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'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Green

Spring comes early to California, but drought is likely to continue and will impact food prices where you live Watch

Image of Unseasonably warm and powerful weather at the end of February brought a tornado to Central California. Tornadoes occasionally occur in California. They are sometimes responsible for minor property damage but are rare, weak and short lived.

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

If you live in California, you may have noticed a bit more rain has fallen versus last year. While the state remains mired in drought, and that drought is expected to persist, a weak El Nino has developed and may be contributing to some of the added rainfall. It's ... continue reading


Global warming right before their eyes, Antarctic scientists share their shock at dramatic changes on icy continent Watch

Image of Moss now grows where glaciers once stood.

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

Scientists are reporting dramatic changes in Antarctica which they now say they are witnessing firsthand. Entire valleys have lost their ice and vegetation continues to expand. The continent continues to warm and while ice is gaining in East Antarctica, it is not ... continue reading


Climate scientist faces witch hunt after revealing money come from fossil fuel industry Watch

Image of It is important we get the facts of climate change right so we can make science-based decisions, not politically-influenced ones.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Science is a hotly debated topic on Capitol Hill, as though scientific theories were subject to political interpretation; nonetheless this time it's Democrats who are leading a witch hunt of sorts against climate skeptics. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Democrats ... continue reading


NASA warns of 'megadrought' that could cause massive collapse Watch

Image of NASA is warning that the current drought in the Western half of the U.S. will be nothing compared to future droughts that will impact the region.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study from NASA warns that the United States is going to endure a drought. The likes of which may not have been seen in 1,000 years; the kind of drought that contributed heavily to the fall of per-colonial Native American civilizations and may cause immense ... continue reading


Will the United States run dry? Nation at risk for prolonged drought Watch

Image of Extended drought in the central plains could possibly lead to food shortages and famines.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A comparative study has found that the American southwest and central plains could face super-droughts the like of which they have not witnessed in over a 1,000 years. In the study, researchers compared earlier droughts with climate simulations for the coming ... continue reading


Sobering reality: Enough plastic trash in ocean to put five bags on trash on every foot of coastline - worldwide Watch

Image of Volunteers collect garbage along the shore off Manila Bay, during an environmental project marking World Oceans Day in Paranaque, Metro Manila in this June 8, 2013.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Consider this, the next time you discard a plastic water bottle: There is enough plastic debris in the ocean to fill five grocery bags on every foot of every nation's coastline -- around the globe. Those are the sobering statistics are the recent findings of ... continue reading


The 'greatest scientific scandal': Is global warming a scientist-created problem? Watch

Image of Global warming may not be as real as scientists want you to believe, according to weather trending research.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New data research shows much of the global warming trends and temperatures have been tampered with to show a greater increase in warming than actually exists in prime global warming crisis areas, such as in the Arctic. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "When ... continue reading


Pope Francis Calls Christians to Protect the Gift of Creation: Do Not Fear Papal Letter on the Environment Watch

Image of (Pictured: Pope Francis in a reflective moment) The Catholic Church has been green for a lot longer than any modern environmental movement. We are called to what I call a relational environmentalism; one of stewardship with the earth which God has made and entrusted to us to care for and to share. For those eager to understand Catholic teaching on this vital topic, we should always begin with scripture and tradition. - Deacon Keith Fournier

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Our obligation to live a proper stewardship of the environment is grounded in our obligation to - and solidarity with - one another. It begins with the understanding that we have been given to one another as gifts. In addition, creation is a gift, entrusted to us ... continue reading


As world warms up, Iceland is RISING; soil pushed up by melting icecaps Watch

Image of There is geological evidence in Iceland that during the past deglaciation roughly 12,000 years ago, volcanic activity in some regions of Iceland increased thirtyfold.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Global climate change has many fearful that nations' coastlines will eventually be washed away to sea. In Iceland, the opposite appears to be true -- The Earth's crust there is rising. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A recent study has found that as ice melts ... continue reading


You could be the reason fish are vanishing from the oceans! The shocking reality and consequences of harvesting fish into extinction Watch

Image of Researches estimate, oceans may be virtually emptied by 2050.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids; health experts and doctors consistently urge large consumptions of fish every day. However, the populations of fish are rapidly dropping due to massive amounts of human harvesting. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The oceans can ... 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, Jeremiah 17:5-10
5 Yahweh says this, 'Accursed be anyone who trusts in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
1 How blessed is anyone who rejects the advice of the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 16:19-31
19 'There was a rich man who used to dress in purple ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 5th, 2015 Image

St. John Joseph of the Cross
March 5: St. John Joseph of the Cross was born about the middle of the ... 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