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

More discoveries about Pluto: New Horizons finds second icy mountain range and new moon Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many people around the world have been celebrating the successful flyby, from the New Horizons NASA program, to the farthest planet in the solar system, Pluto. After the initial success and discovery of the first icy mountain range, the spacecraft found another equally ... continue reading


California farmers given mandate: Stop pumping form the San Joaquin River Watch

Image of A group of farmers has now been ordered to stop pumping water from a branch of the San Joaquin River. The severe measure was in order to protect waterways that are going dry during its drought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They were given multiple warnings, but now its official. The State Water Resources Control board has issued a cease and desist order against an irrigation district that has been draining the San Joaquin River. The district has repeatedly failed to obey a ... continue reading


Unusual, new winged dinosaur fossil unearthed in China Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An almost complete fossil of a feathered bird-like dinosaur was dug up by scientists in northeastern China. Although the creature has wings, they doubt it could really fly, due to its proportion. Scientists speculate the wings were used similarly to the peacock. This ... continue reading


Pluto finally exposed: Pictures from Pluto reach Earth after amazing NASA mission Watch

Image of Images of Pluto, the lone dwarf planet is finally revealed to humankind

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pluto has finally revealed itself to humankind, after being a mystical planet located beyond the depths of the Milky Way for so long. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has finally sent images of Pluto to Earth last Tuesday. With the lone planet, located 3 billion miles ... continue reading


El Nino to the rescue: Is relief for drought-stricken California on its way? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the years, El Nino has provided relief to drought-stricken areas in the U.S. The current weather forecast predicts hotter and drier weathers will be felt in the eastern part of the world, concerning Australia, Asia and the majority of the Pacific while wetter ... continue reading


Carnivorous plant quits insect-killing ways to become 'bat landlord' Watch

Image of A special species of bat - the Hardwicke's woolly bat-roost inside the plants, and nowhere else. Bat babies were often found snuggled next to their parents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A most unconventional living arrangement has been struck in the jungles of Borneo. The carnivorous plant, Nepenthes hemsleyana lures bats to nest in its pitcher-shaped leaves. The bats are left undigested, and as part of their agreement, the bats defecate their ... continue reading


Will El Nino bring relief to drought-stricken California? Watch

Image of The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history. Scientists say that El Nino weather patterns could mean more rain down the line - or ... continue reading


Mysterious massive bird migration leaves popular bird location a dead zone Watch

Image of Empty eggs were all that could be found in the once popular bird location.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of birds have left the Seahorse Key abruptly, leaving their nests and eggs behind. The mysterious phenomena has left scientists and bird watchers puzzled, especially when they found that the place is negative from any contamination. Biologists explain that ... continue reading


No longer little green men? Aliens may look more like us than traditionally believed Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have been conditioned to believe extraterrestrial life, or aliens, will look nothing like us. Aliens are commonly shown with large heads on tiny bodies with a pair of saucer-like eyes. They have long, thin arms and limbs, with the number of fingers being more or ... continue reading


TIME TO ACT: Vatican's Secretary of State says world leaders must heed Pope's encyclical Watch

Image of Cardinal Parolin spoke on the importance of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has expressed his hope that Pope Francis' recent environmental encyclical will have a strong impact on the United Nations' three major gatherings this year, and will inspire global powers not only to ... 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, Exodus 33:7-11; 34:5-9, 28
7 Moses used to take the Tent and pitch it outside ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 103:6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13
6 Yahweh acts with uprightness, with justice to all ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:35-43
35 This was to fulfil what was spoken by the prophet: ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 28th, 2015 Image

St. Innocent I
July 28: Innocent was born at Albano, Italy. He became Pope, succeeding ... 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