The night before President Barack Obama was set to address Californians stricken by a prolonged drought, White House science czar Dr. John Holdren told reporters that virtually all weather is being impacted by climate change and that droughts were getting “more frequent, they’re getting longer and they’re getting dryer.”
Two prominent climate scientists disagree. Former NASA scientist Dr. Roy Spencer and University of Colorado climate scientist Roger Pielke, Jr. slammed Holdren for his “pseudo-science rambling.”
“The idea that any of the weather we are seeing is in any significant way due to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions verges on irrationality,” Spencer wrote in his blog.
Pielke took to Twitter on Friday to slam Holdren for “zombie science” in the White House.
@andersbolling That’s right, thanks. The zombies will always be with us. But it is brazen for zombie science to show up in the White House!
— Roger Pielke Jr. (@RogerPielkeJr) February 14, 2014
Obama headed out west to California on Friday to announce his plan to create a $1 billion “Climate Resilience Fund” to help localities deal with the impacts of global warming. In a press call the night before, Holdren warned reporters of the impacts global warming has had on weather.
“The global climate has now been so extensively impacted by the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases, that weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change,” White House science czar Dr. John Holdren told reporters Thursday night. “We’ve always had droughts in the American West, of course, but now the severe ones are getting more frequent, they’re getting longer, and they’re getting dryer.”
Pielke disagrees, pointing out that Holdren’s claims that droughts have worsened due to global warming directly contradicted scientific reports.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that there is “not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought.” Pielke added that even a report from the U.S. government said that “droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent and cover a smaller portion of the US over the last century.” A 2012 paper published in the journal Nature found “[l]ittle change in global drought over the past 60 years.”
Spencer took issue with Holdren’s claim that “weather practically everywhere is being influenced by climate change.”
The former NASA scientist said that weather is caused by energy imbalances on “between the solar heated surface of the Earth and the atmosphere above it, and between different geographic regions.”
“It’s all about the energy… and especially about imbalances in energy, which causes ‘weather’ as the ocean and atmosphere seek to reduce those imbalances,” Spencer wrote. “On a local basis, those imbalances can be tens or even hundreds of watts per sq. meter.”
“Our best estimate of how much the climate system has been perturbed from energy balance comes from the slow warming of the oceans, which since the 1950s equates to a 1 part in 1,000 energy imbalance, “ Spencer continued. “Now, how exactly can a 1 part in 1,000 energy imbalance lead Holdren to state, ‘Weather practically everywhere is being caused by climate change’? Well, all I can think of is that his statement is not based in science.”
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