“Carbon dioxide gets all the headlines, but frankly, I think it is overemphasized.”

Här kommer en intressant intervju med George Taylor (director of the Oregon Climate Service, based at Oregon State University in Corvallis). Has skepticism mot Global Warming ledde bl.a. till att guvernören (Ted Kulongoski) tog ifrån honom titeln ”the state climatologist”.

Några citat:

”George Taylor: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. The temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere varies. But I also believe in global cooling. The Earth’s temperature changes on a variety of time scales. Over a period of months, years, decades, centuries or millennia. So to say it’s warmer or cooler depends on the starting and ending points.

SL: OK, is it warmer than it was in 1850?

Taylor: Yes. The planet has warmed in the last 150 years. And in the last 30 years. But not in the last 70 years. 1934 was the warmest year on record. So if you start from 1934, and end in 2007, you’ve got global cooling.

SL: Will it get hotter in the future?

Taylor: It depends on the time scale you’re talking about. In Oregon it will get warmer in the next four months, but it will almost certainly get cooler in the next 5,000 years. We are now enjoying an interglacial period – a period between two ice ages – and these are typically shorter than the cold periods.”

”Taylor: To answer that, you have to understand what causes climate change. I believe the climate changes as a result of several factors, some natural, some human.

Human factors include greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, but also a host of other effects – deforestation, urbanization, emission of aerosols. Carbon dioxide gets all the headlines, but frankly, I think it is overemphasized.

There are also natural factors. Changes in solar radiation, for example – there’s an 11-year cycle, a 20- to 27-year cycle, a 95-year cycle, a 210-year cycle, a 1,500-year cycle, and several more known as Milankovitch cycles, which last tens of thousands of years.

Another big influence is the ocean, especially the tropical Pacific. The tropical Pacific is the biggest source of heat for the atmosphere – it has a dominant effect on weather and climate. Volcanic eruptions generate huge amounts of dust that have a profound effect on global temperatures.

And then there are things whose role we don’t understand, like clouds – they are usually ignored by climate prediction models. They don’t know how to include them, so they ignore them. Same with El Niño and La Niña.”

”When I look at precipitation, temperature and snowfall in the Northwest, I see stronger correlation with natural factors than with greenhouse gases. So I have concluded that the influence of natural factors on climate is more significant than that of greenhouse gases.”

”This whole subject has become so polarized that the devil or angel attitude is perhaps inevitable. The problem is that science has a lot of uncertainty – a lot of shades of gray – but policy decisions tend to be yes or no, black or white. Those things are tough to reconcile.”

”People have the attitude that the current climate is the ideal one and that we should try to maintain it indefinitely. But you know, in reality it changes all the time.”

Intervjun finns här:

http://www.lakeoswegoreview.com/sustainable/print_story.php?story_id=120793658846134900

  Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/milj%F6” rel=”tag”>miljö</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/yttrandefrihet” rel=”tag”>yttrandefrihet</a>, <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/fri-+och+r%E4ttigheter” rel=”tag”>fri- och rättigheter</a>

  

OSU climatologist vacates hot seat

George Taylor details his controversial view on weather changes

By Chris Lydgate

Pamplin Media Group, Apr 15, 2008

For the past 16 years, George Taylor has been the most prominent weather forecaster in Oregon – who doesn’t work for a TV station, at least.

As director of the Oregon Climate Service, based at Oregon State University in Corvallis, he’s responsible for monitoring and predicting the state’s weather – which should be a routine job, except that Taylor has drawn headlines recently for his skeptical views on global warming.

Following a debate on climate change at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry last year at which Taylor expressed his contrarian ideas, Gov. Ted Kulongoski warned him to quit representing himself as the state climatologist (there is some dispute about how official the title is and whether the governor has the power to remove it).

Last month Taylor, who is 60 years old, announced that he will retire in June from the post – whatever its official name – and from the faculty at OSU. Sustainable Life caught up with him in an attempt to clear the fog on global warming in Oregon.

Sustainable Life: Do you believe in global warming?

George Taylor: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. The temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere varies. But I also believe in global cooling. The Earth’s temperature changes on a variety of time scales. Over a period of months, years, decades, centuries or millennia. So to say it’s warmer or cooler depends on the starting and ending points.

SL: OK, is it warmer than it was in 1850?

Taylor: Yes. The planet has warmed in the last 150 years. And in the last 30 years. But not in the last 70 years. 1934 was the warmest year on record. So if you start from 1934, and end in 2007, you’ve got global cooling.

SL: Will it get hotter in the future?

Taylor: It depends on the time scale you’re talking about. In Oregon it will get warmer in the next four months, but it will almost certainly get cooler in the next 5,000 years. We are now enjoying an interglacial period – a period between two ice ages – and these are typically shorter than the cold periods.

We came out of the last ice age about 15,000 years ago, and based on what’s happened in the past, it’s logical to conclude that the warm period will terminate in the next 5,000 years.

SL: What about the next hundred years?

Taylor: To answer that, you have to understand what causes climate change. I believe the climate changes as a result of several factors, some natural, some human.

Human factors include greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide, but also a host of other effects – deforestation, urbanization, emission of aerosols. Carbon dioxide gets all the headlines, but frankly, I think it is overemphasized.

There are also natural factors. Changes in solar radiation, for example – there’s an 11-year cycle, a 20- to 27-year cycle, a 95-year cycle, a 210-year cycle, a 1,500-year cycle, and several more known as Milankovitch cycles, which last tens of thousands of years.

Another big influence is the ocean, especially the tropical Pacific. The tropical Pacific is the biggest source of heat for the atmosphere – it has a dominant effect on weather and climate. Volcanic eruptions generate huge amounts of dust that have a profound effect on global temperatures.

And then there are things whose role we don’t understand, like clouds – they are usually ignored by climate prediction models. They don’t know how to include them, so they ignore them. Same with El Niño and La Niña.

SL: Even if the models aren’t perfect, shouldn’t we cut carbon emissions now, before it’s too late?

Taylor: Look, if we reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, that will tend to lower the temperature, all other things being equal. The question is how much, and are the other things equal? Those are tough questions to answer.

When I look at precipitation, temperature and snowfall in the Northwest, I see stronger correlation with natural factors than with greenhouse gases. So I have concluded that the influence of natural factors on climate is more significant than that of greenhouse gases.

SL: How much more significant?

Taylor: I hesitate to put a number on it. But it’s a lot more than 50-50.

SL: Does that make you a skeptic?

Taylor: I guess it does, although I’m not a big fan of the way that term has been used. You know, Richard Feynman, one of the greatest American physicists, once said that the finest scientists were always trying to prove themselves wrong.

In science, we should all be skeptics, especially of our own work. I’ve been wrong enough in the past to know I might be wrong now.

SL: Do you believe Gov. Kulongoski purged you for your views?

Taylor: I don’t believe the governor purged me. I decided to retire, and it was a personal decision.

SL: But did anyone ever tell you to back off or you might lose your job?

Taylor: I’m not prepared to comment on that.

SL: Critics say your views on global warming are suspect because you’ve received money from Big Oil. How do you plead?

Taylor: In 2003, I wrote a couple of scientific opinion pieces for a Web site called Tech Central Station. It gets its funding from corporations, including Exxon Mobil, which equals the devil in some people’s minds. They approached me to write some pieces. They didn’t influence me in any way. It was all my own views.

Quite frankly, I was going stir-crazy because I was stuck at home recovering from chemotherapy, so I was happy to do the work.

SL: How much did they pay you?

Taylor: $500

SL: What kind of reaction do you get from people when you talk about global warming?

Taylor: People tend to either deify me or demonize me. I’m not a saint, and I’m not a demon. I’m just a guy with certain opinions who tries to express them as honestly as I can.

This whole subject has become so polarized that the devil or angel attitude is perhaps inevitable. The problem is that science has a lot of uncertainty – a lot of shades of gray – but policy decisions tend to be yes or no, black or white. Those things are tough to reconcile.

SL: Don’t you ever worry about melting polar ice caps? Mosquitoes in Antarctica? Beriberi in Pioneer Courthouse Square?

Taylor: Sure. Oh, yeah. I worry. I worry about the economy. I worry about doomsday scenarios. I worry about an asteroid hitting the Earth. I worry about catastrophic climate change, in either direction.

I just don’t believe that greenhouse gases dominate the climate system. I’m skeptical that we can control the climate. I don’t think we can. Some people think we should try geoengineering approaches like injecting particles into the upper atmosphere and blocking the sunlight. I don’t know if that’s practical – I’m not an engineer.

SL: So we just sit around and twiddle our thumbs while we wait for catastrophe?

Taylor: No. I didn’t say that. I’m a scientist, not a policymaker. As far as my personal life goes, I ride a bike to work, four miles each way. I share a car with my wife. I’m a vegetarian. I think these are sensible, responsible things to do.

There are plenty of good reasons to conserve more, drive less, reduce our dependence on foreign oil that have nothing to do with climate change.

People have the attitude that the current climate is the ideal one and that we should try to maintain it indefinitely. But you know, in reality it changes all the time.

 

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