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Confronting Climate Change Suggestions IV: Richard McNider

Adam Falk is making 2016-2017 the year of Confronting Climate Change at Williams. Let’s try to be helpful for a change and suggest some interesting speakers that he and Professor Ralph Bradburd should invite to speak. Today is Day 4 of five days of suggestions.

How about Richard McNider, professor at the University of Alabama, and author of articles like these:

McNider, R.T., Handyside, C., Doty, K., Ellenburg, W.L., Cruise, J.F., Christy, J.R., Moss, D., Sharda, V., Hoogenboom, G. and Caldwell, P., 2015. An integrated crop and hydrologic modeling system to estimate hydrologic impacts of crop irrigation demands. Environmental Modelling & Software, 72, pp.341-355.

McNider, R. T., G. J. Steeneveld, A. A. M. Holtslag, R. A. Pielke Sr., S. Mackaro, A. Pour-Biazar, J. Walters, U. Nair,and J. Christy (2012), Response and sensitivity of the nocturnal boundary layer over land to added longwave radiative forcing, J. Geophys. Res., 117, D14106, doi:10.1029/2012JD017578.

Seems pretty qualified to me! Alas, he has a very different view on climate change than, say, Ralph Bradburd.

Most of us who are skeptical about the dangers of climate change actually embrace many of the facts that people like Bill Nye, the ubiquitous TV “science guy,” say we ignore. The two fundamental facts are that carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased due to the burning of fossil fuels, and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a greenhouse gas, trapping heat before it can escape into space.

What is not a known fact is by how much the Earth’s atmosphere will warm in response to this added carbon dioxide. The warming numbers most commonly advanced are created by climate computer models built almost entirely by scientists who believe in catastrophic global warming. The rate of warming forecast by these models depends on many assumptions and engineering to replicate a complex world in tractable terms, such as how water vapor and clouds will react to the direct heat added by carbon dioxide or the rate of heat uptake, or absorption, by the oceans.

We might forgive these modelers if their forecasts had not been so consistently and spectacularly wrong. From the beginning of climate modeling in the 1980s, these forecasts have, on average, always overstated the degree to which the Earth is warming compared with what we see in the real climate.

Interesting stuff! If Williams College is actually going to “confront” climate change than it should “confront” at least some of the people — or at least some of the research university professors — who claim that climate change is not a serious problem.

Are four scientists enough? Does Williams need more suggestions? Start with the authors of Climate Change: The Facts. Look at all the scientists quoted in “A Disgrace to the Profession”. There are many scientists skeptical of most of the rhetoric surrounding climate change. A serious college would invite at least a few of them to speak. Is Williams a serious college? Time will tell.

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#1 Comment By Ralph Bradburd On July 21, 2016 @ 11:44 am

Are you aware that Prof. John Christy of the University of Alabama spoke here less than a year ago?

#2 Comment By David Dudley Field ’25 On July 21, 2016 @ 11:53 am

Yes, invited by Uncomfortable Learning — the student/alumni group that the Administration has, perhaps, now succeeded in shutting down.

Has Williams itself (or any department or any faculty member) ever invited a climate change skeptic like Christy to campus? Not that I recall . . .

Counter examples welcome!

#3 Comment By Eph ’15 On July 21, 2016 @ 12:16 pm

The bigger issue is that we are “confronting climate change” without very much science or economics.

This year seems more like superficial posturing than meaningful education leading to rational change

#4 Comment By Jim On July 21, 2016 @ 1:45 pm

I would think New England would be all in favor of climate change.

#5 Comment By ’89er On July 21, 2016 @ 5:31 pm

Au contraire Jim.

Ocean acidification, rising sea levels, loss of maple trees and more extreme weather events all pose disruption costs (and concern).

This New Englander values a robust set of four seasons. Its the fifth season, mud season, that I can do without.

As a skier, I hope we don’t have an increasing frequency of similar winters over the next 50 to 100 years.

#6 Comment By John C. Drew, Ph.D. On July 22, 2016 @ 12:42 am

Poor, poor Ralph. I used to admire you for your ability to win grants. What can I say?

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” Upton Sinclair.

or to make it perfectly clear…

“It is difficult to get a man to understand anthropogenic climate change is a hoax, when his institution has made it a campus-wide theme!” John Drew.

#7 Comment By Alum On July 22, 2016 @ 1:39 pm

Once again JCD comes in and PWNs.

JCD = prince that was promised = Azor Ahai