Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A scientist refutes Dr. Hendrickson's claims.

At Catholic Online we often receive letters and emails commenting on our content. Today we received a strong rebuttal to our interview with Dr. Mark Hendrickson of the Center for Vision and Values. This response comes from Dr. John Abraham, a scientist who works at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, a Catholic University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

A composite satellite image shows the extent of arctic sea-ice lost over the summer. The loss of ice is far more substantial than normal and a blatant sign of unnaturally rapid global climate change.

A composite satellite image shows the extent of arctic sea-ice lost over the summer. The loss of ice is far more substantial than normal and a blatant sign of unnaturally rapid global climate change.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/16/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Dr. John Abraham, Dr. Mark Hendrickson, global warming, climate change, skeptic


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a recent Catholic Online interview, we heard from a seemingly reputable person (adjunct faculty member Mark Hendrickson) that global warming is a hoax "perpetrated by those who let a political agenda shape science".  This is a very strong charge that cuts to the professionalism and competence of myself and my colleagues.  As a scientist who carries out real research in this area, I can say Dr. Hendrickson is demonstrably wrong.   Now, in his defense, Dr. Hendrickson admits he is not an expert although he "has followed it for over 20 years."  In this field, expertise is judged by research accomplishments.  On April 12, 2013, I performed a literature search on Dr. Hendrickson, I could not find a single study he has ever performed and published on any topic, let alone climate change.  So, he is clearly not an expert. Of course, Dr. Hendrickson is entitled to his opinion; this is a free country.  But to speak authoritatively about a subject he knows little about does a disservice to the readers.

Dr. Hendrickson believes, erroneously, that climate science is like economics.  Here he is wrong.  Climate science is governed by physical laws (conservation of energy, conservation of mass, gravity, etc.) which have no corollary in economics.  It is na´ve to confuse economics and physical science disciplines.

But what about his claims?  Are they correct?  Not hardly.  In his interview, Dr. Hendrickson was asked to explain temperature changes that have already been observed.  He responded by belittling computer models.  His answer obviously confused past temperature measurements with future predictions of temperatures; they are not the same.  The evidence from measurements clearly shows that temperatures have increased significantly over the past 150 years (here and here for example) and temperatures are currently higher than the past few thousand years (here and here for examples).  These are but a few of the many studies that show the temperatures we are seeing now are out of the natural range that is expected.

He claimed that satellites have shown no warming in the last two or three decades.  This is also false.  In fact, even data from two of the most prominent climate skeptics (Dr. John Christy and Dr. Roy Spencer) show temperatures are clearly rising. Their results are confirmed by other satellite organizations and institutes that use other temperature measurement methods such as the Hadley Center, NOAA, and NASA.  Even a Koch-brothers funded study has concluded that Earth temperatures are rising and humans are the principle cause.

What about the claim that the Antarctic is gaining mass?  Again not true (here and here for example).  What about the North Pole?  There we have lost an astonishing 75% of the summer ice over the past four decades.  Should we be concerned?  Dr. Hendrickson is correct in stating that Arctic ice loss won't raise sea levels much because it is already floating in water.  What he doesn't report is that Arctic ice loss is important for another reason.  It helps keep the Earth cool by reflecting sunlight.  The loss of this ice has led to an acceleration of the Earth's temperature rise.  If you don't want to take my word for the importance of Arctic Ice, perhaps we could listen to the Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (Mark Serreze).  He has characterized Arctic is as in a "death spiral".

Dr. Hendrickson makes a series of other claims: the medieval times were warmer than today (false), there are 30,000 scientists with advanced degrees who have signed a petition to stop climate action (false), and that there are many scientists who have resigned from government research positions and begun speaking out against the science (he couldn't recall any names of such scientists).

So what can we make of all of this?  First, it is obvious that non-experts like Dr. Hendrickson have every right to provide their opinion in any forum; however they must be held to the standards of truth and intellectual honesty.  When someone makes serial and serious errors in his interpretations, those errors must be called out.  Perhaps Dr. Hendrickson truly believes his statements are correct, but his belief does not make them so.  This is why we defer to people who know what they are talking about.  People who study this every day of their lives.  Those people, the real scientists, clearly understand that climate change is a clear and present problem that will only get worse as we ignore it.  Failure to deal with climate change will cost us tremendously, in dollars and lives.  In fact, two (here and here) recent studies have shown that 97% of the most active climate scientists agree humans are a principle cause of climate change.  Among the experts, there is strong agreement.  It is up to each of us to decide who to believe (97% of the experts, or Dr. Hendrickson).

But this isn't all doom and gloom.  The good news is there are solutions to this problem.  Solutions we can enact today, with today's technology.  If we make smart decisions, we can develop clean and renewable sources of energy.  We can light our homes and power our cars while preserving this gifted Earth.  Simultaneously, we can create jobs, diversify our energy supply, and improve our national security.  Who can be against that?

Failure to act is a choice.  It is a choice with tremendous consequences.  For me, the path forward is clear.

Dr. John Abraham
University of St. Thomas
School of Engineering

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Green

Greenhouse gas emissions predicted to hit historic highs Watch

Image of Smog in China, a nation which produces more than 10 billion tons of greenhouse gas, more than that of the U.S. and Europe combined.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recently released study shows that greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil-fuel fuels and cement production will reach a record high this year, fueled primarily by rapid growth in Chinese industries. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Global ... continue reading


100,000 march to stop climate change in New York Watch

Image of A woman protests the development of the tar sands pipeline through the United States.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Tens of thousands gathered in the streets of New York on September 22, as part of an international day of protest on climate change, and event organizers predicted it was the largest protest about the issue in five years. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Scientists call upon Pope Francis to take the lead on climate change Watch

Image of Pope Francis and the Catholic Church could change attitudes on an important topic.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Historically, the Catholic Church has been accused of being anti-science. This is a lie. The Catholic Church is pro-truth and in cases where science was not yet established, the Church has demurred or cautioned. Yet in cases where the science is established, the Church ... continue reading


Sunday's global warming march displays everything that's wrong with global warming activism Watch

Image of Displays like this are both absurd and counterproductive. The discussion about global warming needs to move from political rhetoric to one informed by ethics and moral guidance.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This Sunday, thousands of climate activists will march on the streets of New York, in an effort to rekindle due concern over the environment. While the cause appears noble, the entire effort may be off to a doomed start. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This Sunday, ... continue reading


Just in time for Halloween! 'Werewolf' cat enchanting fanciers Watch

Image of The cats' sickly appearance is only skin deep. Aside from the patchy hair that makes them notable, the first few generations of Lykoi cats seem rather healthy thus far.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Gaining in popularity among cat fanciers and breeders, the "Lykoi" cat is most peculiar looking. Many would instantly assume the patchy critter is inflicted with a sort of mange. The "Lykoi" cat, or "werewolf" cat is in fact carefully raised for its unusual ... continue reading


Antarctic sea ice reaches record levels and why that's bad Watch

Image of Antarctic sea ice continues to expand by about 1.5 percent coverage every year. This trend has continued since 1979 and it thought to be driven by global warming.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Research ships and other vessels traveling through Antarctic waters will have to be very careful this year because Antarctic ice has expanded rapidly, increasing the hazard to ships. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An incredible quantity of sea ice has formed ... continue reading


Terrifying new discovery: Spinosaurus dinosaur was the largest predator ever to walk the Earth Watch

Image of The monster's most distinctive feature was a row of spines that created an enormous sail down the middle of its back. Scientists think it was used for display purposes rather than to trap heat or store fat.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Described as a cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a crocodile and a whale, the Spinosaurus was the largest predator ever to walk the Earth . or swim in its rivers. A recent discovery, the fierce beast is the first dinosaur known to have been adapted to an ... continue reading


VIDEO: Amazing video catches volcanic eruption along with sonic boom Watch

Image of Mount Tavurvur is known as a rather active volcano, one that caused many deaths and covered a nearby town in ash in 1994.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mount Tavurvur, a volcano in Papua New Guinea, erupted late last month on August 29, throwing ash high into the air and causing a shock wave and resultant sonic boom. Phil McNamara caught the rare sight while boating near the New Guinea coast. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Sun spits STORM OF FIRE at Earth, will the northern lights be visible? Watch

Image of The Sun has an 11-year cycle of activity and is presently at its maximum for the current cycle.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A powerful solar storm approaching Earth should not be a direct hit, removing much cause for alarm. On Wednesday, the Sun spewed an X1.6 class solar flare aimed right at Earth, but the bulk of the resulting coronal mass ejection appears on track to miss Earth, passing ... continue reading


Deforestation of the Amazon continues at an alarming rate despite Brazil's best policies Watch

Image of Illegal logging has become an incredibly large part of the deforestation problem.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Brazilian government has released figures which reveal that destruction of the world's largest rainforest accelerated last year by 29%, totally reversing gains made since 2009. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The figures were compiled from satellite data ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34
27 Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:16-18
16 'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Thomas of Villanueva
September 22: Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter