of the many warming skeptics have been largely ignored and their motives denigrated. The alleged ‘scientific consensus’ on this topic is bogus. As more research on the human impact on global temperature change comes forth, more flaws are being found in the hypothesis.
It must be pointed out that most climate research is supported by the federal government. All federally sponsored researchers need positive peer-reviews on their published papers and grant proposals. This can be difficult for many of the ‘closet’ warming skeptics who receive federal grant support. Many are reluctant to give full expression of their views due to worries over continuing grant support. It is difficult to receive federal grant support if one’s views differ from the majority of their peers who receive support to find evidence of the warming threat. The normal scientific process of objectively studying both sides of a question has not yet occurred. Such open dialogue has been discouraged by warming advocates.
Implementation of the proposed international treaties restricting future greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 20 to 80 percent of current emissions would lead to a large slowdown in the world’s economic development and, at the same time, have no significant impact on the globe’s future temperature.
Many of the Global Climate Model (GCMs) simulations by large US and foreign government laboratories and universities on which so much of the warming science scenarios are based have basic flaws. These global models are not able to correctly model the globe’s small-scale precipitation processes. They have incorrectly parameterized the rain processes in their models to give an unrealistically enhanced warming influence to CO2. This is the so called positive water-vapor feedback. The observations I have been analyzing for many years show that the globe’s net upper-level water vapor does not increase but slightly decreases with warming. These GCMs also do not yet accurately model the globe’s deep ocean circulation which appears to be the primary driving mechanism for most of the global temperature increases that has occurred over the last 30 and last 100 years.
GCMs should not be relied upon to give global temperature information 50 to 100 years into the future. GCM modelers do not dare make public short-period global temperature forecasts for next season, next year, or a few years hence. This is because they know they do not have shorter range climate forecast skill. They would lose credibility if they issued shorter-range yearly forecasts that could be verified. Climate modelers live mostly in a ‘virtual world’ of their own making. This virtual world is isolated from the real world of weather and climate. Few of the GCM modelers have any substantial weather or short- range climate forecasting experience.
It is impossible to make skillful initial value numerical predictions beyond a few weeks. Although numerical weather prediction has shown steady and impressive improvements since its inception in 1955, these forecast improvements have been primarily made through advancements in the measurement (i.e. satellite) of the wind and pressure fields and the advection/extrapolation of these fields forward in time 10-15 days. For skillful numerical prediction beyond a few weeks, it is necessary to forecast changes in the globe’s complicated energy and moisture fields. This entails forecasting processes such as amounts of cloudiness, condensation heating, evaporation cooling, cloud-cloud-free radiation, air-sea moisture-temperature flux, etc. It is impossible to accurately code all these complicated energy-moisture processes, and integrate these processes forward for hundreds of thousands of time steps and expect to obtain anything close to meaningful results. Realistic climate forecasting by numerical processes is not possible now and, due to the complex nature of the earth’s climate system, may never be possible.
Global temperatures have always fluctuated and will continue to do so regardless of how much anthropogenic greenhouse gases are put into the atmosphere. The globe has many serious environmental problems. Most of these problems are regional or local in nature, not global. Forced global reductions in human-produced greenhouse gases will not offer much benefit for the globe’s serious regional and local environmental problems. We should, of course, make all reasonable reductions in greenhouse gases to the extent that we do not pay too high an economic price. We need a prosperous economy to have sufficient resources to further adapt and expand energy production.
Even if CO2 is causing very small global temperature increases there is hardly anything we can do about it. China, India and third world countries will not limit their growing greenhouse gas emissions. Many experts believe that there may be net positive benefits to humankind through a small amount of global warming. It is known that vegetation and crops tend to benefit from higher amounts of atmospheric CO2, particularly vegetation which is under temperature or moisture stress.
I believe that in the next few years the globe is going to continue its modest cooling period of the last decade similar to what was experienced in the 30 years between the mid-1940s and the mid-1970s. This will be primarily a result of changes in the globe’s deep ocean circulation. I am convinced that in 15-20 years we will look back on this period of global warming hysteria as we now look back on other popular and trendy scientific ideas that have not stood the test of time.
The author is a Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University where he has worked since 1961. He holds a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago in Geophysical Science. He has issued Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane forecasts since 1984.