Monday, March 30, 2009

With All Due Respect

As RealClimate reported last week with all due respect, the Cato Institute was soliciting signatures for an ad bashing President Obama's climate change position. Recipients of the WaPo's carbon-based product found on their doorsteps this morning that the ad constituted one third of the newspaper's incredibly shrinking business section.

A scan of the list of names reveals many of the usual cranks. The wily wabbit has noted at least one bogus credential. Also notable is the scarcity of signers actively involved in meteorology or climatology. Those who can be identified as meteorologists are a motley crew, indeed, and are apparently well outnumbered by the petroleum and chemical engineers:
  • Piers Cornyn has been described as:
    a London-based meteorologist who claims that he has a system enabling him to predict the weather with accuracy months in advance. He claims that his "solar weather technique" uses "predictable aspects of solar activity—particle and magnetic effects from the Sun to make weather forecasts MANY MONTHS ahead." [1]

    He keeps the details of his methodology for making predictions a secret, and has been criticized for making unfounded claims about the power of his predictions, even after they turned out to be inaccurate.
  • Joseph D'Aleo runs a crank web site hyping reports of cold weather
  • Bob Breck is a broadcaster for New Orleans Fox 8. Here's what he has to say about fellow signer Gray:
    Today AccuWeather came out with their forecast 2 weeks ahead of the Dr. Gray update due on April 1st. They(AccuWeather) say the higher chances should be up the east coast (they said that last year too) rather than into the Gulf. But their forecast is worded such that they can't be wrong no matter what happens. Is there any value here? None that I see as we must prepare for the worst as always.
    On climate modeling:
    Yep, more computer model forecasts for 2100, this time regarding sea level rises. No it didn't focus on us, but this time centered more on New York City & New England. Gosh, if only the models would give us a 5-10 year forecast so we could verify their skill. But's always 50, 70, 100 years from now. I guess if they didn't scare us, they wouldn't be able to get more government funding?
  • William Gray makes hurricane forecasts using strictly statistical methods
  • Douglas Leahy is apparently a petroleum consultant
  • Peter Leavitt is a consulting (i.e., for hire) meteorologist
  • Richard Lindzen seems to spend more time writing op-ed pieces for the business press than publishing research
  • Patrick Michaels works for the Cato Institute itself
  • Arlin Super is retired from rainmaking research
DotEarth has a post on the subject here.

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