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 May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

Scientists make odd discovery: Earliest snakes had feet and ankles Watch

Image of The earliest ancestors of snakes may have retained feet and ankles as late as 20 million years ago.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study published in the science journal BMC Evolutionary Biology has revealed a startling fact about the ancestors of modern snakes, suggesting that the reptiles may have evolved from creatures that had feet and ankles around 128 million years ago on the ... continue reading


Unexpected find in Washington may be last of its kind Watch

Image of This is the group of dinosaurs the Tyrannosaurus Rex is associated with.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When an inter-tidal rock was found in the Sucia Island State Park in Washington State back in 2012, its discoverers had no idea that it would create or cause such excitement and hype. Embedded in the rock is a 17-inch bone fragment, that could not be immediately ... continue reading


DEVASTATING photos show humanity's destruction of Planet Earth Watch

Image of This bird ate too much plastic trash and died, revealing its unnatural diet upon decomposition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Humanity's rapid expansion as the global population increases is taking its toll on the environment. Climate change, overpopulation, pollution, hunting of endangered species and strip mining are running rampant worldwide. A series of shocking photographs now ... continue reading


TOO SOON? Canonization of Mother Teresa next year only hypothetical, Vatican says Watch

Image of There had been reports in the Italian press that Mother Teresa, the founder of the Missionaries of Charity, who worked among the poorest of the poor, would be canonized before the end of the upcoming Holy Year of Mercy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In spite of various published reports that Blessed Teresa of Kolkata will be canonized on September 4, 2016, the Vatican says that this remains hypothetical. "It is a working hypothesis, therefore there is no official confirmation to be given," Vatican representative ... continue reading


2020: Antarctic ice shelf could collapse Watch

Image of Land-based glaciers that have also started to slide faster toward the sea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The rich get richer, the poor get poorer and those polar ice caps keep right on melting. Things have deteriorated so badly - especially the Larsen B ice shelf, that scientist now fear the entire Antarctica ice shelf will collapse by the end of this decade, in ... continue reading


Raining spiders? Large areas of Australia covered in spider webs Watch

Image of Baby spiders

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The worst news for spider haters in Australia and around the globe: a natural migration phenomenon where baby spiders are flying is possible and has recently happened in the southern part of Australia. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Referred to as "Angel ... continue reading


HONEY HOLOCAUST: Forty percent of all beehives died in the past year Watch

Image of Oklahoma, Illinois, Iowa, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine and Wisconsin all saw more than 60 percent of their hives die since April of last year.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It is an alarming figure that may speak of a silent, ecological disaster. According to a federal study, more than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The survey reports that the worst die-off ... continue reading


Recreating Dinosaurs: Using chicken embryos, scientists learn how dinosaurs got 'snouts' Watch

Image of The team's aim was to understand how the bird beak evolved, because the beak is such a vital part of bird anatomy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An asteroid, crashing into the Earth 65 million years ago, is thought to have caused the dinosaurs to go extinct. A group of dinosaurs managed to survive, and is thought to have evolved into modern-day birds. That theory has been around since the 19th Century. ... continue reading


Catfish surprisingly climbs wall and stuns scientists Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Inside a cave near Tena in Ecuador, a group of scientists filmed a catfish climbing up the wall to lick food from the roof. Climbing seems impossible for fishes, but evidence of an actual video showing an armored catfish making its way up the cave wall presents a new ... continue reading


Climate change to cause animal extinction in next century Watch

Image of New Zealand's tuataras will be one of the species affected by climate change.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In the next century or so, one in six species of plants and animals are likely to be extinct in South America, New Zealand, and Australia. Species in North America are at a lower risk of being extinct. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - According to a study ... 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, Sirach 35:1-12
1 One who keeps the Law multiplies offerings; one who ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 50:5-6, 7-8, 14, 23
5 'Gather to me my faithful, who sealed my covenant ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 10:28-31
28 Peter took this up. 'Look,' he said to him, 'we ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 26th, 2015 Image

St. Philip Neri
May 26: If one had to choose one saint who showed the humorous side of ... 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