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Father of Climatology Calls Manmade Global Warming Absurd

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Reid Bryson is Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography and of Environmental Studies. Senior Scientist, Center for Climatic Research, The Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies (Founding Director), the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Many climatologists regard him as the father of climatology. Professor Bryson calls manmade global warming absurd.

Excerpts from The Faithful Heretic

Reid A. Bryson holds the 30th PhD in Meteorology granted in the history of American education. Emeritus Professor and founding chairman of the University of Wisconsin Department of Meteorology—now the Department of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences—in the 1970s he became the first director of what’s now the UW’s Gaylord Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies. He’s a member of the United Nations Global 500 Roll of Honor—created, the U.N. says, to recognize “outstanding achievements in the protection and improvement of the environment.” He has authored five books and more than 230 other publications and was identified by the British Institute of Geographers as the most frequently cited climatologist in the world.

“All this argument is the temperature going up or not, it’s absurd,” Bryson continues. “Of course it’s going up. It has gone up since the early 1800s, before the Industrial Revolution, because we’re coming out of the Little Ice Age, not because we’re putting more carbon dioxide into the air.”

Bryson mentions the retreat of Alpine glaciers, common grist for current headlines. “What do they find when the ice sheets retreat, in the Alps?”

We recall the two-year-old report saying a mature forest and agricultural water-management structures had been discovered emerging from the ice, seeing sunlight for the first time in thousands of years. Bryson interrupts excitedly.

“A silver mine! The guys had stacked up their tools because they were going to be back the next spring to mine more silver, only the snow never went,” he says. “There used to be less ice than now. It’s just getting back to normal.”

Q: Could you rank the things that have the most significant impact and where would you put carbon dioxide on the list?

A: Well let me give you one fact first. In the first 30 feet of the atmosphere, on the average, outward radiation from the Earth, which is what CO2 is supposed to affect, how much [of the reflected energy] is absorbed by water vapor? In the first 30 feet, 80 percent, okay?

Q: Eighty percent of the heat radiated back from the surface is absorbed in the first 30 feet by water vapor…

A: And how much is absorbed by carbon dioxide? Eight hundredths of one percent. One one-thousandth as important as water vapor. You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide.


2. Global Warming? by Reid A. Bryson Ph.D., D.Sc., D.Engr.1

The Built-in Nonsense Detector:
Hardly a day goes by without a news article in the paper containing a reference to someone’s opinion about “Global Warming”. A quick search of the Internet uncovers literally hundreds of items about “Global Warming”. Issues of atmospheric science journals will normally have at least one article on climatic change, usually meaning “Global Warming” or some aspect thereof. Whole generations of graduate students have been trained to believe that we know the main answers about climate change and only have to work out the details.
Why then do I bother you by introducing this section with such a ludicrous title?
I do it because, as one who has spent many decades studying the subject professionally, I find that there are enormous gaps in the understanding of those making the most strident claims about climatic change. In order to read the news rationally, the educated reader needs a few keys to quickly sort the patently absurd from the possibly correct. I propose to supply some of those keys to give the reader at least a rudimentary nonsense detector.

Some Common Fallacies
1. The atmospheric warming of the last century is unprecedented and unique. Wrong. There are literally thousands of papers in the scientific literature with data that shows that the climate has been changing one way or the other for at least a million years.
2. It is a fact that the warming of the past century was anthropogenic in origin, i.e. man-made and due to carbon dioxide emission. Wrong. That is a theory for which there is no credible proof. There are a number of causes of climatic change, and until all causes other than carbon dioxide increase are ruled out, we cannot attribute the change to carbon dioxide alone.
3. The most important gas with a “greenhouse” effect is carbon dioxide. Wrong. Water vapor is at least 100 times as effective as carbon dioxide, so small variations in water vapor are more important than large changes in carbon dioxide.
4. One cannot argue with the computer models that predict the effect of a doubling of carbon dioxide or other “greenhouse gasses”. Wrong. To show this we must show that the computer models can at least duplicate the present-day climate. This they cannot do with what could be called accuracy by any stretch of the imagination. There are studies that show that the average error in modeling present precipitation is on the order of 100%, and the error in modeling present temperature is about the same size as the predicted change due to a doubling of carbon dioxide. For many areas the precipitation error is 300-400 percent.
5. I am arguing that the carbon dioxide measurements are poorly done. Wrong. The measurements are well done, but the interpretation of them is often less than acceptably scientific.
6. It is the consensus of scientists in general that carbon dioxide induced warming of the climate is a fact. Probably wrong. I know of no vote having been taken, and know that if such a vote were taken of those who are most vocal about the matter, it would include a significant fraction of people who do not know enough about climate to have a significant opinion. Taking a vote is a risky way to discover scientific truth.

So What Can We Say about Global Warming?
We can say that the Earth has most probably warmed in the past century. We cannot say what part of that warming was due to mankind’s addition of “greenhouse gases” until we consider the other possible factors, such as aerosols. The aerosol content of the atmosphere was measured during the past century, but to my knowledge this data was never used.
We can say that the question of anthropogenic modification of the climate is an important question — too important to ignore. However, it has now become a media free-for-all and a political issue more than a scientific problem. What a change from 1968 when I gave a paper at a national scientific meeting and was laughed at for suggesting that people could possibly change the climate!

[...] hypothesis to “the father of climatology and that was incorrect. The father of climatology is Reid Bryson. He is a global warming skeptic [...] Roy Spencer on Intelligent Design | Uncommon Descent
AngryOld: You might get angrier or just amused at the following. The "OP POP" people are funny in ways they don't even know--YET. I had a posting on this from way back with permission from Phillip Longman, on the Darwinian Final Justice that might be delivered to Western Society in general--and Secular Progressives in particular --when lifestyle and other "enviro" concerns trump having kids. The Darwin Awards go to.......*drum roll** : Those types of people who tend to promote his works the most. And the ill effects of this will be felt in everything from industry, pensions, budgetary concerns, social security, jobs, military preparedness against Third World warriors, you name it. see the full monty on what may very well be Darwin's Last and Loudest Laugh at: The Secular Modernist Extinction Advocacy Movement , no doubt taking its cue from Optimum Population worries (ever since the failed prophecies of Paul Ehrlich preaching about global warming causing gondola rides to the Empire State Building). Lesson: Worse than slight warming--if you don't reproduce, you don't get the run the show, whatever the show might be. It's that simple. S Wakefield Tolbert
Just out of curiosity(maybe Dave Scot or others will be happy to field this pop fly?): I am not sure about the science of anthropogenic global warming. The web produces thousands of hits either way all purporting to have the final word on this, like the site RealClimate which places the A.G.W deniers in the same broad category as Creationism and Phrenology and Physic telekinesis. But positing for a moment that GW is happening and real danger can be demonstrated--what is to be done that is not equal or worse than the status quo. For example, electric cars like the Prius are all the rage but as someone said you've still got to plug in SOMEWHERE at the end of the day. The zinc and other exotic elements require mining in places like, say, Canada. Other components come from China. The Greens argue we have to reach a "settling point" and have "everyone on board". Why? They happily acknowledge that mining and transport require fossil fuels and expenses that pretty much mean you might as well keep the Hummer for all the "benefit" to Mother Earth you get from driving something cramped and slow. Fair enough. So then the argument invariably turns to hydrogen fuel cells. Good idea--but WHERE does the hydrogen come from, typically? Water vapor expelled is generally safe, yes, but I assume all here know that H20 is more carboniferous and greenhouse than.....CO2! If the net hydrogen is pulled from current water sources--that's fine. But if pulled from hydrocarbon sources, EVEN IF the EXPENSE of doing this is settled to everyone's satisfaction, then burning them would produce a NET increase in atmospheric H20--which....yeah...increases the greenhouse effect many magnitudes more than continued burning of carbon-based fuels. Another thorn is that liquid hydrogen (the best transport method for getting the most out of transportation) is VERY dangerous. There is a strict protocal, for example, in handling the Shuttle's fueling. Not the best time to pick up a smoking habit. (same for just a plain LP fillup for your grill, etc) See the problem here? S Wakefield Tolbert
An interesting new development, the disagreement over the bad science of global warming has also spilled out into the corridors of Vatican, see news here http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0702383.htm and here http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=106708 rockyr
LOL Borne! The Optimum Population Trust is the same organization in one of those Drudge links I gave earlier. They're getting a lot of exposure today. It's unintentionally hilarious that they're advocating lowered birthrates for a nation that's already got birthrates below replacement level. I bet Eric Pianka could help them out with some ideas on how to get that blasted population reduced. angryoldfatman
Now for a good laugh (if it wasn't so serious) take a look at the inane drone's solution to the "man-made global warming threat" How condoms could save planet How do these people get through kindergarten? I wish I had a dollar for every time some blithering idiot claimed a condom could save the world - I'd be richer than the Queen of England. Borne
tyharris: The list is a little long. I got the point from the start. Nevertheless, the point is well taken. Anyone who has the guts and stamina to indulge in the ID/evo debate has to expect being insulted and verbally abused by angry losers. I was once even threatened, by some mindless jerk on a debate forum, with an avatar!! Yes, I kid you not. The guy had this avatar of a rifle and actually threatened me with shooting! Hard to believe but true. Like wake up man we're on the web, you're pic of a rifle doesn't scare me! No wonder he was an atheist. And they think we're nutso! So let's just realize that when you hit their sore spots the materialist dupes squeal like little swine. Remember, "He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak." —Michel de Montaigne Atheists and Darwinists are like the Doug Adams character that said, "I don't believe it. Prove it to me and I still won't believe it." Borne
That's a very long list of epithets. Probably all from PZ Meyers in a single comment. :lol: DaveScot
I also read this on drudge report, and immediatley made the connection between the global warming crowd and the evolutionist crowd. They use exactly the same type of intellectual storm-trooper tactics to exclude, silence, and intimidate. The similarities between what happens to people who question the claims of global warming advocates, and those who question the claims of naturalistic-origin-of-life advocates are obvious. In fact, just recently, Dr. Heidi Cullen of the Weather Channel was calling for people who disagree with her positions, to be stripped of their meteorological credentials. It's what Chrichton lambasted as " science by consensus". The current non-objective tenors of both debates ( global warming and human-origins )are symptomatic of a common intellectual arrogance, and a proprietary desire to silence dissent rather than to adress it fairly. This makes the article very on-topic as far as I am conscerned. In much the same vein, I have something to share with you folks at uncommon-descent that you might get a good laugh from... I spent a lazy sunday afternoon excerpting the following disparaging phrases, terms, and insults from the text of comments that were posted in response to a pro-ID essay I wrote at my blog: http://tyharris.wordpress.com One of the points I made in my essay pertains to people's tendency to fear, hate, and exclude ideas and people that they feel threatened by, rather than try to compete against them fairly in the marketplace of ideas. Many of the anti-ID comments I got were case-studies in fear, condescencion, anger, and intimidation. It was almost as though the evolutionists were trying to make my own arguments for me. It got so comical at one point, that I started feeling like a radio host who was recently on-the-air advocating an anti-marajuana position. Stoners and potheads kept calling-in to explain that pot had no effect on their brains, but they kept losing their train of thought and forgetting what it was they were saying. Not all of the insults and ad homenim were directed at myself. Some were directed at other pro-ID commenters. Some were directed at ID advocates in general. More than a few were directed at Dr. Dembski, whose positions I generally support, and argued-for in the essay and in the comment-debate that followed. A few things I learned; 1. Naturalistic advocates have no explanation at all how we got from a pile of rocks to an information processor CAPABLE of adaptation and evolution. They consider it a "seperate matter" to be glossed-over. 2. Irreducible complexity is circumvented as an argument and as an obstacle by simply not acknwledging that such a thing exists. 3. Regarding inference of design in complex, specified information and the notion of probability boundaries- they dont acknowledge any. Ever. To them, improbable NEVER becomes impossible. 4. Although naturalistic advocates claim that life arises spontaneously based soley on the presence of environmental factors, nobody is willing to make an exact, testable prediction on the presence or non-existence of extra-solar life that would invalidate their position if, on a trillion habitable worlds in our universe, life should have arisen as a naturalistic process and didnt. SETI should be tuning-in to the bar scene from star-wars, and all we are getting is silence, but this doesnt seem to trouble them, or to affect their probability calculations. 5. Anybody who disagrees with their positions is a stupid, inbred, religiously-indoctrinated bumpkin. Anybody who disagrees with them is unqualified to speak, ignorant, intellectually dishonest, cowardly, and a liar. I give you a sampling of the scorn I wear now as a badge of honor... -very misinformed -go educate yourself -sad result of religious brainwashing -childish notion - ( God is )cruel and judgemental -amatuerish and ill-informed arguments -ignorance -nonsense -fallacy -arguing from ignorance -not trying very hard to understand -you clearly know nothing -tortured reasoning -think a little and learn something -long essays that make no sense -you wouldnt' get it -demonstrated a signifigant lack of knowledge -ignorant -dishonest -ludicrous -rhetorical crutch -agressive ignorance -don't have intellectual courage -you choose ignorance and pretend -too scared to look -rank dihonesty -try and learn something -you clearly know nothing -empty repetition -humans ( well, maybe not you ) understand -despicable -dihonest -lie -simply a lie -primary lie of creationists -intellectual cowards like you -afraid to grapple -lie which you repeat like a mantra -allows you to pretend -despicable lie -variation on the big lie -YOU ARE LYING -troubling -very offensive -ignorant -ignoramus - ( Dembski's ) apologetics at a backwater bible college -hand waving and obfustication -empty rhetoric -tired, threadbare arguments -no scientific substance -the number of times you used a lie -bald-faced lies -another lie -if you were intellectually honest -humans ( well, maybe not you ) understand -you lack the integrity -the Big Lie -your employment of a lie -shallow, un-original -the Big Lie another big lie -pathetic - ( challenges ) you run away from -the lying -your lying - ( Dembski's analogy ) is a lie -scientifically vacuous -I'm calling you a coward -a lie, pure and simple -another pathetic lie -do you see why I have contempt for you? -you pretended -if you were honest i expect you to not lie -weasle words -another lie -rubes -Dembski's hooey -a shallow cartoon -you'll need some intellectual courage -you're a fraud -afraid to look -goofball -phoney analogy -based on a lie -you're lying -another lie -rank dishonesty -clearly ignorant -your illusion -bloviated -thinly veiled religious apologetics -ridiculous -obviously ignorant -regurgitating stale creationist talking points -have an original thought -you falsely claim -lying and claiming -invoking the big lie -you are afraid to examine -dishonest -you don't understand -your opinion is agressively ignorant -your fear of evidence -a crock -liars who falsely claim -afraid of the evidence -you feign familiartity -you are afraid -disgusting lies -you are afraid to examine -obviously afraid -lies and ignorance -using lies and ignoring evidence -lying again -you ignore evidence -ignore the conclusions of far more qualified authorites -rank hypocricy -ignoring and trivializing the evidence - ( Creationism and ID ) just as stupid theologically as they are scientifically - ( evidence ) you've clearly never looked at any -you falsely tout -simply fraud -you cannot discuss difficult subjects without benefit of knowledge -fallacy -an argument from ignorance -don't seem to know very much - ( ID is ) intellectually vacuous and scientifically sterile -intellectual dishonesty -illegitimate -deceptive -dishonest -blather - ( no ID advocates have ) courage or integrity -a crock -we are tired of hearing your opinion - ( ID's ) silly propoganda campaign -this silly debate -silly, silly, silly - ( Dembski etc. ) dont' have a clue -employing the big lie -you clearly don't understand - ( no ID advocate ) has the integrity -a speck of basic honesty would be appreciated -simply dishonest -bloviations -buy a clue -is that an intellectually honest practice? -ID hucksters - ( ID advocates ) have so little faith in their own notion -intellectual and moral cowardice -your' clueless -Bubba -hooey -scientifically illiterate - ( Dembski on information ) it's all hooey -completely, utterly idiotic -how profoundly stupid this statement is -you do not have a clue -you don't understand -laughable - ( ID advocates ) dishonestly offering -what could be more dishonest -blatant falsehoods -bait and switch approach -simply, spectacularly wrong -you can't recognize -falsely portraying -laughable -simply a lie -laughable -you don't seem to be aware -pretending - ( ID ) an appeal to ignorance -rank falsehoods -intellectually dishonest -given your lack of the most basic knowledge -you lack the integrity to admit -ignorant -dishonest -every ID sychophant - ( the ID motto ) if you can't explain it, lie -group of rubes -drivel - ( reasonable probability bounds ) nonsensical -argumentum ad ignoratum -arguing from ignorance - ***( My favorite quote of all ) "there's nothing ad homenim about it, it is an accurate description of your fallacious, intellectually dishonest debating behavior. " -the assumptions you misrepresent -striking tendency to fabricate -your command of data is so shallow -you lack the integrity -you choose to be ignorant -your opinion is not an informed one -incredibly ignorant -reeks of psuedoscientific fraud -you fabricate -it shows your laziness - ( probability arguments ) falsely presented -your intellectual sloth -your dishonest evasion -agressively ignorant -your mastery of jr-high school biology is brilliant -recite facts like a shallow 6th grader -speaks volumes about your intellectual integrity -as you falsely claim -you fabricate reflexively -your total contempt for the scientific method -lame -irrelevant and wrong -no real thought went into your position -you are clearly afraid -are your evasions and fabrications respectful or simply rude -your assumptions, falsely presented -you also fear trying to explain -you lack the most superficial familiarity with the relevant evidence -an incredibly ignorant man -shows your ignorance -that popcorn fart of a response -your ignorance -your responses as reflexive -the truly insane idea -someone as ignorant as you - ( comments ) not one of them has a shred of intellectual content -Bubba -pure sophistry Bubba -fraud -simply a lie -pure sophistry -pure hooey -your phoney theory -Bubba -cowardly -Dembski's idiotic claim -if you had a speck of faith -Dembski is ignorant -your response is ludicrous -the idiotic statement I am challenging -your blog is incoherant -a real lack of reading comprehension -how arrogant can you get, Bubba? -I suspect youve never looked at any data -creationist strawman arguments -evidence of dishonesty on your part -simply a lie -a profoundly ignorant and/or dishonest person -pure hooey -you don't get it -inane, disjointed, meandering fluff -ridiculous -your fantasies -general ignorance -willful ignorance -dishonest -agressive ignorance -spewing BS and misrepresenting -you can bring Dembski along, but I don't think he could protect you from the knuckle sandwhiches we'd offer you - ( Dembski looks ) geeky -you don't look at any data -you will even fabricate quotes -not psychologically healthy - *** ( My second favorite quote- on Dembski with his doctorate in Mathematics ) " he has no real grasp on probability " - ( Dembski ) his conclusions are laughable -misrepresentation -gross misrepresentations -you lack the courage -is it fair to lie, and pretend -maybe you should look at reality - ( Dembski ) is incredibly ignorant - ( Dembski ) is incredibly dishonest -he is afraid -clearly ignorant and dishonest -neither Dembski nor you have sufficient faith -Bubba -Dembski's hooey - ( Dembski's assumptions ) at odds with reality -don't lie -LEARN SOMETHING -you're lying -you're afraid -rubes like you -con-men like Dembski -ID propogandists - ( Dembski ) is afraid - ( Dembski ) has no faith, and is a coward -you're ignorant of the data -cowards stop at inference - ( ID advocates ) are dishonest and/or cowardly -you're lying again - ( Dembski ) both dishonest and cowardly -you're full of it -Bubba -Psuedoscientific frauds like Dembski -repeating your lie -In the primary literature where you fear to tread -you can lie all you want -you're full of it -Dembski's drivel -you're lying again -you are lazy and/or dishonest One of the cheif progenitors of this abuse claims to be a professor of biology with 30 scientific papers to his name. I can't imagine anybody coming along who could have proved my point about fear, anger, and exclusion any better. Can you imagine what would happen to a kid in one of his classes who dared to stick up his hand and question his purely naturalistic explanation for life? It's stuff like this that makes me feel real good about the side I have chosen in this debate. We are definitly on the side of the angels here. I hope you all enjoyed this sampling. tyharris
"Certain sectors of science are notoriously corrupt, inventing threats and then setting themselves up as saviors so that anyone who resists their salvific efforts is branded as evil." Gee Bill, this sounds uncannily like the Hegelian dialectic in action. Of course there are no conspiracies in America (and the conspirators make sure we don't speak about them for fear of being ridiculed!) ;-) Hegelian dialectic tactics are very common and efficient in governments across the globe. We see their usage all the time in mass media propaganda like what we're fighting against in the ID-vs-Darwinism instance. When science starts using these tactics for control it's time to stop and correct our definition and use of science.
Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
Julius Caesar Sounds just like what the materialist elite are doing huh. They monger a fear of losing "real science". They create enemies, like ID (which threatens their hold over the opinion of the masses), and then pretend to be the saviors of science. In reality, they are only the puppets of greater powers we're not supposed to believe exist. ------------------------ BTW, I greatly appreciate the voice of this blog. Keep up the great work. Lord bless. Borne
There is at least one trick noticeably absent in the global warming controversy compared to intelligent design; the religion card isn't played much at all in a lame attempt to discredit skeptics. Ignoring contrary evidence is common with pundits of both manmade global warming and chance & necessity evolution. Also common is the driving forces behind both; politics, ideology, and a quest for power by a self-annointed progressive elite. Another common factor is that United States is the focal point of both controversies. Funny how a nation of knuckle dragging bible worshippers is also the most technologically and economically advanced nation in the world. The mother of all non sequiturs is that progress in science and engineering is hampered by religious belief. The proof of the pudding is in the tasting and the proof in this case is that a nation founded on the principle of inalienble God-given rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is the best thing going. Judeo-Christian belief, whether true or not with regard to divine inspiration, is unquestionably a successful formula for the attainment of high living standards in a free society. I don't know who said it but Never argue with success and if ain't broke don't fix it are apt here. DaveScot
Drudge Report links to two organizations announcing their membership in the Church of Carbon Sin: Children 'bad for planet' Eco-Extremist Wants World Population to Drop below 1 Billion Our Mighty Prophet Al Gore drives home the point that we need to REPENT! angryoldfatman
Dodgingcars: We discuss lots of things at UD. Global warming is important to the discussion over intelligent design because the same bag of tricks used to invalidate ID get used to invalidate criticism of man-made global warming. Certain sectors of science are notoriously corrupt, inventing threats and then setting themselves up as saviors so that anyone who resists their salvific efforts is branded as evil. This is an abuse of science, and UD will stand against it in whatever form it takes. William Dembski
When did this blog become Uncommon Climate? dodgingcars
Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere because there are fewer trees to absorb it, and there are fewer trees to absorb it because they're being chopped down to make the paper that's used to write about how much carbon dioxide is increasing. angryoldfatman
Manmade global warming will soon refer to the manmade stories that humans caused global warming. Joseph

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