The Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society
by Bill Gray, Professor Emeritus, Colorado State University
(AMS Fellow, Charney Award recipient, and 50+ year member)
I am appalled at the selection of James Hansen as this year’s
recipient of the AMS’s highest award – the Rossby
Research Medal. James Hansen has not been trained as a meteorologist.
His formal education has been in astronomy. His long records
of faulty global climate predictions and alarmist public pronouncements
have become increasingly hollow and at odds with reality.
Hansen has exploited the general public’s lack of knowledge
of how the globe’s climate system functions for his
own benefit. His global warming predictions, going back to
1988 are not being verified. Why have we allowed him go on
for all these years with his faulty and alarmist prognostications?
And why would the AMS give him its highest award?
By presenting Hansen with its highest award, the AMS implies
it agrees with his faulty global temperature projections and
irresponsible alarmist rhetoric. This award, in combination
with other recent AMS awards going to known CO2 warming advocates,
is an insult to a large number of AMS members who do not believe
that humans are causing a significant amount of the global
temperature increase. These awards diminish the AMS’s
sterling reputation for scientific objectivity.
Hansen previously studied the run-away greenhouse warming
of Venus. He appears to think that man’s emittance of
CO2 gases, if unchecked, will eventually cause the Earth to
follow a similar fate. Hansen’s arrogance and gall over
the reality of his model results is breathtaking. He has recently
warned President Obama that our country has only 4 years left
to act on reducing CO2 gases before the globe will reach a
point of irretrievable and disastrous human-caused warming.
How does he know what thousands of us who have spent
long careers in meteorology-climatology do not know?
Hansen’s predictions of global warming made before
the Senate in 1988 are turning out to be very much less than
he had projected. He cannot explain why there has been no
significant global warming over the last 10 years and why
there has been a weak global cooling between 2001 and 2008.
Hansen and his legion of environmental-political supporters
(with no meteorological-climate background) have done monumental
damage to an open and honest discussion of the Anthropogenic
Global Warming (AGW) question. He and his fellow collaborators
(and their followers) are responsible for the brainwashing
of a large segment of the American public about a grossly
exaggerated human-induced warming threat that does not exist.
Most of the global warming we have observed is of natural
origin and due to multi-decadal and multi-century changes
in the globe’s deep ocean circulation resulting from
salinity variations (see the Appendix for scientific discussion).
These changes are not associated with CO2 increases. Hansen
has little experience in practical meteorology. He apparently
does not realize that the strongly chaotic nature of the atmosphere-ocean
climate system does not allow for skillful initial value numerical
Hansen’s modeling efforts are badly
flawed in the following ways:
1. His upper tropospheric water vapor feedback loop is grossly
wrong. He assumes that increases in atmospheric CO2 will cause
large upper-tropospheric water vapor increases which are very
unrealistic. Most of his model warming follows from his invalid
water vapor assumptions. His handlings of rainfall processes
are, as with the other global climate modelers, quite inadequate.
2. He lacks an understanding and treatment of the fundamental
role of the deep ocean circulation (i.e. Meridional Overturning
Circulation – MOC) and how the changing ocean circulation
(driven by salinity variations) can bring about wind, rainfall,
and surface temperature changes independent of radiation and
greenhouse gas changes. He does not have these ocean processes
properly incorporated in his model. He assumes the physics
of global warming is entirely a product of radiation changes
and radiation feedback processes. This is a major deficiency.
Hansen’s Free Ride. It is surprising
that Hansen has been able to get away with his unrealistic
modeling efforts for so long. One explanation is that he has
received strong support from Senator/Vice President Al Gore
who for over three decades has attempted to make political
capital out of increasing CO2 measurements. Another reason
is the many environmental and political groups (including
the mainstream media) who are eager to use Hansen’s
modeling results as justification to push their own special
interests that are able to fly under the global warming banner.
A third explanation is that he has not been challenged by
his peer climate modeling groups who apparently have seen
possibilities for research grant support and publicity gains
by following Hansen’s lead. Yet another reason has been
the luck of his propitious timing. His 1988 Senate testimony
occurred after there had been global warming since the mid-1970s
and we were experiencing a hot summer. And the global warming
that occurred over the next 10 years (to 1998) gave an undeserved
justification to his CO2 warming claims. Had Hansen given
his Senate testimony in the 1970s or today (since we have
seen weak global cooling since 2001) his alarmist rhetoric
would have been taken much less seriously.
I anticipate that we are going to experience a modest naturally-driven
global cooling over the next 15-20 years. This will be similar
to the weak global cooling that occurred between the early-1940s
and the mid-1970s. It is to be noted that CO2 amounts were
also rising during this earlier cooling period which was opposite
to the assumed CO2 temperature relationship.
An expected 15-20 year cooling will occur (in my view) because
of the strong ocean Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC)
that has now been established and in place for the last decade
and a half. This same condition had been present in the mid-1940s
when the globe began a sustained three decade weak cooling.
I explain most of the century and-a-half general global warming
since the mid-1800s (start of the industrial revolution) to
be a result of a long multi-century slowdown in the ocean’s
MOC circulation. Increases of CO2 could have contributed only
a small fraction (0.1-0.2ºC) of the roughly ~ 0.7ºC
warming that has been observed since 1850. Stronger natural
processes have had to have been responsible for most of the
observed warming over the last century and a half.
AMS. The American Meteorological Society
(AMS) was founded in 1919 as an organization dedicated to
advancing scientific knowledge of weather and climate. It
has been a wonderful beacon for fostering new understanding
of how the atmosphere and oceans function. But this strong
positive image is now becoming tarnished as a result of the
AMS leadership’s capitulating to the lobby of the climate
modelers and to the outside environmental and political pressure
groups who wish to use the now AMS position on AGW to help
justify the promotion of their own special interests. The
effectiveness of the AMS as an objective scientific organization
has been greatly compromised.
We AMS members have allowed a small group of AMS administrators,
climate modelers, and CO2 warming sympathizers to maneuver
the internal workings of our society to support AGW policies
irrespective of what our rank-and-file members might think.
This small organized group of AGW sympathizers has indeed
hijacked our society.
Debate. The AMS is the most relevant
of our country’s scientific societies as regards to
its members having the most extensive scientific and technical
background in meteorology and climate. It should have been
a leader in helping to adjudicate the claims of the AGW advocates
and their skeptical critics. Our country’s Anglo-Saxon
derived legal system is based on the idea that the best way
to get to the truth is to have opposite sides of a continuous
issue present their differing views in open debate before
a non partisan jury. Nothing like this has happened with regards
to the AGW issue. Instead of organizing meetings with free
and open debates on the basic physics and the likelihood of
AGW induced climate changes, the leaders of the society (with
the backing of the society’s AGW enthusiasts) have chosen
to fully trust the climate models and deliberately avoid open
debate on this issue. I know of no AMS sponsored conference
where the AGW hypothesis has been given open and free discussion.
For a long time I have wanted a forum to express my skepticism
of the AGW hypothesis. No such opportunities ever came within
the AMS framework. Attempts at publication of my skeptic views
have been difficult. One rejection stated that I was too far
out of the mainstream thinking. Another that my ideas had
already been discredited. A number of AGW skeptics have told
me they have had similar experiences.
The climate modelers and their supporters deny the need for
open debate of the AGW question on the grounds that the issue
has already been settled by their model results. They have
taken this view because they know that the physics within
their models and the long range of their forecast periods
will likely not to be able to withstand knowledgeable and
impartial review (see Appendix). They simply will not debate
the issue. As a defense against criticism they have resorted
to a general denigration of those of us who do not support
their AGW hypothesis. AGW skeptics are sometimes tagged (I
have been) as no longer being credible scientists. Skeptics
are often denounced as tools of the fossil-fuel industry.
A type of McCarthyism against AGW skeptics has been in display
for a number of years.
Recent AMS Awardees. Since 2000 the
AMS has awarded its annual highest award (Rossby Research
Medal) to the following AGW advocates or AGW sympathizers;
Susan Solomon (00), V. Ramanathan (02), Peter Webster (04),
Jagadish Shukla (05), Kerry Emanuel (07), Isaac Held (08)
and James Hansen (09). Its second highest award (Charney Award)
has gone to AGW warming advocates or sympathizers; Kevin Trenberth
(00), Rich Rotunno (04), Robert D. Cess (06), Allan Betts
(07), Gerald North (08) and Warren Washington and Gerald Meehl
(09). And the other Rossby and Charney awardees during this
period are not known to be critics of the AGW warming hypothesis.
The AGW biases within the AMS policy makers is so entrenched
that it would be impossible for well known and established
scientists (but AGW skeptics) such as Fred Singer, Pat Michaels,
Bill Cotton, Roger Pielke, Sr., Roy Spencer, John Christie,
Joe D’Aleo, Bob Balling, Jr., Craig Idso, Willie Soon,
etc. to ever be able to receive an AMS award – irrespective
of the uniqueness or brilliance of their research.
What Working Meteorologists Say. My
interaction (over the years) with a broad segment of AMS members
(that I have met as a result of my seasonal hurricane forecasting
and other activities) who have spent a sizable portion of
their careers down in the meteorological trenches of observations
and forecasting, have indicated that a majority of them do
not agree that humans are the primary cause of global warming.
These working meteorologists are too experienced and too sophisticated
to be hoodwinked by the lobby of climate simulations and their
associated propagandists. I suggest that the AMS conduct a
survey of its members who are actually working with real time
weather-climate data to see how many agree that humans have
been the main cause of global warming and that there was justification
for the AMS’s 2009 Rossby Research Medal going to James
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. These
IPCC reports have largely followed the global modeling results
and despite the Noble Prize Award that its authors received,
should not be taken as having any credibility concerning its
future of its climate predictions.
A doubling of anthropogenic greenhouse gases will not cause
global warming anything like the 2-5ºC as projected by
nearly all of the GCMs climate simulators and as accepted
by the IPCC. I estimate that we will see a global warming
resulting from a doubling of CO2 of only about 0.3-0.5ºC
(see Appendix). Humankind can adapt to this much lower level
of global warming without having to sacrifice much of its
fossil fuel energy usage to much costlier renewable energy.
If society is to eventually convert from fossil fuel to renewable
energy it would be much more economic and far wiser if this
conversion took place over a long period of time without having
to be held hostage to the belief that we must hurry because
a massive global temperature increase is rapidly approaching.
Global Environmental Problems. There
is no question that global population increases and growing
industrialization have caused many environmental problems
associated with air and water pollution, industrial contamination,
unwise land use, and hundreds of other human-induced environmental
irritants. But all these human-induced environmental problems
will not go away by a draconian effort to reduce CO2 emissions.
CO2 is not a pollutant but a fertilizer. Humankind needs fossil-fuel
energy to maintain its industrial lifestyle and to expand
this lifestyle in order to be able to better handle these
many other non-CO2 environmental problems. There appears to
be a misconception among many people that by reducing CO2
we are dealing with our most pressing environmental problem.
It must be remembered that advanced industrial societies
do more for the global environment than do poor societies.
By greatly reducing CO2 emissions and paying a great deal
more for our then needed renewable energy we will lower our
nation’s standard of living and not be able to help
relieve as many of our and the globe’s many environmental,
political, and social problems.
Obtaining a Balanced View on AGW.
To understand what is really occurring with regards to the
AGW question one must bypass the AMS, the mainstream media,
and the mainline scientific journals. They have mostly been
preconditioned to accept the AGW hypothesis and, in general,
frown on anyone not agreeing that AGW is, next to nuclear
war, our society’s most serious long range problem.
To obtain any kind of a balanced back-and-forth discussion
on AGW one has to consult the many web blogs that are both
advocates and skeptics of AGW. These blogs are the only source
for real open debate on the validity of the AGW hypothesis.
Here is where the real science of the AGW question is taking
place. Over the last few years the weight of evidence, as
presented in these many blog discussions, is swinging very
much against the AGW hypothesis. As the globe fails to warm
as the models have predicted the American public is gradually
losing its belief in the prior claims of Gore, Hansen, and
the other AGW advocates.
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