A&M’s Dessler Confuses Weather & Climate

A Layperson’s Common Sense Response

At the behest of our good friend Dr. Simon Atkins, I’m reposting this excellent piece written by Mark Gillar in response to a recent attack against Rick Perry launched by Texas A&M Professor Andrew Dressler. Mark Gillar is the host of the TeaPartyPowerHour.com radio program, the former host of Global Cooling Radio, and the founder of the climategatecountryclub.com skeptics’ networking website. 

Just how outre is Dr. D? In the referring e-mail, Simon sez:

The EPA will regulate carbon dioxide as pollution and the IRS will tax us for breathing; there is very little to stop them.  THIS is the lunacy of it all.

This guy, with all due respect, is a stratospheric zombie.  If I lost my respect for him as a human being, I’d be considering much worse a name.

Ouch. Nevertheless, I suspect that after reading Gillar’s excellent piece, you will likely agree with Dr. Atkins.

I found Dr. Andrew Dessler’s comments regarding Governor Perry’s position on climate change rather impressive. Not for the brilliance of his overall argument unfortunately, but for the speed with which he contradicted himself within a short op-ed. He begins by suggesting that Governor Perry’s remarks were particularly “disturbing” because they were delivered in the middle of a Texas heat wave/drought. Incredibly, a short time later in the same piece, he acknowledges that climate change does not cause specific weather events.  If that’s the case (and it is), Governor Perry’s remarks should have been no more disturbing to Dessler than if they were delivered during a rather calm, unremarkable period of weather.

In Dessler’s defense, he does go on to state — as possible justification for his criticism of Perry’s position — that the Texas heat wave/drought was made “more extreme” because of global warming than it otherwise would have been. But how much warming has been observed? Most supporters of AGW (anthropogenic (man-made) global warming) theory believe the Earth’s temperature has risen approximately .74 degrees Celsius (1.3 degrees Fahrenheit) because of a group of pesky, irresponsible, easily expendable, surface dwelling bipods collectively known as the human race. I don’t know about other Texas residents, but every time my car thermometer hits 105, I say to myself “I sure wish it were only 103.7 degrees.”

Dessler alarmingly exclaimed “July was the single hottest month in the observational record, and the 12 months that ended in July were drier than any corresponding period in the record.” In order to verify this, I contacted meteorologist Joseph D’Aleo who was the first Director of Meteorology at the Weather Channel and currently publishes the ICECAP website. D’Aleo was adamant that “the long term temperature trends for summer in Texas show no global warming or increased drought, no matter how many professors at how many universities in Texas opine otherwise.”

To prove his point, D’Aleo posted NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) precipitation and temperature graphs dating back to 1895 on his ICECAP website. A review of both graphs would seem to indicate that precipitation and temperature have been rather flat for Texas since NOAA began keeping records.

D’Aleo emphasized that “Texas has seen serious droughts before, most notably in the 1950s.” Also according to D’Aleo, who along with Pamela G. Grube co-authored The Oryx Resource Guide to El Nino and La Nina, the recent Texas drought and heat is due to an oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon known as La Nina, that was the strongest by atmospheric measures since 1954-1956 and 1917/18, which were also major drought years in Texas. The simplest, most obvious explanation is often the best, but there is apparently no room for Occam’s Razor in a green necessities kit.

Dessler reminded readers that scientists at Texas A&M and other nearby universities agree with him on man-made global warming as if that is somehow important. For the record, there is nothing about the scientific method that would suggest debates are settled by a show of hands. One could have once easily secured a consensus that the Earth is flat or that the Sun revolves around the Earth. A review of articles that have appeared in the New York Times over the last one hundred and fifty years indicates that the scientific community has flip-flopped on the cooling versus warming debate about a dozen times over the last century and a half. A great way to stop global warming might be to simply wait until scientists change their minds again.

Dessler is quick to imply that those who disagree with AGW theory are conspiracy theorists. Perhaps Dessler was too busy teaching class or writing his next paper to notice Climategate.

For anyone who has been living under a rock, Climategate is the name given to the scientific scandal in which climate scientists who support AGW theory were caught “conspiring” to fudge data, bully fellow scientists and blackball scientific journals that dared to print a single opposing viewpoint. The same scientists also “conspired” to avoid complying with FOIA (freedom of information act) requests. Of course, the House of Commons in Great Britain proclaimed the CRU (Climate Research Unit) at East Anglia University to be innocent of any wrongdoing and Penn State University ruled that Michael Mann did nothing wrong.

Both exonerations are about as significant and credible as O.J. Simpson’s mother giving Judge Ito a note stating that O.J. hadn’t killed anybody. I’m still waiting for Dr. Dessler or any other warmist for that matter to provide a context within which using “[Michael Mann's] nature trick … to ‘hide’ the decline (in temperatures)” would amount to anything less than felonious, scientific fraud.

Dessler speculates that scientists could increase climate research funding by claiming they didn’t know what was causing climate change. It’s hard to imagine the government wasting even more of our hard-earned tax dollars on resolving this non-issue. According to a paper written by Jo Nova in Australia, the United States Government has spent $79 billion on climate change research since 1989. So large is this boondoggle, we now see social scientists and military think tanks trying to get in on the action. As a result, we have to endure ridiculous claims about the impact of global warming on the divorce rate, the number of prostitutes, and national defense.

Researchers figured out long ago that they can procure a lot more grant money by screaming the sky is falling than by suggesting a perceived problem might not be a problem at all. Write a grant proposal for a study on the reproductive rate of a particular frog and your odds of obtaining funding might not be so good. Change the study to a study on whether the same frog will soon face extinction due to global warming and the next sound you hear will be cha-ching.

The fact that economists have concluded “the costs of reducing emissions are less than the costs of unchecked climate change” is of absolutely no significance because the economists are relying solely on global warming proponents for predictions of what the long terms consequences of global warming will be. If they relied on AGW skeptics for this information, spending even a penny would be too much as skeptics do not believe there will be any long term consequences. To suggest that the economic models prove we should do something about climate change now is an example of a conclusion based on highly predictable, GIGO (garbage in garbage out) modeling.

The same can be said of computer climate models that can’t even predict the past let alone the future of Earth’s climate.  If economists want to provide something of value to the climate debate, they should devote their time to explaining the connection between the ill-advised pursuit of bio fuels and the tortilla riots that took place in Mexico. If you’ve never heard of the tortilla riots or the food riots that took place in numerous other poor countries, don’t blame yourself. The mainstream media ignored these stories as they have all stories that had the potential to derail any part of the climate change movement. When they have covered negative stories, it has been from the angle of defending those involved. Examples of this bias can also be seen in the media’s handling of a U.K. court’s ruling that Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth contained numerous factual errors and in the way Climategate was covered.

The biggest insult of all came at the end of Dessler’s piece when he accused Governor Perry of employing a “shoot the messenger” tactic. This is particularly offensive given how often AGW supporters employ this strategy themselves.

Consider the following outrageous statements aimed at AGW skeptics. In his June 23, 2008 testimony before the United States Congress, James Hansen of NASA called for the punishment of climate change skeptics for “crimes against humanity.” Then there was Avatar director James Cameron who stated climate skeptics were “swine” and said ” I want to call all those deniers out into the streets at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads.” Sydney Morning Herald columnist Richard Glover suggested in a recent column that “Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies.” A gentleman in Tennessee who dared to publish Al Gore’s monthly electric bill received six death threats for exposing Gore’s hypocrisy. Al Gore himself has on more than one occasion compared climate change deniers to racists. These are much better examples of a “shoot the messenger” mentality than anything Governor Perry has ever said. One can only wonder if Dr. Dessler approves of this type of rhetoric and if he’s ever called out his own side for their “shoot the messenger” tactics.

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