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Continuing the Climate Change Debate, and Asking for a Chance to See Who's Right

on July 12, 2011 6:00 AM

I see there was a lot of comment on my most recent column. It's interesting to me that, because I happen to be on television quite a bit, people like to use that against me, as if I am just a TV weatherman.

Part of that is the fault of the field of meteorology itself, allowing non-degreed people to call themselves meteorologists. I may know a heck of a lot about nutrition but I am not a nutritionist. But the American Meteorological Society shares responsibility in this in that it has somehow decided that seals can be given to non-meteorologists.

For the record, I am not a member of the AMS or any organization (I don't play well with others). But I am very much a degreed meteorologist who happens to be on TV quite a bit.

In fact, on Oct. 26, one of the best things that ever will have happened to me in this field may occur when I speak to the students of my former adviser at Penn State, Dr. John Olivero, who is now at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Fla. It was Dr. Olivero who looked me in the eye my sophomore year at Penn State, when I was in big trouble in the math part of the program requirements, and told me: "There are many people who love the weather, but not all of them can be a Penn State meteorologist."

It wasn't politically correct; he just told me the truth, and I got back to what my parents had taught me, with the help of wrestling.

But if I do talk down there, it will be as a meteorologist, not someone who plays one on TV or calls himself one without going through the rigorous requirements.

By the way, for the record, in our area we have some outstanding meteorologists on air. The obvious is WPSU and its legendary "WeatherWorld" program, which, by the way, I was fired from back in May 1997. (I guess someone woke up to the fact that I wasn't the typical meteorologist, eh?) "WeatherWorld" obviously never missed a beat with me no longer being there. But Joe Murgo, on WTAJ Channel 10, someone who I worked with for quite a while, knows his stuff. I am sure the others are good if they are degreed, but I do know Joe.

In any case, comments about me just being a weatherman, made in an effort to discredit my ideas, were the only ones that invited a response, because, as is the habit in this debate, in the effort to destroy the message, the idea is to discredit the messenger. But I want it to be clear that I am a degreed meteorologist, as my father before me, and both of us had to fight to get that degree: Dad with a family and more than 2,000 miles from home, and me with some self-inflicted wounds of laziness my first two years. Hence my reaction.

But I am going to keep this short. A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well the picture is the graph that accompanies this column: CO2 continuing its rise while the global temperatures have leveled off, according to what is most certainly not a right-wing think tank, the Hadley Climate Research Unit. It's right there.

The blue line shows the mean temp since 1995; the red line shows the jagged ups and downs, mostly in response to the warm and cold events in the Pacific Ocean (hint hint as to what really controls this); the dotted line is CO2.

So here is the crux of my whole argument. I believe temps, because of the changes in the oceanic, solar and volcanic cycles, are starting a trend downward. The other side – and these temps are below the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change values – has some explaining to do inasmuch as, according to them, these temps were not supposed to stall like this, due to the rise in CO2. In fact, there was worry back at the turn of the century that we were fast approaching a "tipping point" of no return. At the very least, this has been delayed (and I think I will be proven correct -- that it will be denied and temps will go the other way).

But before the other side blows a gasket screaming "selective verification," let me say, they were the ones who said we were at the tipping point 10 years ago, not me.

It's that simple. Now their forecast is busting. Perhaps it will resume upward in the next 10 years, and then I will be busting. But therein lies what I am asking for: the chance to see who is right and who is wrong. This data comes from the Hadley Center in the United Kingdom, not The University of J. R. Ewing.

Given the past 15 years, any objective person of goodwill should at least allow the chance to see who is right and who is wrong. After all, we seem to have bought another 15 years we weren't supposed to have, and the warming since the last little ice age can be explained by the fact it was so cold before, and the solar cycles have ramped up till recently, even better correlated than CO2.

Besides, as I said on "Fox and Friends" on the morning of July 4 when debunking the idea that grilling contributes to global warming (it was warming rather than climate change in this case), another term for CO2 is plant food.

So help a tree – grill a steak.

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