By Ken Stone
The “shouting and screaming” over supposed links between climate change and deadly hurricanes Irma and Harvey amount to nothing more than “scientific fraud,” according to a Weather Channel co-founder who is a former major-market TV meteorologist.
John Coleman was for years a mainstay on San Diego television, and he now says efforts to blame climate change for natural disasters “fall short” in a fake link.
“The shouting and screaming we hear today [about climate change boosting the strength of hurricanes] and the scientific efforts to support it all fall short on proving there is a link between warming of the atmosphere and our burning of fossil fuels,” Coleman wrote on his blog.
The 82-year-old climate skeptic added: “Until they prove the basic foundation of their scientific position, the AlGorians are guilty of scientific fraud.”
While aiming his criticism at those who believe climate change is real, his “AlGorians” reference appeared to be singling out former Vice President Al Gore who has gained significant attention for films depicting of climate change dangers.
Coleman cited work by Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama. The retired meteorologist says Spencer’s charts show no link between landfall of major hurricanes and sea surface water temperatures.
“For certain, the water must be warm to create a hurricane and if it [is] warmer the probability of a stronger storm seems more likely,” Coleman said. “Yet the data says there is a question about the last part of that thinking.”
Spencer, it turns out, may have been found wanting on his science.
A white paper Spencer wrote last year for the Texas Public Policy Foundation outlining the contrarian case on climate has been rebutted by many other scientists.
The Guardian newspaper noted the foundation “is part of the web of denial, having received substantial funding from both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, including $65,000 from ExxonMobil and at least $911,499 from Koch-related foundations since 1998, and over $3 million from ‘dark money’ anonymizers Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund.”
That didn’t faze Coleman, now living near Las Vegas after decades in San Diego.
“Dr. Spencer is not funded by any energy or fossil fuel interests,” Coleman said in reply to a query from Times of San Diego. “You are buying the fake charges of the Algorians. Call him and talk it over.”
Meanwhile, others may disagree with Coleman.
Climate scientist Suzana Camargo of Columbia University says “attribution studies” of Hurricane Harvey may tell whether climate change spurred by human activity may have had a role in its ferocity.
But Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado, a Republican, had made up his mind, saying of Hurricane Irma: “If this isn’t climate change, I don’t know what is. This is a truly, truly poster child for what is to come.”
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