Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

4/25/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Catholic Online interviews Dr. Roy Spencer.

Many of our readers have urged Catholic Online to interview Dr. Roy Spencer as a leading, qualified skeptic on the issue of anthropogenic global warming. On Monday, Marshall Connolly interviewed Dr. Spencer to hear his expert opinions on the issue.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a meteorologist, NASA scientist, and climate researcher.

Dr. Roy Spencer is a meteorologist, NASA scientist, and climate researcher.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/25/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Global warming, climate change, skeptic, science, Roy Spencer


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Dr. Spencer, thank you for taking the time to answer some of my questions. As our readers know, I generally accept that humans are contributing significantly to global climate change. In response, several readers have asked that I interview you for some additional insight into the subject.

COL: Could you please start by telling our readers who may be unfamiliar, who you are and a little about your background?

Spencer: I have a PhD in meteorology and have been doing climate research for over 20 years, mostly under contract to NASA, NOAA, and DOE. I have testified in congress several times on the general subject of climate change. I have published two popular books on the global warming issue; I also have an amateur interest in basic economics, having self-published a small book which is now used in a college economics course.  My research has always been supported 100% by the U.S. Government.

COL: Well, let's cut to the chase. Is the planet warming?

SPENCER: No one knows whether it is currently warming, because we only see warming "in the rearview mirror"...after it has occurred.  Warming of the global average surface temperature seems to have stopped about 15 years ago, although there is some evidence that the deep ocean has continued to warm by hundredths of a degree.  Global average surface temperatures have definitely warmed in the last 50 to 100 years, by an amount which increases northward.

COL: When we look at the ice caps, particularly the Arctic, they show dramatic loss of sea ice. The images are very clear and the overall loss during the summer is about 40 percent, using the most recent data from the Cryosphere pages. (I think about 7 percent in the winter?) Regardless of the percentages, it's visibly significant. What's happening?

SPENCER:
We started satellite monitoring of sea ice in 1979, after an extended cold period in the Arctic.  It is entirely possible that summer sea ice meltback now is no worse than it was back in the 1920's and 1930's, when ship explorers reported unprecedented warming and sea ice and glacier changes in the Arctic.  Humans could not have been responsible for that event, so how can we know the extent to which we are responsible for the current melting event in the Arctic?  Also, since 1979, sea ice around Antarctica has gradually increased, not decreased, which climate models have not been able to explain.

COL: We are experiencing a variety of other seemingly unique weather phenomenons such as superstorms, tornado outbreaks, rising sea levels, and the increasingly frequent closing of locks on the North Sea (Netherlands and UK, River Thames). Isn't this evidence of warming?

SPENCER: There has been no increase in "superstorms" or tornadoes, by any objective long-term measure. It is an urban myth. Sandy-class storms occur every year...they just don't happen to hit high population density areas. But sea levels have indeed increased, which probably is a sign of warming. But sea levels were rising long before we could have been to blame, since well before 1900. So, once again, it is difficult to attribute the current rate of rise, which is very slow, to humans when we don't know how much of the rise is natural.

COL: Recent reports suggest that the oceans are absorbing most of the heat, keeping surface temperatures moderated. What's your take on these conclusions?

SPENCER: Yes, it is possible that the deep ocean is absorbing more of the extra heat than was expected. Because the oceans are so deep and so cold (most of the global ocean mass is around 40 deg F), they could theoretically absorb all of the extra heating caused by increasing CO2, with a further ocean temperature rise of maybe a tenth of a degree. But we have no way of knowing yet whether this is indeed what is happening, and if it is, whether it would continue to happen. We must remember that the CO2-induced change in the Earth's ability to cool to outer space, which can only be calculated based upon theory,  has only been reduced by 1%.  That's a very weak forcing of the climate system. The warming of the deep ocean since the 1950's to present only amounts to a 0.2% change, exceedingly small.

COL: Let's say tomorrow, evidence is found that proves to everyone that global warming as a result of human released emissions of CO2 and methane, is real. What would you suggest we do?

SPENCER: I would say we need to grow the economy as fast as possible, in order to afford the extra R&D necessary to develop new energy technologies. Current solar and wind technologies are too expensive, unreliable, and can only replace a small fraction of our energy needs. Since the economy runs on inexpensive energy, in order to grow the economy we will need to use fossil fuels to create that extra wealth. In other words, we will need to burn even more fossil fuels in order to find replacements for fossil fuels.

COL: Why is there such a dramatic consensus in the scientific community that AGW is real? Is this "consensus" a myth?

SPENCER: The consensus is only that humans are contributing to warming...even I would probably agree with such an innocuous statement.  But even if a majority of scientists think manmade global warming is a serious problem, only a very small number of those scientists know enough about such a detailed subject to have an informed opinion on the subject.  Only a few of us actively working on questions "how sensitive is the climate system?" know the dirty details of this business and how much uncertainty there is. Most climate researchers simply assume recent warming is manmade, but human causation is only one possible explanation out of several.

COL:  What should we do given the current state of affairs? Should we continue to study this issue or are we wasting resources?

SPENCER: I tell people that it is theoretically possible that Al Gore is correct. Unfortunately, the subject has become so politicized -- specifically, driven by desired policy outcomes that have huge financial winners and losers -- that the science has been almost hopelessly corrupted. I and a few others have told congress we need a "red team" approach, where some small fraction of government funding of climate research be put into natural causes of climate change.  Believe it or not, there is very little research into that subject.

COL: Dr. Spencer, simply as a human interest question, tell me about a time that you were wrong.

SPENCER:
Oh, I have been wrong many times.  In research, we usually are wrong with our initial opinions of causation in nature. I tell people, it's much easier to be wrong than right, because there are so many potential explanations for what we see in nature. But I usually determine in a matter of days, weeks, or months that I was wrong. I have seen nothing yet to change my view built up over years of research which tells me that we really have no way of knowing how much of our current warmth is human-caused versus natural. And even if it is 100% human caused, the warming has been only 50% of what the consensus of climate models say it should be, and if the scientific consensus ever changes to reflect that, we will have then bought ourselves twice as much time to solve the problem.

Dr. Spencer, thank you for your time.

Readers can visit Dr. Spencer's website by clicking here.

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Green

Prawn Nebula births astonishing new star clusters Watch

Image of The Prawn Nebula -dense concentration of ionized gas and dust- 'births' three clusters of newborn stars captured with the MPG/ESO 2.2 metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile as part of ESO's Cosmic Gems program.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Southern Observatory (ESO) scientists captured three clusters of newborn stars in the Prawn Nebula with the MPG/ESO telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile as part of ESO's Cosmic Gems program. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - The scientists ... continue reading


Where are all the trees? Only a SHOCKING 3 trillion trees left in entire world Watch

Image of Lumberjack cuts tree.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An alarming report has been released by researchers following a comprehensive assessment of global tree populations. The number of trees falling has reached an unprecedented rate and, unfortunately, the rate can still increase based on human population growth, ... continue reading


Incredible NASA video offers amazing sights of Pluto Watch

Image of Large areas of Pluto are completely or largely crater-free. This suggests that the dwarf planet remained geologically active until the recent past - and may even still be active today.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The distant, icy planet of Pluto was officially kicked out of our solar system in 2006. Our current solar system now only features eight planets: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Neptune. A recent flyby by NASA has revealed a wealth of ... continue reading


Are the blood moons foretelling the impending apocalypse? Watch

Image of The Blood Moon is the result of Earth's shadow.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Blood Moon will grace the skies this year on September 27-28, leading end-of-time believers speculating that the end of the world is drawing near. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - There will be blood -in the sky that is. A "blood moon" is a lunar ... continue reading


Five-foot-long 'bizarre' sea scorpion fossil discovered Watch

Image of Pentecopterus decorahensis, or

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

More than 150 fossil fragments of the well-preserved ancestors of sea scorpions were unearthed in Iowa, according to The Daily Mail. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Named "Pentecopterus decorahensis," the creatures were the largest and oldest species of sea ... continue reading


President Obama shares apocalyptic vision of world destroyed by climate change Watch

Image of President Barack Obama viewing a rapidly melting glacier while on his Alaskan trip.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

President Barack Obama shared his vision of the world if global leaders further refuse the facts of climate change. Warning that if we don't act today, "we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


World must address climate change or 'condemn our children to a world they will no longer have the capacity to repair,' Obama says Watch

Image of Obama recently gave final approval to Shell Oil's drilling in the Alaskan Arctic for the first time in 20 years. Environmentalists have called down Obama for hypocrisy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

United States President Barack Obama called upon world to act quickly on climate change or "condemn our children to a world they will no longer have the capacity to repair." The president used unusually strong language at the "GLACIER" conference in Anchorage, ... continue reading


Nearly all seabird species expected to have guts full of plastic by 2050 Watch

Image of A bird with plastic netting wrapped around its neck.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A recently published study stated by 2050, nearly every seabird species is predicted to have plastic debris ingested into their systems. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Senior research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research ... continue reading


NASA captures space 'butterfly' with Hubble Space Telescope Watch

Image of  Hubble Scope's new image of Minkowski's Butterfly, a Butterfly Nebula.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A butterfly nebula recently beamed back via NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. NASA reports the phenomenon is the result of good luck, dust, a dying star and a smaller star. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) -NASA explained that the occurrence had to do with ... continue reading


OMINOUS DEVELOPMENT: Massive chunk breaks off world's fastest melting glacier Watch

Image of It comes as ominous news to coastal cities and nations around the world vulnerable to sudden sea level rise . the world's fastest melting glacier had a massive chunk break off in over two days, setting an unwelcome record.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It comes as ominous news to coastal cities and nations around the world vulnerable to sudden sea level rise as the world's fastest melting glacier had a massive chunk break off in over two days, setting an unwelcome record. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... 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, Colossians 1:21-23
21 You were once estranged and of hostile intent ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 54:3-4, 6, 8
3 Arrogant men are attacking me, bullies hounding me ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 6:1-5
1 It happened that one Sabbath he was walking through ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 5th, 2015 Image

Bl.Teresa of Calcutta
September 5: The remarkable woman who would be known as Mother Theresa began ... 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