A&M's Dessler Confuses
Weather & Climate
A Layperson's Common Sense Response
I found Dr. Andrew Dessler's comments regarding Governor Rick Perry's position on climate
change rather impressive. Not for the brilliance of his overall argument unfortunately, but for
the speed with which he contradicted himself within a short op-ed. He begins by suggesting
that Governor Perry's remarks were particularly "disturbing" because they were delivered in
the middle of a Texas heat wave/drought. Incredibly, a short time later in the same piece, he
acknowledges that climate change does not cause specific weather events.  If that's the case
(and it is), Governor Perry's remarks should have been no more disturbing to Dessler than if
they were delivered during a rather calm, unremarkable period of weather.

In Dessler's defense, he does go on to state — as possible justification for his criticism of
Perry's position — that the Texas heat wave/drought was made "more extreme" because of
global warming than it otherwise would have been. But how much warming has been
observed? Most supporters of AGW (anthropogenic (man-made) global warming) theory
believe the Earth's temperature has risen approximately .74 degrees Celsius (1.3 degrees
Fahrenheit) because of a group of pesky, irresponsible, easily expendable, surface dwelling
bipods collectively known as the human race. I don't know about other Texas residents, but
every time my car thermometer hits 105, I say to myself "I sure wish it were only 103.7
degrees."

Dessler alarmingly exclaimed "July was the single hottest month in the observational record,
and the 12 months that ended in July were drier than any corresponding period in the
record." In order to verify this, I contacted meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo who was the first
Director of Meteorology at the Weather Channel and currently publishes the
ICECAP website.
D'Aleo was adamant that "the long term temperature trends for summer in Texas show no
global warming or increased drought, no matter how many professors at how many
universities in Texas opine otherwise."  To prove his point, D'Aleo
posted NOAA (National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) precipitation and temperature graphs dating back
to 1895 on his ICECAP website. A review of both graphs would seem to indicate that
precipitation and temperature have been rather flat for Texas since NOAA began keeping
records.

D'Aleo emphasized that "Texas has seen serious droughts before, most notably in the
1950s." Also according to D'Aleo, who along with Pamela G. Grube co-authored
The Oryx
Resource Guide to El Nino and La Nina, the recent Texas drought and heat is due to an
oceanic-atmospheric phenomenon known as La Nina, that was the strongest by atmospheric
measures since 1954-1956 and 1917/18, which were also major drought years in Texas. The
simplest, most obvious explanation is often the best, but there is apparently no room for
Occam's Razor in a green necessities kit.

Dessler reminded readers that scientists at Texas A&M and other nearby universities agree
with him on man-made global warming as if that is somehow important. For the record, there
is nothing about the scientific method that would suggest debates are settled by a show of
hands. One could have once easily secured a consensus that the Earth is flat or that the Sun
revolves around the Earth. A review of articles that have appeared in the New York Times
over the last one hundred and fifty years indicates that the scientific community has flip-
flopped on the cooling versus warming debate about a dozen times over the last century and
a half. A great way to stop global warming might be to simply wait until scientists change their
minds again.

Dessler is quick to imply that those who disagree with AGW theory are conspiracy theorists.
Perhaps Dessler was too busy teaching class or writing his next paper to notice Climategate.
For anyone who has been living under a rock, Climategate is the name given to the scientific
scandal in which climate scientists who support AGW theory were caught "conspiring" to
fudge data, bully fellow scientists and blackball scientific journals that dared to print a single
opposing viewpoint. The same scientists also "conspired" to avoid complying with FOIA
(freedom of information act) requests. Of course, the House of Commons in Great Britain
proclaimed the CRU (Climate Research Unit) at East Anglia University to be innocent of any
wrongdoing and Penn State University ruled that Michael Mann did nothing wrong. Both
exonerations are about as significant and credible as O.J. Simpson's mother giving Judge Ito
a note stating that O.J. hadn't killed anybody. I'm still waiting for Dr. Dessler or any other
warmist for that matter to provide a context within which using "Mike's (Michael Mann's) nature
trick ... to 'hide' the decline (in temperatures)" would amount to anything less than felonious,
scientific fraud

Dessler speculates that scientists could increase climate research funding by claiming they
didn't know what was causing climate change. It's hard to imagine the government wasting
even more of our hard-earned tax dollars on resolving this non-issue. According to a
paper
written by
Jo Nova in Australia, the United States Government has spent 79 Billion on climate
change research since 1989. So large is this boondoggle, we now see social scientists and
military think tanks trying to get in on the action. As a result, we have to endure ridiculous
claims about the impact of global warming on the divorce rate, the number of prostitutes, and
national defense. Researchers figured out long ago that they can procure a lot more grant
money by screaming the sky is falling than by suggesting a perceived problem might not be a
problem at all. Write a grant proposal for a study on the reproductive rate of a particular frog
and your odds of obtaining funding might not be so good. Change the study to a study on
whether the same frog will soon face extinction due to global warming and the next sound you
hear will be cha-ching.

The fact that economists have concluded "the costs of reducing emissions are less than the
costs of unchecked climate change" is of absolutely no significance because the economists
are relying solely on global warming proponents for predictions of what the long terms
consequences of global warming will be. If they relied on AGW skeptics for this information,
spending even a penny would be too much as skeptics do not believe there will be any long
term consequences. To suggest that the economic models prove we should do something
about climate change now is an example of a conclusion based on highly predictable, GIGO
(garbage in garbage out) modeling. The same can be said of computer climate models that
can't even predict the past let alone the future of Earth's climate.  If economists want to
provide something of value to the climate debate, they should devote their time to explaining
the connection between the ill-advised pursuit of bio fuels and the tortilla riots that took place
in Mexico. If you've never heard of the tortilla riots or the food riots that took place in
numerous other poor countries, don't blame yourself. The mainstream media ignored these
stories as they have all stories that had the potential to derail any part of the climate change
movement. When they have covered negative stories, it has been from the angle of
defending those involved. Examples of this bias can also be seen in the media's handling of a
U.K. court's ruling that Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth contained numerous factual
errors and in the way Climategate was covered.

The biggest insult of all came at the end of Dessler's piece when he accused Governor Perry
of employing a "shoot the messenger" tactic. This is particularly offensive given how often
AGW supporters employ this strategy themselves. Consider the following outrageous
statements aimed at AGW skeptics. In his June 23, 2008 testimony before the United States
Congress, James Hansen of NASA called for the punishment of climate change skeptics for
"crimes against humanity." Then there was Avatar director James Cameron who stated
climate skeptics were "swine" and said " I want to call all those deniers out into the streets at
high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads." Sydney Morning Herald columnist Richard
Glover suggested in a recent column that “Surely it’s time for climate-change deniers to have
their opinions forcibly tattooed on their bodies." A gentleman in Tennessee who dared to
publish Al Gore's monthly electric bill received six death threats for exposing Gore's
hypocrisy. Al Gore himself has on more than one occasion compared climate change deniers
to racists. These are much better examples of a "shoot the messenger" mentality than
anything Governor Perry has ever said. One can only wonder if Dr. Dessler approves of this
type of rhetoric and if he's ever called out his own side for their "shoot the messenger" tactics?

Mark Gillar is the host of the
TeaPartyPowerHour.com radio program, the former host of
Global Cooling Radio, and the founder of the climategatecountryclub.com skeptics'
networking website.  You may email him at
mark@teapartypowerhour.com.