Archive for Saturday, September 24, 2005

Skeptic rejects global warming theory

Former Kansas Geological Survey director says humans aren’t responsible for hurricanes Katrina, Rita

September 24, 2005


From a distance, it seems obvious.

Hurricanes form over warm water. Global warming has risen the Earth's average temperature. So global warming - and humanity's love affair with fossil fuels - caused hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Not so fast.

"Go back and look at the severe storm events data, you'll see there are fewer going on now than there were in cooler times," said Lee Gerhard, a former director at the Kansas Geological Survey and an outspoken skeptic when it comes to assessing the effects of global warming.

"There's a real tendency, not only in this country but worldwide, to assume that people are responsible for everything," Gerhard said. "But Mother Nature is one very incredible and energetic entity, and the energy to interfere with one of the earth-dynamic processes is just really not in ability range of humans right now."

The often-proffered connection between global warming and the recent rash of hurricanes, he said, belongs in the "urban legends book."

But other scientists say that while the link between fossil fuels and global warming remains unproven, the Earth's atmosphere is changing. And with these changes come consequences.

"We are really doing something extraordinary to the atmosphere," said David Braaten, a Kansas University meteorology professor who's studying changes in polar ice caps.

'New information'

The consequences, Braaten said, are likely to include an increase in Category 4 and 5 hurricanes because research has established a correlation between ocean temperatures and intensity - the warmer the water, the more intense the hurricane.

KU geography professor Johannes Feddema said a study published last week in Science magazine suggested that while the number of hurricanes has declined in the past 35 years, their intensity has increased.

"This is really new information," Feddema said.

The study, conducted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and Georgia Institute of Technology's School of Atmospheric Sciences in Atlantic, did not make a connection between the world's ever-increasing reliance on fossil fuels and hurricanes.

But it did note the intensifying trend coincides with a rise in the Earth's temperatures.

"There is good evidence that the globe has been warming in the last two decades," Feddema said. "The question, still, is a little bit open as to what is causing that warming."

The Earth's climate, he said, went through several changes before global warming.

"The truth is, it's a very complicated system, so no matter how you look at it, there are going to be natural factors - natural changes from year to year, decade to decade," Feddema said.

"And then there's the 'human thing,'" he said. "When you restart pulling apart the human factors like emissions, greenhouse gases - that's where it gets complicated, and that's where the global debate is stuck."

Why warmer?

He added, "It's pretty clear the earth is getting warmer. There's still some debate about exactly why that's happening, although I think most scientists would agree there is some human influence."

But Lee Allison couched the debate differently. He is a senior geologist at the Kansas Geological Survey - which works closely with oil companies - now serving as Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' policy adviser on energy and science.

"It's a question of what the relative influence of the natural processes versus the human-induced processes," he said. "Critics of current national policies would argue that there's more influence from natural processes, so (restricting fossil-fuel consumption) would be like going out killing the rooster to prevent the sun from coming up in the morning.

"Or, why should we spend billions of dollars and torque the economy to stop greenhouse gasses, when, really, it may not do anything at all?"


rtwngr 10 years, 2 months ago

Unbelievable. The Journal World presented BOTH sides of the "global warming" debate.

james bush 10 years, 2 months ago

Finally, some rational arguments to counteract the sky-is-falling approach used by elitist know-nothings like the Kennedy guy who shows up on tv.

james bush 10 years, 2 months ago

Actually, it's Bush's fault because he didn't sign that damn treaty a few years ago.

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

i wonder when the university professors will stop professing the religion of environmentalism.

michael crichton said it best: "There's an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there's a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all. We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment."

[i thought there was supposed to be a 'separation of church and state', or so the environmentalists profess - so as to keep their "religion" going.]

"We need to stop the mythic fantasies, and we need to stop the doomsday predictions. We need to start doing hard science instead."........and he goes on further....."we must institute far more stringent requirements for what constitutes knowledge in the environmental realm. I am thoroughly sick of politicized so-called facts that simply aren't true. It isn't that these "facts" are exaggerations of an underlying truth. Nor is it that certain organizations are spinning their case to present it in the strongest way. Not at all---what more and more groups are doing is putting out is lies, pure and simple. Falsehoods that they know to be false."

[michael crichton should get a reward for his honesty. i sure hope he doesn't get blacklisted in hollywood for not following the wacko 'fad' of the day.]

ryanjasondesch 10 years, 2 months ago

Confusing science with religion isn't a reason to write a response to this article. Go back to your mental drawing board and try to find your logic pen, it's obvisouly been misplaced, sorry. If you think we aren't harming the earth, then what's all this pollution crap hangin around? What's with that darn hole in the ozone layer? What's with that dead zone in the Gulf around Texas and Louisiana from the Mississippi river? A warmer ocean is more fuel for more powerful storms. That said, it's surely too soon to attribute Katrina and Rita to global warming but some day, when the storms keep gettin bigger, we'll all wish we had done somethin bout all this. But no, "falsehoods that they know to be false"? (Gast!) It's a conspiracy!! A conspiracy by religious fundamentalist environmentalists trying to force us to believe whacky stories about global warming!!! Please, let the rational forces of my government come and save me from the proselytizers!!! Give me a break.

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

no ryan, give me a break. in the '70's we were going to have another iceage.

why is it the scientists can't figure out why mars is getting warmer, but are quick to tell us the sinful humans are causing global warming?

humans just don't have that much of an impact - that so many have been brainwashed into believing.

they've only been recording weather for a little over 100 years, how old is the earth?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

I tend to detect a bit of lunacy when someone expresses such confidence about our collective future based primarily on our relative ignorance.

None of us knows what the future will bring, but we do know something of the past. In that past, when CO2 levels have been high, so have temperatures, and ocean levels. CO2 levels have been rising steadily for decades, along with human-produced sources of CO2, and the warmest nine years of global temperatures in the last (slightly over a)century have occurred in the last ten years. Ocean temperatures have been rising in a similar pattern, and it's clear that warm ocean waters are what fuel hurricanes. We also know that there has been an increase in the number of cat 4 & 5 storms over the last several years.

Global warming is a fact and it is in part human-induced. There has been no increase in the number of storms, but there has been an increase in the intensity of these storms.

So what does that all mean? We can't know for sure if it means anything. But the obvious inferences are just too strong that we have reached a tipping point in how the global climate functions, and that is too critical to the survival of us all to ignore simply because dealing with it may threaten vested political and economic interests.

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

so tell me just_another_bozo,

what day will we get our first frost this year?

what day will we get our first snowfall?

i want specifics. from an historic perspective, you should be able to give me the exact day. if not, why not?

100 years of sampling the weather and people call themselves experts on weather. how many billions of years is the earth again?

everything weather related goes in cycles.

look at the historical data of some bible passages. so and so grazed his flock on mount ? that mount is now barren dirt and rock, and has been for hundreds of years.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

Perhaps a good starting point for you would be to learn the difference between climate and weather. And I doubt that you'll find it in a bible passage.

lunacydetector 10 years, 2 months ago

oh, i keep forgetting the koolaid philosophy, the sky is falling.

perhaps you need to open your mind bozo. take off your blinders and look at both sides of an issue, then decide.

you remind me of a poster by the handle "i-tching." please tell me that is you!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 2 months ago

Actually, I'd prefer that the sky not fall, and that is the whole point.

Why do you want me to tell you I'm someone else? Is this some kinky role-playing thing? I suppose you'll be propositioning some S&M encounter next.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.